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Short Story Contest
This year's Short Story Contest is now closed. Thank you to all who participated! Winners will be annouced in May via email!
Your story must address the topic of your division, but be creative! There are many ways to approach each topic. Here are the topics for 2021:
- Lower Division (Grades 5 and below): Write a story about a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.
- Upper Division (Grades 6 and above): Write a story about someone who persuades an enemy.
Note: Your division is based on your grade in school, not the AoPS Academy classes you're in. For example, if you are in 5th grade at school but you are taking 6th Grade Language Arts at AoPS Academy, you would compete in the lower division.
Dates and Guidelines
The contest will be open February 1 – March 20, 2021. Students will be able to submit their stories on this page once the contest is open.
Students must be currently enrolled in a math or language arts class to be eligible for the contest. To be considered for the contest, your story must:
- address your division's topic
- be 1500 words or less
- be age-appropriate for your grade level*
* Please keep in mind that this contest is open to students from elementary to high school. While no story will be disqualified on the basis of content, winning stories dealing with topics not suitable for younger readers may not be shared with the wider AoPS Academy community.
Winners in each division (lower-grade and upper-grade) will be awarded Amazon gift cards in the amounts shown below:
- Grand Prize (1st Place): $100
- 2nd Place: $75
- 3rd Place: $50
- 4th - 6th Places: $25
- 7th - 10th Places: $10
Prizes will be awarded after the conclusion of the contest.
Grand-prize winners will participate in a mentor meeting with their campus language arts director. During this meeting, the campus director will offer feedback on the story. If the grand-prize winners implement the feedback, their story will be featured on a Student Author Page on the Academy website.
Here is a list of helpful questions to ask yourself as you work on your story:
- Does my story have a beginning, middle, and end?
- Are my characters interesting and well-developed?
- Do I describe my setting using specific details?
- Do I use quotation marks to show when my characters are speaking?
- Do I indent each new paragraph?
- Am I using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation?
Still need help? The best way to learn about writing is by reading! Crack open your favorite book and look at how the author creates their story.
Check out the Contest FAQs!
- I’m not sure if my submitted story was received. How can I check that?
- If you scroll to the top of this page and see a green text box that says "Success!", then your story has been received! Even if you’ve submitted your story and you see this text box, you are still able to edit your story at any time until the contest closes on March 20th. If you decide you want to make changes, you can make edits in the submission window below and click “Submit Story” to save your changes.
- Can I upload a pdf instead of using the submission form?
- No, contest submissions must be written or pasted into the submission window below.
- The submission portal is now closed, can I still submit a story via email?
- No, contest submissions must be submitted on this page before March 20th.
- How will winners be announced? I submitted a story and never heard back from anyone.
- Due to the high volume of submissions, grading can take several weeks to complete. The winners will be announced in a campus-wide email blast when grading is complete!
- Who judges the stories?
- Short Story Contest submissions are graded by a panel of judges from the Language Arts teaching team!
- Can I get feedback on my story? What was my score? Why did I not place?
- Unfortunately, due to the high volume of submissions, we are not able to give individual feedback to all students.