Competitions - how to help your child stand out

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Teenage noyon laptop entering an academic competition
Competitions - how to help your child stand out

Competitions are a great way to help your teen focus on something that interests them and do something a little different from others. There are lots of competitions online: writing fiction, creating fashion, submitting essays, creative, science, cookery as well as many relating to curriculum activities. We’ve listed a few below as a starting point, but with a little online research, your teen’s bound to find a competition specific to their personal interests.

Some competitions may require a little effort for entry, others may require a lot. Working to a specification, creating something that meets that specification and working to a deadline (in this case, the competition close date) demonstrates terrific transferable skills.

Entry is great to include on CVs, personal statements or to talk about in interviews. If they win or are acknowledged as a good entry, it can be a great confidence booster. However, win or no win, entering a competition demonstrates initiative, intellectual curiosity, drive, research skills, preparation and organisation. These are all desirable skills and should be the primary focus when including them in applications or talking about them in interviews.

If you’re looking for other things your teen can do over the next few months and beyond that they’ll enjoy and that could also help them stand out during interviews, take a look at The Parents’ Guide to Standing Out from the crowd.


2021 Academic Competitions - (dates for 2022 entry coming soon!)


Creative Earth –art competition - deadline 5 April 2021 (13- 16)

Royal Academy of Arts – Young Artists summer show – deadline 26 April 2021 – schools must register

Business / economics

Durham University Economics Society Essay Competition - deadline 25 April (sixth form)


Junior Bake off – deadline 28 March 2021 (age 9-15)

Fashion / Design

Young Fashion Designer UK – deadline Fri 28 May (studying fashion/textiles at GCSE or sixth form)

Film / Photography

Childnet Film Competition 2021 – deadline 1 June 2021 (11-19) – theme finding trustworthy information online RSPCA photography competition – opens May 2021 (12-15 or 16-18)

Wimbledon Shorts – deadline 19 July 2021 (under 25)


Author of Tomorrow – deadline 30 April 2021 (16-21 years)

Foyle Young Poet of the Year, The Poetry Society – deadline 31 Jul 2021 (age 11-17)

Science / Maths

Big Bang Competition (for STEM) – (age 11-19)

Space Foundation – International student art contest


Rotary Youth Competitions

The Parents' Guide to helping your child stand out from the crowd

Inspiring ways for your teen to stand out from others

If you’d like to know other ways your child can stand out from others and improve their chances of success at interviews, read our suggestions in The Parents’ Guide to Standing out from the crowd. It includes sections on:

  • Self-development and increasing confidence;

  • Getting work experience (including virtual placements);

  • Benefits of research and how to take a different approach;

  • How different hobbies impact mental and physical health Transferrable skills

  • Recommendations for non-curricular online courses


We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy,

Darius Bluck -