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  • Writer's pictureThe Parents' Guide to

Competitions - how to help your child stand out

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 that they’ll enjoy, will build character, develop their skills and help them stand out during interviews, take a look at The Parents’ Guide to Standing out from the crowd.


2023 Academic Competitions


Royal Academy of Arts – Young Artists summer show – deadline tbc Mar 2024 (schools can register from Jan 2024). Judging in May. Exhibition in July.

Business / economics

Young Economist of the Year - deadline tbc July 2024 (years 10 -13)


BAFTA Young Game Designers - opens Nov 2023, deadline tbc (age 10 - 18)


Young Geographer of the Year - run via schools, deadline 2 Oct 2023 (age 14-16 and 16-18)

Fashion / Design

Young Fashion Designer UK – deadline tbc likely Apr 2024 (studying fashion/textiles at GCSE or sixth form)

Film / Photography

Childnet Film Competition – deadline Jun 2024 (age 11 - 19)

RSPCA photography competition – opens May 2023, deadline 15 August (age 12-15 or 16-18)

Wimbledon Shorts – opens 1 Jan 2023, deadline 28 July 2023 (under 25)


Author of Tomorrow – opens 16 Jan 2023, deadline 30 Apr 2023 (age 16 - 21)

Dorian Fisher Memorial Prize - essay competition - opens spring 2023, deadline 29 July 2023 (age 16-18)

Foyle Young Poet of the Year, The Poetry Society – deadline 31 Jul 2023 (age 11-17)


BBC Young composer - takes place biennially, deadline 3 July 2023 (age 12 - 18)

Science / Maths

Big Bang Competition (for STEM) – now open, deadline Feb 2024 (age 11-19)

The UK Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKROC) - pre-registration open, deadline 20-29 Apr 2023 - depends on region (age 11 - 18)



Inspiring ways for your teen to stand out from others

If you’d like to know how your teen can build their character, develop skills, stand out from others and improve their chances of success at interviews, all while doing things they enjoy, 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;

  • Which hobbies hone different 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, Vanessa and Darius -


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