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The Queens Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016

Deadline: Deadline: Always Open01-May-2016
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EligibilityStudents below age of 18 years
RegionAll
Scholarship provider contact details

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
c/o The British High Commission
185 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Email: competitions@thercs.org

What is The Queens Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016?

The overarching theme for 2016 is ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, which is also the 2016 Commonwealth Year theme, and a topical theme for today’s youth. Both Senior and Junior topics give young people the opportunity to think about aspects of the theme such as: the significance of community; the importance of diversity and difference; the question of belonging; the values of tolerance, respect and understanding; and the sense of shared responsibility that exists within the Commonwealth today. The topics are a chance to develop critical thinking and to express views in a creative manner.

Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged under 18, our essay competition offers young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to make their voices heard on a global platform, to engage with issues important to them and to express their aspirations for the future. Each year, participants demonstrate their ability to stimulate and provoke discussions about important Commonwealth and global issues from a young person’s perspective and to showcase their critical and creative skills.

Who can apply for this scholarship ?

Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged under 18

How can you apply ?

Entries should be submitted online for the 2016 competition. However, offline submissions will be accepted where secure internet connection is an issue.

Submitting your entry online

Please read the Terms and Conditions before submitting your essay as you will not be able to edit your submission once it has been uploaded. It is also a good idea to consult our Frequently Asked Questions .

Submit your entry online.

Important information for teachers. During the registration process, you will need to enter as "A teacher, on behalf of pupils". You will then have the option to add additional pupils (as many as necessary). Please be sure to enter all the mandatory information for each student. You'll be given an individual reference number for each student which is needed to download the student’s certificate. Please be sure to keep these reference numbers safe so you can download the certificates for your students, or pass appropriate reference numbers on to each individual so they can download their own certificates when the results are announced in August 2016.

Submitting your entry by post

If you are submitting your entry by post, please complete an entry form in block capitals and attach it to the front of your essay. Entries should be sent to your nearest postal hub:

FAQs

How do I submit my essay online?

In order to submit your essay you will need to register, making sure to complete all the mandatory fields. The password you register with will be used to login to your account, where you can see your registration details and reference number. IMPORTANT: You must upload your entry at the point of registration (in other words, you cannot register and return later to upload your entry). Please note that you will have only one opportunity to submit your essay so ensure that the correct and final version is uploaded before exiting the registration process. After submission, you should receive a confirmation email to the address you registered with.

I am a teacher. How do I submit the essays of all my students online?

During the registration process, you will need to enter as 'A teacher, on behalf of pupils'. You will then have the option to add additional pupils (as many as necessary). Please be sure to enter all the mandatory information for each student. You'll be given an individual reference number for each student which is needed to download any certificates the student is awarded. Please be sure to keep these reference numbers safe so you can download the certificates for your students, or pass appropriate reference numbers on to each individual so they can download their own certificates later this year.The password you register with will be used to login to your account, where you can see your registration details and reference number(s). 

I didn't receive a confirmation email. Is there any way I can check whether my essay has been successfully uploaded?

You can login here to check details of your submission. This is where you will also be able to see your individual reference number. Please save this number in a safe place as you will need it to download any certificates you are awarded later in the year. If you are encountering difficulties, please email competitions@thercs.org. 

Where can I find the topics for the 2016 competition?

Topics for The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016 can be found here.

Can I write on more than one topic?

No, students may only submit one essay each, which means that you have to choose one of the four topics in your relevant category. 

Is there a word limit for the essays?

Yes, different word count rules apply to Junior and Senior categories. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more details.

Should I put my name, age, school, country, and topic number on my essay?

You do not need to put any of this information on your essay – just your title, text and word count. Remember, presentation is important!  

What is my reference number and what is it for?

When you submit your essay online, you will receive an automated reference number. This is your individual reference number, which you will need to download your participation or award certificate. You will receive your reference number in a confirmation email after submitting your essay, but remember that you can also login to your account to see your reference number.

If you submit your entry by post, your reference number will be your first initial, last initial and date of birth in the following form: DDMMYYYY. For example, if your name is John Smith and you are born on 4 March 2004, your reference number would be JS04032004. You will be asked to write this on your postal entry form, and are requested to keep this safe as you will need it to download your participation or award certificate. If you have any questions, please contact competitions@thercs.org

Are there prizes for the winners?

Prizes have traditionally been awarded only to the first prize winners in the Senior and Junior categories and also vary year by year. This means we are not able to confirm what the prizes will be until after the winners are announced in September 2016. Past prizes have included certificates, resources for winner's school, visits to Cambridge University, a trip to London and a week of activities, work experience at international organisations, and having your entry featured in worldwide media. RCS regional and branch offices often hold ceremonies or offer prizes. Please contact your nearest RCS branch after the competition closes on 1 May 2016, to inquire about any activities planned. 

Winning categories 

Junior Awards Categories (Under 14s) Senior Awards Categories (Ages 14–18)  
Junior Prize Winner Senior Prize Winner
Junior Runner Up Senior Runner Up
Gold Awards Gold Awards
Silver Awards Silver Awards
Bronze Awards Bronze Awards
 

What if I'm too old to participate in the competition? 

If you're over 18 by the deadline, you're still be eligible to compete for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize!

 

Guidance Notes

  1. Participants are expected to show originality and flair, linked to sound academic standards and competent use of English as a written language. This includes a good standard of spelling and punctuation, neat presentation and clear hand-writing or word-processing.
  2. Entries must respond to the topic. Each year a number of good entrants must be disregarded because they do not fully answer/reflect on what the topic has asked them to do.
  3. Entrants are encouraged to be creative in their response to a topic. Entries can be submitted in a number of different formats: for example, a poem, letter, article, story, essay or a short play/script.
  4. Illustrations are welcomed, particularly in Junior entries, but they must enhance the written text and add to the overall quality of the entry.

 

Tips from the Judges

The following guidelines provide some useful insights from previous judges who have had experience recognising what makes a good piece of writing, and may help you get started on your submission:

  1. Choose to answer one of the topics, and you are encouraged to interpret this in any way you wish.  
  2. Think carefully about the form of writing you use to answer the topic. There are a variety of forms and styles to play with.
  3. Make sure to use your own voice and your own words. Judges are very good at spotting work that is not original.
  4. We understand that English is a diverse language and there are different and innovative ways of using it around the Commonwealth. We encourage diversity and creativity of language in submissions.
  5. Ensure you take with grammar and punctuation throughout writing your piece. Do not submit an entry without proof-reading.
  6. Presentation is important: think about the visual appearance of the entry as well as the quality of the content.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions

Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:

    1. The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories. Note: Special dispensation applies to entrants from Hong Kong, Ireland, The Gambia and Zimbabwe, who are entitled to enter the competition.
    2. Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 1st May 2016. Senior entrants must be born between 2nd May 1997 and 1st May 2002 (14-18) and Junior entrants must be born after 1st May 2002 (under 14 years of age).
    3. The maximum word counts are 1500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries. These word limits apply to all topics and all formats (essay, poem, letter, etc). Exceeding the word count will result in automatic disqualification.
    4. Entries must be written in English.
    5. Only one essay per entrant is allowed. Once an essay is submitted, students/teachers will not have the opportunity to revise it. Please carefully check and improve you writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, contact details, topic number, etc.)
    6. Plagiarism: Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism. Plagiarism is the 'use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author without authorisation and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author' (dictionary.com). If using existing writing material, do cite appropriately. 
    7. The final copy submitted for the competition must be the entrant's own work, and cannot be excessively corrected or improved by another person. This does not rule out input or assistance from others. However, an entry will be disregarded if there is any suggestion of excessive external help.
    8. A new element of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition this year is the addition of a small number of Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) local branch competitions. This means that your name, email, school and essay may be sent to your local RCS branch. See Clause 4.1.6 of the Privacy Policy for more information. 
    9. Essays can only be uploaded in either word document or .pdf format.
    10. All entries must be submitted before midnight (GMT) on 1st May 2016. 
    11. All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or pieces or parts thereof in any advertisements, educational materials, corpus research or media and publicity carried out or produced by the Royal Commonwealth Society and its local branches without further notice or compensation. The Royal Commonwealth Society can publish or decline to publish; use or decline to use, any submitted pieces at the Royal Commonwealth Society’s sole discretion.
    12. The RCS suggests that entrants retain a copy of their original work as regretfully we are not able to return or provide copies of submissions.
    13. Please note: winners and runners-up of the pan-Commonwealth competition will have their full names, schools, essays and photographs displayed on the RCS website and social media channels.

Important Reminder

All certificates are generated online and the RCS does not send any certificates in the post. You will be given a reference number when you submit your essay. It is very important that you keep this number is a safe place as you will need it to download any certificates you are awarded. Teachers, please remember to retain the reference numbers for each of your students. 

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