Optimist International Essay Contest

Varies by district, January and February deadlines are common
Maximum Award: 
Other, see comments
Students under the age of 19 who have not yet graduated from high school or the equivalent.

The Optimist International Essay Contest is sponsored by Optimist International. You must enter the contest through your local Optimist Club (each club has their own deadlines, however, all club contest are done by early February).

If you're interested, you need to contact your local Optimist Club. To find out a contact, please e-mail the Programs Department at programs@optimist.org.


Essay Contest Topic: "Lead by Example: Reality or Fiction"

Don't miss another scholarship! Subscribe to the free monthly newsletter and get scholarship information delivered directly to you (click this link).


  1. The contest is open to students under age 18 as of December
  2. Contestants are eligible for only one Club’s contest during any given year.
  3. No student who has previously won an Optimist Essay contest scholarship will be eligible to compete at any level of the competition again.
  4. All contestants at each level of the contest must furnish a copy of their birth certificate or passport before participating.

Judging Criteria:

  1. Material Organization – logical interpretation of the subject, adherence to topic: 40 points
  2. Vocabulary and Style – phrasing and continuity: 30 points
  3. Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling: 20 points
  4. Neatness: 5 points
  5. Adherence to Contest Rules – prepared in the proper format: 5 points

Check out other essay contests for which you may be eligible.