Become a member and discover where geography can take you.
The Society runs a selection of competitions for students and teachers.
Young Geographer of the Year
A national competition run by the Society to encourage pupils to engage with geographical issues.
Rex Walford Award
The Rex Walford Award is for trainees or teachers who have just started their careers.
School Essay Competition
A joint competition for A Level geography pupils from the Society and the Financial Times.
Ron Cooke Award
Award for the A Level independent investigation.
Awards for Excellence in Geographical Learning
Awards recognising and rewarding excellence in geographical examinations.
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Royal Geographical Society & FT Competition
- Wednesday, September 30, 2020
- 5:30 PM 6:30 PM
- Google Calendar ICS
“This competition is open to sixth form geography students aged 16-18 who are registered to study A Level Geography or equivalent in Year 12 or 13 on the closing date. Unfortunately, it is not open to 16-year-old GCSE level students who will be in Year 11 in September 2020.”
30 September 2020
Who is it for?
Sixth form students looking to be challenged in Geography beyond the curriculum. Particularly useful for any university Geography applicants, participating in extracurricular competitions endows you with the skills needed to succeed at university level, and can provide great personal statement content/ talking points at interview (for Oxbridge).
“The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and the Financial Times are pleased to announce the launch of our School Essay Competition. We are seeking thoughtful and well-argued responses from sixth form geography students for this joint competition.
The winning essay will be published on the RGS-IBG’s website and may also be published on FT.com .
What is the geographical story behind a chosen set or sets of data?
Use FT for Schools and other sources to find data that will help you to tell a story about sustainability and climate change. Your story should be based around the COP-26 2021 aims ‘to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions’. You should consider a variety of scales – from local to global.
Format and requirements
A clear essay or ArcGIS StoryMap which is well-evidenced and reaches a clear conclusion
Submissions should not exceed 1000 words
You should provide referenced sources of information and data
Submissions must be your own work “
- Posted In: Essay Competition , Geography
- Tagged: royal geographical society essay competition , national geography competition , geography competition , essay competitions , essay writing competition , essay writing contest , Essay competition 2020 , international essay competition , economics essay competition , online essay competition , year 12 essay competitions
“World Tales” Short Story Competition
The Journal for Student Geographers
Royal Geographical Society and Financial Times essay competition 2021
Routes is pleased to partner with the RGS and the Financial Times to showcase the winner of their 2021 school essay competition.
Electric vehicles — the political cop-out
Winner of the Royal Geographical Society/FT student competition
Most people believe the future of transport is electric vehicles. Their uptake has been increasing rapidly and governments are starting to create policies to encourage their use. But they are a cop-out which avoids difficult decisions by governments. From a political standpoint, EVs are very easy to implement. They require no change in culture, comparatively little investment from central government and use existing road infrastructure. Most importantly, their adoption makes governments seem environmentally friendly.
Read Cameron Allen’s full essay on the RGS website here .
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Which essay competition should I enter?
So, where can you find the ideal essay writing contest for you? There are many competitions to choose from. Some provide a great deal of freedom to explore your subject of interest, no matter your age or where you’re from, while others have more rigid entry criteria and focus on particular fields or issues, or are based in particular countries.
The best way to find your ideal competition is to search the internet, paying particular attention to competitions you’re eligible to compete in, and whose research interests align with your own. Whatever your interest, the chances are there’s a competition out there for you!
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Top 3 essay writing competitions.
Here are a handful of top essay writing competitions that might be the one for you:
1. Woolf Essay Prize 2023
The Woolf Essay Competition is run by the University of Cambridge’s Newnham College, where modernist writer Virginia Woolf gave a talk on “Women and Fiction” in 1928. This was later canonised in her seminal essay ‘A Room of One’s Own ’.
The prize is open to all female students in year twelve (or equivalent), regardless of country or school. It provides the opportunity to explore women in literature, history, society and culture, following in the critical footsteps of Woolf herself.
Their website provides more information about the competition, including this year’s questions, a list of prizes, and essays from previous winners to inspire you.
2. Royal Geographical Society and Financial Times School Essay Competition 2023
The Royal Geographical Society , a learned society supporting geographers across the world, is running an essay competition in partnership with the Financial Times, inviting students to answer one of the most pressing questions of our age:
What risks are associated with climate change and what should we be doing about it?
Judges are looking for well-evidenced essays or ArcGIS StoryMaps , and are encouraging applications from passionate geography students between 16 and 18 from the UK or British International Schools overseas.
Winning entries will be published on the Society’s website, with the chance to be published on the Financial Times site and in the Routes Journal. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain recognition for your hard work, and to situate your name alongside some of the most important researchers and academics in the field.
You can find out more about how to enter on their website.
3. OxBright Essay Competition 2023
The OxBright Essay Writing Competition is open to 15-18 year olds who are looking to progress beyond the school curriculum. This year’s question is:
Many believe we face daunting global challenges ahead. How can long-term thinking in the field of [your subject] foster optimism about the future?
The competition provides a great deal of freedom due to the extensive list of subjects included in the criteria. Creative writing, economics, history, mathematics and medicine are just a handful of the fields you can focus on in your essay.
All shortlisted entrants will be invited to attend an online Awards Ceremony on 28 th October 2023, where the winners will be announced.
Judges are looking for thoroughly researched essays that are packed with fresh, exciting thinking. The deadline for applying is Saturday 30 th September 2023, and you can find all the information you need on our website.
4 Tips for Success
With lots of prizes and opportunities available, you might be wondering how to make sure your essay stands out. Here are four tips to keep in mind when writing:
1. Thoroughly read and discern the guidelines for any competition you’re entering – successful essays will be those who demonstrate a clear understanding of what is being asked of them.
2. Make your essay compelling, well-researched and inventive to pique the interest of a review panel.
3. Start with a strong, clear thesis! Essays that clearly outline what you’re proposing, and how you’re proposing it, are appealing to readers and judges.
4. Keep to a clear and organised structure. It’s easy to spot the difference between an essay that has been thoroughly planned and edited, and a rushed essay containing lots of mistakes or contradictions.
Harvard University has a detailed and informative resource on strategies for writing an essay , which may be useful in helping you to produce a sophisticated and concise piece of writing worthy of a prize or publication.
We hope this article has given you an insight into the extraordinary opportunities available through essay writing competitions, and it has demonstrated how these contests provide a perfect opportunity for developing a wide range of skills that will remain invaluable when applying to university and beyond.
Essay writing competitions are easy to enter, rewarding to work on, and encourage you to consider some of the most important questions currently being asked in the world of academia. Good luck!
Sam is a recent English graduate from the University of Bristol whose interests include twentieth-century fiction, film, and cultural criticism.
Looking to boost your essay writing skills?
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FT Schools competition: the environmental costs of consumerism
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This article is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here .
School students are invited to enter the latest joint annual FT and Royal Geographical Society essay competition on the environmental costs of current consumer trends.
Those studying A level geography or the equivalent aged 16-18 have until 3 October to write an essay of up to 1,000 words or ArcGIS StoryMap on the topic.
Entries should examine one of the following themes:
the environmental cost of online purchase returns;
the popularity of, and possible problems with, recycled plastics as a component of new clothing/fashion items; or
the problem of e-waste, including the speed of obsolescence and replacement timescales for electronics goods.
The judges will seek entries supported by evidence, making a clear argument and with referenced sources of information and data. The best will be published by the FT and the RGS.
Full details and an entry form are available on the RGS website .
Applicants are encouraged to get their schools to sign up for the FT’s free schools access programme , and may draw inspiration from articles in the FT.
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RGS Essay Competition
Posted: 2nd December 2021
The Royal Geographical Society’s annual essay competition for pupils studying A Level Geography in the UK asked entrants to explain how transport changes might help the world to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The competition sought thoughtful and well-argued responses to the topic, which was based around the COP26 conference, and to aim to consider, among other actions, how changing our methods and practices of transporting people and goods will help towards the goals of the Paris Agreement (more details can be found here ).
We were delighted to see that Year 12 geographer, Sahel, was judged to be in the top 20 of all submitted essays. In his essay he reflected on his life in Bangladesh and Thailand in order to personalise his answer alongside the experience of his brother who has suffered from asthma.
Sahel’s concluding sentence is a rallying cry to all of us to take responsibility for how we travel in order to help us meet the COP26 goals:
‘Taking the initiative to walk, riding a bike, taking public transport or purchasing an electric car to work or school are all viable ways we can collectively take part in helping everyone live healthier and happier lives and ultimately achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.’
Well done Sahel!
We are delighted to invite applicants for Years 7, 9 and 12 in September 2024 to take part in our Entrance and Scholarship Days.
Year 7 Saturday 3 February (Ages 11-12, Prep)
Year 9 Monday 5 February (Ages 13-14, College) – SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
Year 12 Saturday 3 February (Sixth Form, College) – SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
For more information, and to register your interest, please contact us on [email protected] or 01822 813193
Development Geographies Research Group
David W. Smith Memorial Prize 2022
The Development Geographies Research Group (DevGRG) of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) runs an annual essay competition. This competition is in memory of David W. Smith, an outstanding scholar committed to researching cities in the Global South. He died in 1999. This year, we invite Y12/Lower Sixth students from across the UK to submit their entries.
Theme: This year we are delighted to run a photo essay competition with the theme of ‘Repair, Recovery and Reparation’ specifically addressing the question – How do individuals, communities and/or environments repair, recover and seek reparation after a disaster? The theme for the competition engages with the RGS-IBG’s Annual Conference https://www.rgs.org/research/annual-international-conference/chair-s-theme/ .
We encourage all students to submit 3 images exploring the theme. Each image should tell their story clearly supplemented with a title and a description of no longer than 300 words. Please explain how the photographs interpret the theme.
All entries must be in PDF/JPEG/.jpg or word doc format (not more than 3MB) and appropriately cited. Kindly include your name, school/college, and contact details.
Please submit your entries (and any questions) to the DevGRG schools prize committee at [email protected] by 1 st August 2022 at 23:59 UK time. Entries received after this time will not be accepted. Due to the volume of entries we receive, we will only contact you if you are selected as one of our winners.
By submitting your photo-essay to this competition, you acknowledge that you are the only author of your work and that is it your original work.
The judging panel will comprise of committee members of DevGRG. The panel will assess the entries and determine the winning entry based on theme, imagination and originality, quality of the photographs, and the development of ideas through the description of the photos.
The winner receives an RGS certificate and a book voucher of £100.
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Ella is Highly Commended in Geography Competition
Upper Sixth pupil, Ella D, has received a Highly Commended award in this year’s School Essay Competition run by the Royal Geographical Society and the Financial Times.
Applicants were asked to write an essay exploring and explaining the environmental costs of current consumer trends, behaviours and purchasing decisions. The competition was open to all A Level geography pupils and the judges were looking for clear essays that were well-evidenced and reached a clear conclusion.
Ella commented: “I am hoping to study Geography at university, so I was looking for ways in which I could enhance my application. This competition seemed perfect and I really enjoyed the process of researching and preparing my essay. I am delighted to have been Highly Commended, which I really didn’t expect, and I look forward to taking my studies further at university.”