Creative or personal writing is not where I shine. I find it to be too open-ended, formless, and overwhelming. What I love is investigation: conducting and analyzing cool new research, using surveys to uncover insights about people, or diving into data to track new trends. That’s why I was happy when I came across the China Youth Observation Contest (CYOC), a research-based academic writing competition for teams of Chinese high school students.
Organized by the Journalism Education Association (JEA), the China Youth Observation Contest “aims to encourage students to carry out surveys and researches in the society, to obtain valuable and in-depth findings, and make their voices heard.” Like the best literary prizes for teens, it offers cash awards and provides publicity and connections to prestigious academic individuals and institutions. The judges include academics from schools like Columbia, Stanford, and Northwestern; any award-winning research is recommended to major media manuscript centers and published on scholarly platforms. The CYOC provides a unique opportunity to be recognized both within China and across the United States. If you have completed exciting new research, or are looking to do some, consider applying and submitting your work. Recent award-winning submissions include an article about the 150,000 Guangzhou teenagers who don’t make it into highschool every year, an investigation into the growing numbers of cashiers thrown into unemployment by self-checkout machines, and an exploration of the “Struggles between Ethnicity and Nationality inside Second-Generation Asian Immigrant Teens.” Don’t be intimidated by this admittedly impressive competition, because “the Youth Observation competition is judged according to the absolute standard judging system,” which means that each piece of work is judged on its own merits, not that year’s entries. In fact, all high-quality entries will be awarded prizes.
Since the deadline for the contest is at the end of April, you have a full year to consider what you might like to explore. Research must be submitted before June 11, and the awards are announced at the end of August. For more information, you can check the website here.