Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:
- The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories, as well as residents of The Gambia, the Maldives and Zimbabwe. Residents of non-Commonwealth countries whose entries are submitted through their local RCS branch are also eligible.
- Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 1st May 2017. Senior entrants must be born between 2nd June 1999 and 1st June 2004 (14-18) and Junior entrants must be born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age).
- The maximum word counts are 1,500 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.
- Entries must be written in English.
- Only one entry per participant is allowed. Once an essay is submitted, students/teachers will not have the opportunity to revise it. Please carefully check and improve your writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, contact details, topic number, etc.)
- Plagiarism is not accepted in the competition. Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism. Please see ourguide to plagiarism before submitting.
- 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 but does exclude group entries.
- Essays can only be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or in PDF format (.pdf). The online platform does not accept Google Docs (.gdoc), Pages documents (.pages) or other word processor formats. Note: if we are unable to find or open your essay file (either through an incorrect format or upload error), your entry may not be counted in the competition.
- All online entries must be submitted before midnight (GMT) on 1st June 2018; any offline entries must arrive at RCS London by 1st May 2018
- 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.
- The RCS suggests that entrants retain a copy of their original work as regretfully we are unable to return or provide copies of submissions.
- The RCS retains the right to change the prize of the competition if circumstances make this necessary.
- The RCS will only be able to publish on our website and in our literature content that is appropriate for a wide and diverse audience, in line with our own policies. Entrants are encouraged to consider this in relation to their use of language when entering the competition.
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 your certificate. Teachers, please remember to retain the reference numbers for each of your students.
Having trouble submitting your essay? Contactcompetitions@thercs.org
Issued: February 2017
For 130 years, the Commonwealth Essay Competition has inspired thousands of young writers from all over the world. Run by the Royal Commonwealth Society, this international schools’ writing contest – the world's oldest and largest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project.
Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and under, the Essay Competition offers young people the opportunity to make their voice heard on a global platform and engage with issues important to them. Every year, judges are impressed with the extremely high standard of entry as participants compete with their peers from every corner of the Commonwealth. For many bright and ambitious students, this is the ultimate competition!
Now run in partnership with Cambridge University Press, the competition remains an important means of expression for young people across the Commonwealth.
The competition closes for entries on 1 May.
More information, including topics, rules and prizes