Great Student Contests

You’ve read about the most prestigious visual journalism contests, now here’s a look at something more approachable for photography and video students! Be sure to carefully read eligibility rules before submitting, as some of these contests are only open to undergraduates, while others take graduate and non-professional work as well.

1. National Press Photographer’s Association Student Quarterly

The NPPA’s Student Quarterly Clip Contest accepts submissions from all current full-time graduate and undergraduate student members of the NPPA. Open to both stills and multimedia work.

2. National Press Photographer’s Association Monthly Multimedia

If you’re a little more ambitious, why not try the NPPA’s monthly multimedia competition? Entrants must be NPPA members, and the submission must have been published online in the month prior to the contest. Categories include Audio Slideshow, Video Made Expressly for the Web, and Multimedia Project.

3. PDNedu Student Photo Contest

This annual contest, by industry magazine Photo District News, is open to high school and college students. Categories include Travel/Landscape, Multimedia/Video, Documentary/Photojournalism, and Fashion/Portraiture, among others. There is also a PreCollege category for even younger photographers.

4. SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards

The Society of Professional Journalism offers a multitude of awards to collegiate journalism work in all areas of the field. Of interest to visual journalists are the Breaking News, General News, Feature and Sports Photography categories, as well as the many Television Reporting categories.

5. Hearst Journalism Awards Program

Participation is open to undergraduate journalism majors from member colleges and universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communications (ASJMC). Only two students per school may enter each competition, and they must be chosen by the school. Visual categories include Photojournalism, Broadcast News and Multimedia.

6. College Photographer of the Year

A well-known undergraduate contest with free entry. Along with numerous photographic categories – Spot News, Feature, Documentary, among others – there are also several multimedia categories, as well.

7. Smithsonian Photo Contest

Anyone 18 years and older is allowed to enter this contest, where categories include People, Travel, the American Experience, the Natural World, and Altered Images.

8. National Geographic Student Expeditions Photo Contest

Undergraduate students are eligible to compete in this Nat Geo photography contest where images should convey “a sense of exploration and adventure.” 2013 winners earned a 12-day photography workshop in London.

9. Life Framer

A monthly photography contest for amateur, emerging, or professional photographers. Themes change each month; in the past they have included “an instant,” “a modern life,” “behind the scenes,” and “a journey.”

10. C-SPAN’s Student Cam

For the younger set, this documentary competition is open to middle and high school students in grades 6-12. Competitors are asked to produce a 5-7 minute video relating to the theme; this year’s theme is “A Message to Congress.”

11. PhotoPhilanthropy’s Activist Awards

These are awards in several categories- including one for students- given to photographers who have done work on behalf of a non-profit organization. The submission period just closed for the 2013 awards, but there is a $2,000 prize for top student work, and their website can be a launching platform for your cause, if activism is important to your work.

If you know of any other photography, video or multimedia projects that take student submissions, please share the link in the comments!

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