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Is your college application essay a masterpiece? Contest to award $5,000 for best entries 

March 26, 2014 at 10:31 AM ET

Teenagers know: Of all the rituals that mark the final year of high school, there’s nothing more high-stakes, time-consuming and soul-searching than the college entrance essay.

All that work tends to disappear once it’s submitted to a university admissions office, but now a new contest is offering students the chance to have their essays read by best-selling authors and win $5,000.

Medium.com—a blogging platform for writers—is calling it “Extra Credit: A Scholarship Program Rewarding Excellent College Application Essays.” Motto: "Great stories are buried in that annual pile. We intend to find them."

You can take part if you will be graduating from high school this spring and entering college in the fall. Your essay can be on any topic, but all entries must be unpublished, original pieces of work. The deadline to submit is May 19.

The top 12 essays—as determined by how many Medium.com users read and recommended the works—will be sent to a panel of judges, including Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Anna Quindlen and best-selling authors Wally Lamb, Kelly Corrigan, Jeff Kinney and Mary Roach.

Their top three picks will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship. For more information, visit Medium.com.

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