“Share your story.”

It’s what we hope everyone will do when they come to Medium. Stories make the world a better place, and we want to make a better place for everyone to write and share them.

“Share your story” also happens to be one of the most common questions offered in the dreaded college entrance essay.

Every year, thousands of college-bound high school seniors are forced to introspect on a Big Topic. Amid the predictable wall gazing, eye rolling, foot tapping, XBoxing, texting and Snapchatting, actual words are strung together in grammatically correct sentences and arranged in paragraphs with a beginning, middle and end. Thoughts are thunk. Emotions are emoted. Insights are sighted. And when all this teeming energy, confusion and angst comes frothing up as prose. It is promptly appended to an application form, sent off for bureaucratic review and dropped into permanent archival limbo.

Great stories are buried in that annual pile. We intend to find them.




Extra Credit, a pilot scholarship contest, presented by Medium, for U.S. college-bound high school seniors, to recognize and reward outstanding admissions essays.

To enter, please review this FAQ and the contest rules, register with Medium through your Twitter account, if you haven’t already, and submit your completed college entrance essay for consideration here.

(Note: You do not need to be active on Twitter in order to sign up for Medium and enter. You just need to have a Twitter account, which is easy to get.)

Work previously submitted as part of an actual college application is not only allowed but strongly encouraged. The essay can address any topic.

The top 12 essays as recommended by Medium readers will be sent to our distinguished panel of judges for final adjudication (see below)—so make sure you get your friends to read, recommend and share your post on social media.

The top three qualifying submissions picked by the judges will each receive $5,000.

You’ve already done the hard work. Submitting is easy, and you just might find an appreciative audience as well as a windfall.


Contest flyers and information sheets available as printable downloads here.


The Judges

  • Author of three New York Times best-selling memoirs, Kelly Corrigan has made a career out of writing personal narrative. Her most recent book, Glitter and Glue (2014), takes on the mother-daughter relationship, wrestling it to the ground in a way the San Francisco Chronicle calls “wise and irresistible.” Her side project, Notes & Words, has raised over $4 million on behalf of the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland.
  • Jeff Kinney is The New York Times No. 1 best-selling author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2008), a series that has since grown to eight books and a feature movie. In 2007, he founded the online universe Poptropica.com, where he currently works full time as creative and editorial director.
  • Wally Lamb is the best-selling author of several novels, including She’s Come Undone (1992) and I Know This Much Is True (1998). His most recent novel is We Are Water (2013).
  • Anna Quindlen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times columnist and best-selling novelist. Her most recent book is Still Life with Bread Crumbs (2013).
  • Mary Roach is the best-selling author of six books, including Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003), Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (2008) and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (2013).

Extra Credit Contest Info

FAQs, Rules, Tips and more!

Thanks to Melissa Williams

    Medium Extra Credit

    Written by

    Rewarding the very best college application essays

    Extra Credit Contest Info

    FAQs, Rules, Tips and more!

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