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Dear Evan Hansen College Essay Writing Challenge 2022

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Dear Evan Hansen, the Broadway Education Alliance, and Gotham Writers invite 11th-grade and 12th-grade students across North America to write a college-application style essay describing your experiences with or ideas about reinvention.

The Broadway musical explores the theme of reinvention across generations – for young people coming of age, and for the adults in their lives who are still figuring themselves out, as well. As Heidi Hansen says to her son, Evan, “College is going to be so great for you… how many times in life do you get the chance to just… start all over again?”

Have you ever had the chance to reinvent yourself? As you look ahead to life after high school, will you introduce a whole new you to a fresh community, or further shape the best version of yourself?

Entries will be judged by a panel of writers and cross-industry professionals. One winner will receive a $10,000 college scholarship sponsored by Stacey Mindich, lead producer of Dear Evan Hansen, and a free class with Gotham Writers. Five regional finalists will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.

You can read (and watch) the essays by the 2021 winner and finalists here

The Details

  • Entries should be 650 words or less.
  • Students from North America who are in 11th or 12th grades are eligible to enter.
  • There is no entry fee. 
  • Though the theme of reinvention is inspired by Dear Evan Hansen, writers are not required to reference or quote the production directly in their essays. 
  • Essays should be specific and have a clear narrative. 
  • Entries will be evaluated on originality, the quality of the writing, narrative, and clarity. 
  • Entries will be judged by a panel of writers and cross-industry professionals. Previous contest judges include six-time Tony nominee Chad Beguelin, Little Brown Books for Young Readers editorial director Farrin Jacobs, and Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks. 
  • Deadline: 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, May 16th, 2022.
  • Winners will be announced in mid-June. All entrants will be notified when the winners are chosen. 
  • Email [email protected] if you have questions