11 worthwhile competitions to spend your free time on

University is a time to try new things and challenge oneself. The best part is that opportunities for you to do so are abound – if you seize them. One of them is to participate in student competitions – or any competition that tickles your fancy! Competitions offer you ways to broaden your skills by presenting you a challenge/brief revolving around real-world issues that need solving, or challenges that exercise your creativity.

Whether you win or not, you’ll still walk away with an increase in knowledge and experience (and boost in resume & portfolio), which is a pretty good deal! What’s more, there are competitions that require little to no registration fee, some of which Digital Senior have carefully compiled in the list for you below:

Art Competitions

Art Competitions

Organized by:  International Youth Meeting Centre

This competition is a particularly interesting one! Organised by the International Youth Meeting Centre, which was established in Oświęcim/Auschwitz, the centre invites artists to use their talent to create posters to invoke social awareness in others, “creatively for human rights”. Held bi-annually since 2006, participants have hailed from many different countries – from Japan to Belarus, to Estonia and Switzerland!

Deadline: Send entries (3 maximum) in to the stipulated address by 10 April (2018’s competition).

Prizes: Prize pool, comprising of grand prize of PLN 5,000 (SGD 1910) and various funded prizes.

Open to: Professional visual artists, Art school graduates, senior art students

Design Competitions

Organized by: CZECHDESIGN.CZ (since 2009)

This long-standing competition (over 20 years old) calls for innovative and functional models of paper packaging centred around specific themes every year. Truly successful designs stand the opportunity to have their designs realized and used commercially. Past themes include packaging for tea and sweets, with this year’s revolving around coffee.

Deadline: 14 May (2018)

Prizes: Universities and Designers category: 1st place = EUR 2,000 (SGD 3,186), 2nd place = EUR 1,200 (SGD 1912), 3rd place = EUR 800 (SGD 1,274), other special prizes

Open to: High school (includes college) students, university students, designers

Photography Competitions

Photography Competitions

Organized by: ZEISS and the World Photography Organisation

A leading lens manufacturer, ZEISS calls for entries revolving around the theme “Seeing Beyond – Untold Stories”, where photographers submit a photo series that explores stories untold, or from new perspectives. Winners will have their work showcased at the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition and also get a chance to work with the contest’s organisers.

Deadline: 6 Feb (2018)

Prizes: Winners (up to ten photographers) will receive a range of prizes, which includes ZEISS photographic lens and a travel stipend to cover costs for a photo project.

Open to: Photographers from all countries

Architecture Competitions

Architecture Competitions

Organized by: Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC)

Established since 2011, the ITAD competition is held annually and looks at ideating sustainable building design solutions and tropical green architecture. Participants have hailed from countries such as Indonesia, New Zealand, and the USA.

Deadline: July (2017), await 2018’s details!

Prizes: 1st place = SGD 5,000, 2nd place = SGD 3,000, 3rd place = SGD 2,000, 2 merit prizes of SGD 800 and special mention prize

Open to: Students from institutes of higher learning around the world

*Also has interior design category

Organized by: Nippon Paint Singapore

The AYDA looks for designs that are bold, innovative, and are forward/future looking. Award participants have to use Nippon Paint’s colours and products in their designs and submit a comprehensive presentation board including details such as the project’s design statement, existing site photos if applicable and perspectives of the project in 3D.

Deadline: September (2017), await 2018’s details!

Prizes: Platinum Award = USD 1,000 (SGD 1,332), Gold Award (Trip to Learning Programme + SGD 1,500), Silver Award (SGD 1,000), Bronze Award (SGD 500), Special Awards (SGD 300 each). Certificates of Achievement are awarded to the Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners.

Open to: Architecture students 3rd year and above, enrolled in architecture education institutions spanning 15 countries

Writing Competitions

Writing Competitions

Organized by: BBC in partnership with the British Council. Competition is co-produced with The Open University.

Writing stories for reading and writing stories for hearing challenge you in different ways –  with the latter, you can play with audio effects and silences/pace for dramatic effects. If you’re daring enough to give it a gander – there have been winners with no radio playwriting experience – submit a 53-minute play to the BBC and stand to hear it aired live on their channel! Fantastic opportunity, if I do say so myself.

Deadline: 31 January (2018)

Prizes:2 winners for 1st prize: one for persons with English as a first language and one for persons with English as a second language. 1st prize = £2200 sterling (SGD 3,973) and a trip to London (with airfare and accommodation for the winner) to see the play being recorded and attend a prize-giving ceremony. Special prize (Georgi Markov prize) for script with the most potential = 2 weeks mentorship with BBC Radio Drama as well as BBC World Service.

Open to: Non-UK residents aged 18 and above

Organized by: National Arts Council Singapore (NAC)

Organised since 1993, the Golden Point Award has been a platform to discover new creative writing talents in the four national languages (English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil) in both the short story and poetry categories. Previous award winners include Joshua Ip (Sonnets from the Singlish) and Tania De Rozario (And The Walls Come Crumbling Down).

Deadline: July (2017), await 2018’s details!

Prizes: 1st prize = SGD 4,000 with certificate, a trophy, and a SGD 6,000 enrichment grant.  2nd prize = SGD 3,000 with certificate, 3rd prize = SGD 2,000 with certificate

Open to: No age limit, open to Singaporeans and PRs

IT Competitions

IT Competitions

Organized by: HITLI

A global company designing and making leading-edge technologies for the professional construction industry, HITLI runs its IT competition annually in order to help talented students’ kick-start their careers through the brainstorming and coming-up of solutions to problems faced by the professional construction industry – that can be helped by IT, of course.

Deadline: 31 Jan (2018)

Prizes: 1st place = paid study trip, 2nd and 3rd place = Hitli power tool box, all finalists = paid internship

Open to: Undergraduate and postgraduate students of any disciplines worldwide

Entrepreneurship CompetitionsEntrepreneurship Competitions

Organized by: Entrepreneur’s Organization

If you’re a student entrepreneur with an innovative business, and in need of some mentorship/connections, the GSEA is for you. Started in 1998 in the USA, the GSEA has since seen hundreds of applications from all around the world.

Deadline: Application dates for Singapore’s qualifying round is over, await 2019’s!

Prizes: Prizes vary by location. At the Global Finals: 1st prize = USD 20,000 (SGD 26,714) and a paid travel/expenses trip to the GSEA Finals, 2nd prize = USD 10,000 (SGD13,357), 3rd prize = USD 5,000 (SGD 6,678).

Open to: Part-time full-time undergrad/grad students who own, are the founders or controlling shareholders of their company and mainly responsible for its operation. Company must have been in operation for 6 consecutive months.

Organized by: Nanyang Technopreneurship Centre

Ideasinc is more than a competition: it’s a start-up accelerator programme that first took flight as a competition for NTU students. Submit your ideas and the Top 40 teams will go through workshops/training/idea refining before pitching again; only 10 will remain to go on to pitch to investors. If you’ve had an idea brewing in your head for a while, try Ideasinc! Best of luck.

Deadline: 31 Mar (2017’s submission), await 2018’s details!

Prizes: Various cash awards, grant opportunities, equity funding opportunities

Open to: The public (Singapore), with formed teams comprising of not more than 5 members. Business idea, or business that is currently running, must not be over a year old.

Other Competitions

Organized by: Shell

An international competition, Shell Ideas360 brings together students to come up with solutions to help reduce the burden on the Food, Water and Energy resources available to the world. Those with selected ideas will receive mentorship and business skills training before the pitch round. In 2016, SUTD graduate Daniel Lee was one of the 5 finalists.

Deadline: 19 Jan (2018, idea submission)

Prizes: Different rewards at different stages

Open to: Students 18 and above who are part-time/full-time undergrad or grad students


This is by no means an exhaustive list! There are many competitions out there that you can find with the help of a Google Search or two, so go online and find out what you can participate in! Choose one that tickles your fancy and put it on your to-do list – by doing so, you’re already a winner, for having tried. We wish you luck!

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