Essay Contests to win Vacation

Image: Money © CorbisRelated topics: savings, consumer guide, spending, emergency fund, Donna Freedman

Thousands of contests and sweepstakes are available online. Giant corporations and local businesses are handing out computers, jewelry, shopping sprees, vacations, smart phones, cars, houses, boats and cold, hard cash.

You can win small prizes (burger, T-shirt), unique prizes (walk-on role on a TV show) and incredibly useful prizes (a year's worth of health insurance).

Yes, there are scams out there, and we'll talk about ways to avoid them, but there are plenty of real chances, too. Just ask Michelle Troutt, who in five years has won 22 vacations, cash, and countless other items.

Her best win: $100, 000 in a contest celebrating the 100th anniversary of Hershey's Kisses. The prize also included an appearance on a special segment of "Deal Or No Deal" back in 2007, with a chance to earn $100 million. (She didn't.)

Donna FreedmanHere's the beautiful part: The win was a "second-chance drawing." Because none of the three grand-prize game pieces was redeemed by consumers, the candy manufacturer drew its winners from 3-by-5 cards sent in by savvy sweepers.

"That's all I did: one entry, " says Troutt, who lives near Fort Worth, Texas.

How can you get that lucky? Read on.

It's not just luck

First, a clarification: A contest requires some kind of "skill, " even if that's just the ability to download a picture of your kid. A sweepstakes is strictly a game of chance, i.e., you don't have to do anything to enter except enter. However, I'll be using the words interchangeably, just as folks who call themselves "sweepers" also enter contests.

Second: It's not just luck. Serious sweepers know how to enter. They watch for local contests, which tend to have fewer entries. They pay close attention to the rules; for example, "a 150-word essay" does not mean 50 words, or 500 words.

Donna Freedman

They enter as often as they're allowed, which can mean daily. They recognize which contests probably won't be won outright and immediately enter second-chance drawings.

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What essay writing contest can I enter to win a free international trip?

I am a sophomore in high school.
I already know about EF Global Citizens.
Thank you!

Don't know the exact ones but if you go to
you can find some good stuff.