High School Essay Contests

National D-Day Museum Essay ContestThe essay is based on the following quote.   Elie Wiesel stated, “When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.  Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”   Do you agree or disagree? Use events of WW II and the Holocaust as your starting point.  This is not a research paper and best essays do not summarize history.  Judging is based foremost on originality, clarity of expression, and adherence to contest theme, as well as historical accuracy, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

For more information and submission guidelines, please visit http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/education/for-students/essay-contests/high-school.html  
The deadline to apply is December 2.

Signet Essay Contest 
-With an unbeatable lineup of over 300 of the greatest literary works the world has ever known, Signet Classics is the publisher that students, education professionals and the public turn to more than any other. Now, we are proud to host our twenty-first annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest, in which five high school juniors or seniors can each win a $1,000 scholarship award to be used toward their higher education plus a Signet Classics library for their school! Essays must be submitted by a high school English teacher on behalf of students who write an essay on one of five topics for this year’s competition book, The Tempest. For essay prompts and submission guidelines, please visit http://www.penguin.com/services-academic/essayhome/   

Submissions must be postmarked no later than April 14 and received by April 21.  

American Foreign Service Association's Essay Contest -The 2017 National High School Essay Contest has begun! This is the 19th year of this prestigious contest, which encourages high school students to think about important international issues and learn about one of America's best kept secrets: The United States Foreign Service.

This year, we throw the spotlight on a clear and present challenge: The growing number of refugees and internally displaced persons around the world. The contest challenges students to imagine themselves as a member of the Foreign Service posted to one of four countries that are directly affected by this crisis, and to propose solutions to this crisis.  For more essay details and to apply, please visit  http://www.afsa.org/essay-contest The deadline to apply is March 15.   

Bill of Rights Institute - Open to high school students.  The essay contest - prompt is - Civil disobedience is the act of opposing a law one considers unjust and peacefully disobeying it while accepting the consequences. Does peaceful resistance to laws positively or negatively impact a free society? To read more, please visit http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/engage/students-programs-events/
Deadline is February 15th.

JFK Profiles in Courage Essay Contest - This contest season marks the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth. To celebrate the JFK Centennial, the 2017 Profile in Courage Essay Contest is featuring: a first-place prize of $20,000 cash awards for the top 25 essays a special contest topic

Contest Information - In Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy recounted the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to do what was right for the nation. These leaders demonstrated political courage by taking a stand for the public good in spite of pressure by interest groups, their political party, or even their constituents. The Profile in Courage Essay Contest challenges students to write an original and creative essay that demonstrates an understanding of political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage.

The maximum word count is 1,000 with a minimum of 700, not including citations and bibliography. Use at least five varied sources such as government documents, letters, newspaper articles, books, and/or personal interviews.

Topic:  Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born. Include an analysis of the obstacles, risks, and consequences associated with the act. The essay may concern an issue at the local, state, national, or international level.

Visit the following website for more information, rules, tips and guidelines:


Deadline is January 4th.

Ayn Rand Essay Contests
- Have you read one of Ayn Rand’s thought-provoking novels? Now’s the time! Enter in Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contest for your chance to win thousands of dollars in cash prizes. The contest is open to worldwide for 8th, 9th or 10th-grade students. 

Eligibility:  To be considered eligible for the scholarship, the candidates must follow the given criteria:

  • The contest is open to students worldwide, except where void or prohibited by law. Essays must be written in English only.  Entrant must be in the 8th, 9th or 10th grade. Verification of school enrollment will be required for all winning entrants.

How to Apply:  To enter an essay contest, candidates must submit an essay on one of the topics related to Ayn Rand’s novels.  See the website for essay topics.

Essay Guidelines:

  • The essay must be no fewer than 600 and no more than 1,200 words in length, double-spaced.
  • Essays must include a stapled cover sheet 

Award Amount:

  • 1st Place: 1 winner will receive $2,000
  • 2nd Place: 5 winners will receive $500 each
  • 3rd Place: 10 winners will receive $200 each
  • Finalists: 45 winners will receive $50 each
  • Semifinalists: 175 winners will receive $30 each

Application DeadlineThe essay must be submitted online or postmarked by March 29, 2017, no later than 11:59 PM, 

For more information, visit:  https://www.aynrand.org/students/essay-contests

Fleet Reserve Association Essay ContestFRA sponsors an annual essay contest to promote the spirit of Americanism and patriotism among our country’s youth. FRA's Americanism Essay Contest is open to all students, grades 7 through 12, including those who are home schooled.  Students are invited to submit a 350-word essay through an FRA member or local FRA branch before the December 1st deadline.  Local winners are forwarded for competition at the regional level and regional winners compete for national prizes. 

The grand national winner will receive $5,000, with additional prizes for the top three essays in each grade category ($2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place).  Each national winner will receive an attractive plaque citing his/her achievement, and every entrant judged at the national level receives a certificate of recognition. Additional prizes may be awarded to students winning at local and regional levels of competition.

2016-2017 Theme: What Memorial Day Means to Me

Deadline:  Dec. 1st 2016

Visit their website for rules and guidelines:  fra.org/essay


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