Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible to participate?
Students aged 14 or older currently enrolled in grades eight through twelve or an equivalent homeschool are eligible to participate. For more information, please review our Rules and Regulations to determine your eligibility.
How many times can I enter?
An individual may only submit one video.
Can I submit my video through a website other than YouTube?
No, videos will only be accepted if they’re uploaded and publicly accessible through YouTube.
Are there examples of what a winning YouTube video looks like?
No, and we encourage you to submit a video that reflects your own style!
Am I eligible to submit a YouTube video if I was a winner in a previous contest from the Bill of Rights Institute?
Yes, winning students from previous years are eligible to participate in subsequent contests. The entry submitted must be new and different from your previous winning entry.
If I didn’t win a prize, can I still find out how well I did in the Contest?
Because we receive so many entries, it is not possible to give individual feedback on entries. We realize that feedback is a vital part of becoming a better thinker and writer. For this reason, we encourage students to seek comments and feedback from teachers and other advisers before and after submitting their entry.
How long or short can my video be?
Your video can be as short as you like, but it cannot go over 6:00 minutes, no exceptions.
Will my entry be disqualified if I go over the time limit of 6:00?
Yes. This is required to help ensure no entry has an unfair advantage over another due to length.
Do I need to cite any sources I include?
We do not expect or require any Works Cited information for your YouTube video. If you quote an individual or specific research in your video, simply say who the quote or research can be attributed to.
What are the prizes?
Students who submit a YouTube video that adheres to the rules and regulations are eligible for one of the following prizes:
- Grand Prize: $2,500 cash, a trophy, and a scholarship to Constitutional Academy
- 2nd Place: $500 and trophy
- 3rd Place: $250 and trophy
- 4th – 6th Place: trophy
Student Voting Prizes in Final Round
Students who vote in the final round of the Contest are eligible for 1 of 10 $50 cash prizes, just for voting!
What are judges looking for?
Contest submissions will focus on free speech on high school and college campuses. A great video will completely adhere to the prompt and fully answer all parts of the question. Judges are looking for the following:
- Adherence to the Video Guidelines (as stated in Section III of the Rules and Regulations)
- Students may not use any props
- Videos may not go over 6:00 minutes
- Videos should not include any inappropriate language that would make it unsuitable for general audiences
- Students may not make any software edits to his or her video that unfairly enhances it (i.e., outside footage, pictures, etcetera)
- The use of notes, amplification, lectern, a speaker’s stand or any form of prompting is not permitted.
- Contestants may not wear awards or medals from previous competitions.
- So that judges can access your YouTube video, it must be publicly accessible at the link you provide in your application (otherwise, it will be disqualified). While Institute staff may attempt to contact you if your video is inaccessible, it’s your responsibility to make sure it’s accessible by Institute staff.
- Did the student present a clearly articulated opinion as to whether or not today’s culture of political correctness has gone too far?
- Did the student present a compelling argument that his or her audience can relate to?
- Did the student present a logical argument that identifies one or more constitutional principles to support his or her conclusion?
- Did the student reference the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Supreme Court cases, and/or any primary source documents in his or her response?
- Was the student’s argument original?
- Speaking Skills
- Was the student’s volume, pitch, rate, pronunciation, and articulation appropriate?
- Did the student make good use of eye contact, facial expressions, gesturing, and posture?
- Did the student structure his or her speech appropriately with an introduction, body and conclusion?
How will videos be judged?
Videos will be judged by the National Speech and Debate Association. Videos will be judged from a preliminary pool, and six videos will be selected to advance to the final round.
When will winners be announced?
Winners will be announced by April 27, 2016.
If I need help and can’t find the answer online, what do I do?
You can contact Anthony Rodriguez via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.894.1776.