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Kansas “We The People” Contest

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to participate?

Students living in Kansas, and participating in the Kansas “We The People” program for the 2012-2013 school year are eligible to participate in the contest. Students must also be a current high school student.

How many times can I enter?

An individual may only submit one entry to the contest.

Do I have to answer both questions?

Yes. To be eligible to win you must fully answer both questions, including any sub-parts. This means that you must answer a total of 4 questions (Question 1, and Question 2 (a), (b), and (c)).

Are there examples of past winning essays that I can look at?

No. This is the first year we have run a contest in this form, so we are unable to provide examples from previous years.

Am I eligible to submit an essay if I was a winner in a previous contest from the Bill of Rights Institute?

Yes, winning students from other contests are eligible to participate in subsequent contests. The entry submitted must be new and different from any 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 advisors before submitting their entry.

Is a title required for my entry?

No. Titles are not required for entries and will not be part of the evaluation process.

Should I include my name on my uploaded files?

No! In order to help us ensure that essays are judged blindly, please DO NOT include your name on any of your uploaded answer documents. We ONLY need your name where we ask for it on the form.

Will my entry be disqualified if I go over the word limits?

Unfortunately, yes. This is required to help ensure no entry has an unfair advantage over another due to length. Please adhere to ALL word limits as given.

Do I need a Works Cited section/page with my entry?

We do not expect or require a Works Cited page or section for Contest entries. If you use quotes from individuals or research, simple citations will suffice. For example:

An example of what I am referring to comes from James Madison when he said in Federalist #51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

or

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” (James Madison, 1788)

Either format for citing sources used in your entry will suffice.

What are the prizes?

1st Place – $800
2nd Place – $400
3rd Place – $200

Teachers of the first place winner will receive a $100 cash prize to put towards classroom resources.

What are the judges looking for?

Kansas “We The People” Contest submissions will focus on the ideas of the Constitution and the role of government. A well-written essay will completely adhere to the topic and fully answer all parts of the question. Judges are looking for the following:

  • adherence to the Essay Guidelines (as stated in Section III of the Rules and Regulations)
  • strength of personal response
  • originality
  • organization
  • writing style

How long does my essay have to be?

There is no minimum required length for an entry; however, you cannot exceed the stated word limits for each question with your entry. For more information on what constitutes a complete submission, please review the contest questions here.

When will the winners be announced?

Winners for the Bill of Rights Institute’s Kansas “We The People” Contest will be announced on this website in March of 2013.

If I need help and can’t find the answer online, what do I do?

You can contact us via email at essaycontest@BillofRightsInstitute.org or you can call us at (703) 894-1776, ext. 31.