Kansas Contest Series

Frequently Asked Questions

Enter Now!  |  Rules and Regulations  |  Contest Page

Am I eligible to participate?

High school students between the ages of 14 and 19, who are living and attending school in Kansas are eligible to participate. 

How many times can I enter?

An individual may only submit one entry to a contest.  Students may enter more than one contest in the series.

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.

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.”


“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?

Cash prizes may vary for each contest in the series. For up-to-date information on prizes, check the Contest website.

What are the judges looking for?

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.

When will the winners be announced?

Winners for the Bill of Rights Institute’s Kansas Contest Series will be announced on this website in the month following the contest deadline.

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

You can contact us via email us or you can call us at (703) 894-1776.