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We the Students Essay Contest


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Am I eligible to participate?
Students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Armed Forces schools abroad, and students in United States territories are eligible to participate in the contest.

In addition to going to school in a contest state, you must be in grades 8-12 and between the ages of 14-19. You must also meet our eligibility requirements. If you meet these criteria, you can submit your entry. (Home school students too.)

How many times can I enter?
An individual may only submit one entry to each contest.

Do I have to answer all questions?
Yes. To be eligible to win you must fully answer all questions, including any sub-parts.

Is there a limit to how many people I can recommend the Contest to?
No! We encourage you to recommend the contest to anyone you think would be eligible and interested.

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 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 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 limit?

Unfortunately, yes. This is required to help ensure no entry has an unfair advantage over another due to length. Please adhere to the 800-word limit as given. Citations are not included in the word count.

Do I need a Works Cited section/page with my entry?
Please cite your sources using MLA format. In-text citations, as well as a works-cited list are required. For MLA citation guidelines, please see this guide provided by Purdue Owl.

What are the essay prizes?

Student Prizes

1st Place – One at $7,500.

Runners Up – Five prizes at $1,500 each.

Honorable Mentions – Ten prizes at $500 each.

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:

How long does my essay have to be?
500-800 words. Citations are not included in the word count.

When will the winners be announced?
Winners for the Bill of Rights Institute’s We the Students Scholarship Contest will be announced on this website on or before May 31, 2022.

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