The 2014-2015 contest is now closed.
Or, read the winning essays from 2014-2015.
The National Center for Policy Analysis and Debate Central are proud to announce the 2014-2015 Young Patriots Essay Contest! Entrants have the opportunity to compete for $10,000 in scholarship money.
The Young Patriots Essay Contest is designed to challenge high school students to creatively solve problems in the realm of economics and public policy through the art of writing. We assign a controversial topic each year and only THREE winners are chosen out of hundreds of essay submissions. Find the topic and entry instructions below the fold!
Last year’s contest winners receiving their awards in Dallas.
The topic of the 2014-2015 essay contest is:
“Drawing on the readings, discuss the relationship between individual freedom and social/economic prosperity. Feel free to incorporate outside research.”
Please read the following two pieces as you consider the above topic. Your submission will be graded in part according to how carefully and thoughtfully you engage with these challenging articles. They are:
- “Classical Liberalism,” by John C. Goodman
- “The Greatest Story Nobody Knows About,” by Steven Landsburg
You may also incorporate outside research into your writing. Although this is not required, it may improve the overall quality of your essay.
Your essay should be written in English and should not exceed 1,200 words.
For more guidelines on submission and formatting of entries, see below.
All essays must be submitted by Monday, January 5 2015 at 11:00pm CT. No late submissions will be accepted.
Submit your completed essay via email to Rachel.Stevens [at] ncpa.org. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number(s), and email address in the body of the essay document. Your personal information does not count towards your total word count.
UPDATE: The 2014-2015 contest is open to middle school students, as well as high school students. Please disregard any conflicting information.
Entrants have the opportunity to:
- Earn a college scholarship of up to $5,000
- Win a FREE trip to Dallas, TX for you and a parent to receive your award at a special event
- Have your essay published on Debate Central
- See your essay posted on the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) home page
- Have your essay shared with 350,000 NCPA Policy Patriots via email
- Have your winning entry be sent to your hometown newspapers, radio and TV.
Young Patriots Submission Guidelines
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. How should I format my entry?
A. Essays should be written in English, with submissions of up to 1,200 words. Essays exceeding this length will not be considered. Please submit your entry as a Microsoft Word document.
Also be sure to include all essential information, including your name, address, phone number(s) and e-mail address in the body of the essay. This information does not count against your total word count.
Q. How do I submit my entry?
E-mail your submission to Rachel.Stevens [at] ncpa.org.
Each e-mail submission will receive a return message verifying that the essay was received.
Q. What happens if I exceed the word limit?
A. Your essay will not be considered. There is no word minimum.
Q. Who is eligible to enter?
A. Any current middle or high school student or recent graduate who has never enrolled as a degree-seeking student in any college/university.
If you have enrolled in a college course for dual credit with your high school, you are still eligible.
Q. Are homeschool students eligible?
Q. Are international students eligible?
A. Yes, as long as they meet the criteria above and write the essay in English.
Q. How can I spend the scholarship money?
A. For tuition or related expenses at a college or university of your choice. You are NOT allowed to spend the money on non-educational expenses.
Q. Can I choose to remain anonymous?
A. No. We must be able to publish both your essay and name.
Q. How should I format citations?
A. In the Modern Language Association (MLA) format. Citations should be listed in a ‘Works Cited’ page at the end of the document. An example of a citation in this format from a web resource is listed below:
Goodman, John. What is Wrong with the Drug Industry? John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog. National Center for Policy Analysis, 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 24 Sep. 2011. ‹http://healthblog.ncpathinktank.org/whats-wrong-with-the-drug-industry/›.
For additional citation questions please consult Purdue University’s free online formatting and style guide.
The works cited page should not be included in your overall word count.
Q. Do I need to attach a cover letter?
A. No, but make sure you include your name, address, phone number(s) and e-mail address in the body of the e-mail.
Q. Is there anything else you can tell me about how to stand out from the crowd?
A. Yes. Here are a few suggestions for participants:
- Stick to the subject and topic. Submitting your essay in the proper format is essential, but the substance of your essay is the most important part. If you write a fantastic essay that doesn’t address the central question you won’t win.
- Submit a professional document. Double check grammar and spelling and try to make rambling sentences more concise.
- Follow and demonstrate a clear vision. This contest leaves lots of room to address the subject in a variety of ways. Students should attempt to be creative, clear and persuasive in their approach to the topic.
- Include your perspective on the works. Show us that you have read and considered the material. Do not simply summarize the readings but rather explain how they influence your thinking on policy.
Q. Do I need to agree with the authors?
The short answer: No. The longer answer: No, but you should warrant your disagreement with outside sources and research. Make sure your argument is complete, articulate and supported. Avoid ad hominem attacks that indict the author without properly considering the merit of the argument.
Q. Is there just one prize?
A. No. First, second and third prizes will be awarded in the amounts of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000 respectively.
Q. I sent you an email and haven’t heard back. What is the problem?
A. Most likely nothing. Our offices are closed periodically in late December and early January for the holidays. If your message was sent during this time, you should have received an automatically generated reply. Check your spam folder. If you did not receive any sort of reply, please try re-sending the message. If that fails, leave a time-stamped comment here and we will get back to you ASAP.
PRIVACY: This scholarship is funded by the National Center for Policy Analysis, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public policy organization. Any personal information collected from non-winning entries is used only in aggregate to gauge participation statistics. Contest winners must agree to have their name, school, grade level, home town, and essay made public for site usage, NCPA newsletter, etc. Beyond the initial confirmation email, contest entry will not result in any further communication or solicitation from Debate Central or the NCPA. We will never sell or otherwise distribute your personal information to third parties.
Any questions? Leave them in the comments. We’ll get back to you right away.