- This contest is open to United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools
- U.S. students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program in any of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, or the U.S. territories
- and U.S. citizens attending schools overseas.
- Past winners and finalists are not eligible to participate. Employees of the organization and members of their families are not eligible to participate.
- Essay submissions for the 2012 contest will be accepted starting September 1, 2011. The contest deadline is Saturday, January 7, 2012.
- Essays can be no more than 1,000 words. Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count.
- Essays must be the original work of the student.
- Essays must describe an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official that occurred during or after 1956, the publication date of Profiles in Courage. The official may have addressed an issue at the local, state, or national level. See Contest Information and Topic Guidelines and Writing Tips for more information
- Source Material
- Essays with fewer than five listed sources may be disqualified.
- All participants must cite sources they used to research their topic throughout their essay. (Please use parenthetical citations within the text.) The organization will not accept citations in footnote form.)
- Essays must include a bibliography. Accepted formats include APA, MLA, or Turabian. You must use a minimum of five selected sources. Please refer to Guidelines for Citations and Bibliographies.
- Essays must include one non-internet source.
- Source Material
Essay Submission - Students have the choice of either submitting their essay online (preferred) or of mailing their essay. All students must complete and submit a registration form online for student and school information. For instructions on how to submit your essay, see Submit your Essay.
Mailed in essays must be postmarked by January 7, 2012.
The winner receives $10,000 which will consist of a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 to put in a college savings account. The winner will also be invited to an awards ceremony to accept his/her award.
A second place winner receives a $1,000 cash award.
Up to five finalists each receive a $500 cash award.
Winners and finalists will be notified by March 31. All participants will receive a letter announcing the winners and finalists by May 15.
Please read contest information and topic guidelines carefully before submitting your essay. Essays must meet contest requirements to qualify for evaluation.
Please read the following instructions carefully
- Submit your essay online (preferred method)
- Please complete the full registration/essay submission form online. Copy the text of your essay and bibliography from your original document and paste it into the designated boxes on the online submission form. To correctly format your essay and bibliography, make sure you insert an extra carriage return between paragraphs and after each entry on your bibliography (hit twice on your keyboard.) Citations must be in parenthetical form within the essay. Footnotes can not be submitted.
- You can also either submit your essay via mail - All students are required to complete the online registration form regardless of whether they submit their essay online or via regular mail. It is recommended that you register when you are ready to mail your essay.
Submit your essay via regular mail by printing out the completed online registration form along with two hard copies of your essay. Your essay must be typed, double-spaced, and printed only on one side of the paper. Attach your registration form to only one copy of your essay. Your second copy should contain no personal identification information.