- Word count
- The theme
- Grading criteria
- Formatting, bibliographies, and in-text citations
- Technical problems while submitting
- Winners announcement
Choice of University or College
The University or College of my choice is not on the list, can I still participate and win a scholarship to attend that University or College?
No. The scholarships are distributed by our partnering post-secondary institutions. If your choice is not in the list, we do not have a partnership with them, and thus have no scholarship. Each year, we add new scholarships and new partners, come back next year to see if your choice is in the list. For more information about which schools are participation and the value of their scholarships, check out our rules.
My essay has more, or less, than 750 words.
We accept all essays between 700 and 800 words in length without penalty. However, essays having 699 words or less, or 801 words or more, will be automatically disqualified regardless of the quality of your work.
Do I need to include the word count in my essay?
No, it is not necessary to include your final word count in your essay. We calculate it ourselves.
Are the essay title or bibliography included in the final word count?
No, your essay title and bibliography are not included in the final word count.
When will we find out next year’s theme?
The National Essay Contest theme changes every year and is revealed once the contest officially begins in October.
Do I have to answer the question?
Yes, all essays must answer the question or respect the theme. Failure to do this will lead to the immediate disqualification of your essay, regardless of the quality of your work.
How will the essays be graded?
The evaluation sheet the judges will use to grade your essays is available here.
Each essay is read by a panel of four (4) judges, and the average score will serve as final grade.
Formatting, bibliographies, and in-text citations
Is there a way I need to format my essay?
No, there is no formatting requirement for your essay. We recommend that you avoid any unnecessary formatting, like double spacing, footnotes, and so on. These can cause technical difficulties when submitting essays.
However, remember to structure your essay with clear paragraphs, as indicated in the evaluation grid.
Do I need a bibliography?
No. While bibliographies are permitted, they do not count towards your final score. They are not included in your final word count either.
Do I need to do in-text citations?
It is not necessary to cite your sources in the text. Unlike for bibliographies, in-text citations are included in your final word count. Furthermore, in order to avoid any technical difficulties, we ask that you do not use footnotes. If you wish to cite your sources, it is in your best interest to do so with the help of a bibliography or a works cited list at the end of your essay.
Do I need to write my name on my essay?
No. The essays must be anonymous for the judges. You must therefore avoid including any identifying information in your essay, such as; your name, your teacher’s name, or your school’s name.
Technical problems while submitting
I am having technical issues and I cannot submit my essay; can you help me?
It is possible that you might encounter a technical issue while submitting your essay. Here are some things to try and might solve the issue for you. Please try these before contacting us, these are the first steps.
- Delete your browser history and try again.
- Use a different browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.
- Use private/incognito mode on your browser.
The submission form:
- Make sure that all fields are completed adequately.
- In the text box where you write your essay, remove any unnecessary formatting that is not required by the evaluation grid.
- Some school email addresses can be the source of the problem, you can try submitting your essay with a different email address.
Help! I am still having problems despite trying everything above!
In some rare cases, the issues cannot be resolved immediately and the technical problems persist. Do not worry, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you.
It is important to note that the office is open from 8 am to 4 pm EDT from Monday to Friday. We will only answer questions during working hours.
We strongly recommend that you submit your essay before 4 pm EDT on the last day of the Essay Contest. This way, we will be able to help you in time if a technical issue arises then. The office closes for the holiday season after 4 pm on the last day of the submission, and we will only return the following January.
Reminder : As stated in the rules and regulations, we cannot be held responsible for any system failures.
There’s a problem, I am calling but no one is answering!
We can only answer phone calls during business hours, from 8 am to 4 pm EDT, Monday to Friday. We recommend that you write to us at email@example.com to avoid delays. We can help you faster by email.
Do I really need to submit my essay file on top of writing it in the text box?
Yes, you must both write your essay in the text box and submit the file in a Word (or word processing) format. Doing this allows us to have a secondary copy of your essay should any technical problems arise on our end. It is in your best interest to submit both essays properly.
I didn’t receive my confirmation email.
Check your spam or junk folders, the confirmation email might have been sent there by mistake. If you still have not received a confirmation email, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to check if your submission went through.
For this reason, make sure you don’t wait until the last minute to submit your essay. Office hours are from 8 am to 4 pm EDT, Monday to Friday.
I have another question/problem!
If you still have questions or problems that have not been answered by the FAQ, or if you made a mistake in your submission form (ex. there’s a mistake in your email address), write to us at email@example.com.
Did I win?
National Essay Contest winners will be contacted by email from mid-February to early March. Check your inbox and spam folders for any communication from us so you can answer back before the deadline.