Essay Contest Essentials
Rules, Rules, Rules...
The contest is open to students in two categories. The junior division is open to middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8. The senior category is open to students in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.
Junior Division: 600 (minimum) to 800 (maximum) words*
Senior Division: 800 (minimum) to 1,200 (maximum) words*
*(Word count does not include the citations to sources consulted.)
June 15, 2012. All submissions must be postmarked or electronically submitted by Friday, June 15, 2012.
Entries will be judged on the depth of their content, the mastery of the topic, and the skill with which they are written. Students should develop a point of view on the issue and demonstrate critical thinking, using appropriate examples, reasons and other evidence to support their position. Essays should be free of grammatical errors and should be clear, concise and well-organized.
The prizes for the top three entries in each division are:
First Place – $1,000 & trip to Washington, D.C.*
Second Place – $500
Third Place – $100
Honorable Mention – The top 50 entries in each division will receive a copy of the book Understanding Congress by former Congressman Lee Hamilton.
* Trip includes actual airfare costs to D.C. up to a predetermined amount and one night of lodging for the contest winner and two accompanying parents/guardians or teacher to present the winning essay at the annual meeting of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.
Winners will be announced by September 30, 2012. The first place winner will be recognized at the annual meeting of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society in Washington, D.C., in fall 2012. All entrants will hear from the U.S. Capitol Historical Society by e-mail or U.S. mail after the winners are selected.
In addition, a CLASSROOM GRANT of $1,000 plus a selection of teaching materials will be presented to the school of the first place winner in each division.
1. Submitted essays should be in 12-point type, doublespaced and with 1-inch page margins.
2. Essays must have a title, and they must be within the word limit for each division: Junior Division (grades 6, 7, and 8) 600 to 800 words; Senior Division (grades 9, 10, 11, 12) 800-1,200 words. To ensure fairness, do not put your name, address, school or any other identifying information on the essay itself.
3. Sources must be used and must be cited and credited in a bibliography, consistent with an accepted citation style. For citation and bibliography style, please consult either the MLA (Modern Language Association) Style Guide or Kate L. Turabian, Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
4. All fields on the registration form must be completed.
5. Each submitted essay must also include an essay adviser form (see below), signed to verify the essay is the original work of the student.
6. The essay, registration form, and essay adviser form may be submitted by mail or by email. Entries submitted by postal mail must be mailed to the following address, postmarked no later than June 15, 2012:
2012 Making Democracy Work Essay Contest
U.S. Capitol Historical Society
200 Maryland Avenue, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Entries submitted electronically as MSWord or Adobe Acrobat PDF files should be emailed by June 15, 2012 to: email@example.com. The signed essay adviser form may be scanned and submitted electronically, but you must retain the original signed copy.
ESSAY ADVISER INFORMATION
Students must have an “essay adviser” to review the essay. Advisers must be a teacher or counselor at the applicant’s school. The adviser cannot be the student’s parent unless the parent homeschools the student. The adviser verifies the essay is the student’s original work and reviews it to ensure it meets all requirements. An adviser may work with more than one student, but each submitted essay must have its own adviser form.