FFRF Student Scholarship Essay Contests

FFRF sponsors four essay competitions for students. All four FFRF essay contests offer the same awards:

First Place: $3,000
Second Place: $2,000
Third Place: $1,000
Fourth Place: $750
Fifth Place: $600
Sixth Place: $500
Seventh Place: $400
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

Thank you acknowledgment: Winners, in addition to their scholarship, will receive a school-year membership in FFRF. That includes a subscription to Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper published 10 times a year, which will publish winning essays. All other eligible entrants will be offered the choice of a student FFRF membership and Freethought Today subscription, or a freethought book or product.


William J. Schulz High School Essay Competition

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: “Why I believe 'They who live on love and laughter don't mess around with the hereafter.'"

PROMPT: The "slightly irreverent" lyricist Yip ("Over the Rainbow) Harburg wrote the above rhyme. Tell us why you don't "mess around with the hereafter." Is the idea of an "afterlife" counterproductive to enjoying life now or improving this world? Write about why you personally reject religion and its promise of an afterlife, and why you think this world is the one that matters.

WORD LENGTH: 350-500 words

ELIGIBILITY: Open to high school seniors who graduate in spring 2018, who will be attending a North American college or university in fall 2018.

DEADLINE:  Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, June 1, 2018.


 

David Hudak Memorial Freethinking Students of Color High School Essay Competition

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: “Challenges of being a student of color who rejects religion."

PROMPT: Tell us why you reject religion, including at least a few intellectual reasons, and what challenges you face from family, community, or as a minority within a minority. You may wish to include tips on what would make the freethought movement more welcoming to minority nonbelievers.

WORD LENGTH: 450-650 words

ELIGIBILITY: Open to ongoing undergraduate college students of color to age 24 attending a North American college or university. You remain eligible to enter this contest if you will graduate from college by spring or summer of 2018. (Note: You may enter only one of FFRF's two essay competitions for ongoing college students.)

If you're entering college for the first time in fall 2018, please instead enter the William J. Schulz Contest for college-bound high school seniors. If you're an undergraduate student age 25 through 30, you must enter the Brian Bolton Graduate/"Older" Student Essay Contest.

DEADLINE:  Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, July 1, 2018.


 

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Michael Hakeem Memorial College Essay Competition

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: “Why I'm an unabashed nontheist, not afraid of burning in hell."

PROMPT: On a popular TV commercial recorded for FFRF by Ron Reagan, he identifies himself as "unabashed atheist...not afraid of burning in hell." Tell us why you are an unabashed____________(fill in the blank with your favorite nonreligious appellation), also not afraid of burning in hell. Include at least some intellectual reasons why you reject religion, and why hell as a concept is objectionable. You may wish to address challenges of being a young, "unabashed" freethinker in your family or community.

WORD LENGTH: 450-650 words

ELIGIBILITY: Open to ongoing undergraduate college students up to age24 attending a North American college or university. You remain eligible to enter this contest if you will graduate from college by spring or summer of 2018. (Note: You may enter only one of FFRF's two essay competitions for ongoing college students.)

If you're entering college for the first time in Fall 2018, please instead enter the William J. Schulz Contest for college-bound high school seniors. If you're an undergraduate student age 25 through 30, you must enter the Brian Bolton Graduate/"Older" Student Essay Contest.

DEADLINE:  Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, July 1, 2018.


 

1BrianboltonBrian Bolton Graduate/"Older" Student Essay Contest

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: The Dangers of Bibliolatry in the United States

PROMPT: Biblioatry is defined as "worship of the bible." What are the dangers of basing social policy or laws on the bible? Why do biblical teachings make bad public policy? Marshall evidence, topical and/or historical, which shows the harm or threat of unquestioned respect for the bible by Americans, including public officials. You may wish to analyze the flurry of state bills being introduced to encourage or require bible instruction in public schools or promote the Ten Commandments, or resolutions declaring "the year of the bible" or otherwise showing governmental preference for the bible. You may wish to focus on one or two specific threats, for example problematic bible verses affecting women's or LGBTQ rights, science, children's health, etc. Include your personal thoughts about the bible and what you think can be done about its undue influence.

WORD LENGTH: 550 - 750 words

ELIGIBILITY: Open to any graduate students through the age 30, or to undergraduate students ages 25-30 who attend a North American college or university. You remain eligible to enter this contest if you will graduate by spring or summer 2018.

DEADLINE:  Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, August 1, 2018.

 

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