FFRF Student Scholarship Essay 2019 Contests

FFRF sponsors five essay competitions. Deadlines vary, see details below.

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.


2019 WILLIAM J. SCHULZ MEMORIAL ESSAY CONTEST FOR COLLEGE-BOUND HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS

First Place Prize: $3,500
Second Place Award: $3,000
Third Place Award: $2,500
Fourth Place Award: $2,000
Fifth Place Award: $1,500
Sixth Place Award: $1,000
Seventh Place Award: $750
Eighth Place Award: $500
Ninth Place Award: $400
Tenth Place Award: $300
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: “Why we must rely on ourselves, not god, to solve the world's problems."

PROMPT: Write a personal persuasive essay about the benefit of relying on ourselves, not a god, to solve the world's problems. You may wish to focus on one or two problems of special concern and analyze or document how religion, dogma or faith gets in the way, and what should be done instead to solve the problem. You may wish to tell us why you rely on yourself or others, rather than a supernatural entity, in dealing with challenges in your own life.

WORD LENGTH: 350-500 words 

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all high school seniors who graduate in spring 2019, who will be attending a North American college or university in fall 2019. Note: If you fit this profile and are a student of color, you may enter this contest, or you may enter FFRF's David Hudak Memorial Contest for Students of Color. However, you may not enter both contests.

DEADLINE: Fill out the application and submit your essay no later than midnight, June 1, 2019. Winners will be announced in July 2019.

SUBMISSION RULES: Please fill out the online submission form and attach the essay. The essay must be double-spaced, standard margins, the font size of 11 to 14 point, and attached as a PDF. Your name and the name of your essay must be included on every page. Pages must be numbered. Indicate word length at end of the essay. Please choose your own title; Do not upload any other documents here, such as a resume.

AGREEMENT: By entering the competition, you agree to permit your winning essay to be printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper; announced in a news release, and posted online at FFRF's website. You also agree, if you win an award, to promptly provide FFRF with a high-resolution photograph of yourself suitable for reproduction with your winning essay.

REQUIREMENTS: Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. Students will be disqualified if they do not follow instructions, including word limit and deadline. FFRF monitors for plagiarism.

BANISH MANGLISH: FFRF encourages you to please use inclusive language, rather than language that presumes everyone is male. For example, try "humanity" or "humankind," rather than "mankind".

Click here to fill out the online application form


2019 DAVID HUDAK MEMORIAL ESSAY CONTEST FOR FREETHINKING STUDENTS OF COLOR

First Place Prize: $3,500
Second Place Award: $3,000
Third Place Award: $2,500
Fourth Place Award: $2,000
Fifth Place Award: $1,500
Sixth Place Award: $1,000
Seventh Place Award: $750
Eighth Place Award: $500
Ninth Place Award: $400
Tenth Place Award: $300
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: How has being free from religion enhanced your life?

PROMPT: Rejection of religion is so often associated with controversy or negativity, but thinking for yourself is liberating. Please explain how being nonreligious has enhanced your life. Please be sure to include why you are a nonbeliever, atheist, humanist, etc., and some thoughts as a student of color about how the secular community as a whole can better engage people of color.

ELIGIBILITY: Open only to freethinking students of color ages 17-21, who are either high school seniors graduating in spring 2019 who will be attending a North American college or university in fall 2019, or who are currently enrolled in a college or university. If you will be graduating from college in the spring or summer 2019, you remain eligible to enter this contest. FFRF offers other essay contests open to all students in your age group. Please select only one FFRF essay competition to enter in 2019.

WORD LIMIT: 350-500 words.

DEADLINE: Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, July 15, 2019.

SUBMISSION RULES: Please fill out online submission form and attach essay. The essay must be double-spaced, standard margins, font size of 11 to 14 point, and attached as a PDF. Your name and the name of your essay must be included on every page. Pages must be numbered. Please choose your own title; do not use the topic of the essay as the title. Indicate word length at end of the essay. Do not attach a resume with your essay.

AGREEMENT: By entering the competition, you agree to permit your winning essay to be printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper; announced in a news release, and posted online at FFRF's website. You also agree, if you win an award, to promptly provide FFRF with a high-resolution photograph of yourself suitable for reproduction with your winning essay.

REQUIREMENTS: Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. Students will be disqualified if they do not follow instructions, including word limit and deadline. FFRF monitors for plagiarism.

BANISH MANGLISH: FFRF encourages you to please use inclusive language, rather than language that presumes everyone is male. For example, try "humanity" or "humankind," rather than "mankind."

Click here to fill out the online application form.


2019 MICHAEL HAKEEM MEMORIAL ESSAY CONTEST FOR FREETHINKING COLLEGE STUDENTS

First Place Prize: $3,500
Second Place Award: $3,000
Third Place Award: $2,500
Fourth Place Award: $2,000
Fifth Place Award: $1,500
Sixth Place Award: $1,000
Seventh Place Award: $750
Eighth Place Award: $500
Ninth Place Award: $400
Tenth Place Award: $300
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

mikehakeem

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: Living in the here and now - with 'no hell below us, above us only sky.'

PROMPT: Write a personal, persuasive essay about why we'd all be better off concentrating on the here and now, rather than worrying about an unknowable afterlife. Write about why you agree with John Lennon that there is "no hell below us, above us only sky." Please tell us why you can lead a better life because you live and care about the here and now.

WORD LENGTH: 450-650 words 

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all ongoing undergraduate college students up to age 24 already 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 2019.
If you're entering college in Fall 2019 for the first time, please enter FFRF's contest for college-bound high school seniors. If you're an undergraduate student age 25 through 30, please enter FFRF's graduate/"older" student essay contest instead. If you're a student of color up to age 21, who is currently enrolled in college, you may enter this contest or the David Hudak Student of Color Contest, but you may not enter both contests.

DEADLINE: Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, July 1, 2019.

SUBMISSION RULES: Please fill out online submission form and attach essay. The essay must be double-spaced, standard margins, font size of 11 to 14 point, and attached as a PDF. Your name and the name of your essay must be included on every page. Pages must be numbered. Indicate word length at end of the essay. Please choose your own title, do not use the topic of the essay as the title. Do not attach a resume with your essay.

AGREEMENT: By entering the competition, you agree to permit your winning essay to be printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper; announced in a news release, and posted online at FFRF's website. You also agree, if you win an award, to promptly provide FFRF with a photograph of yourself suitable for reproduction with your winning essay.

REQUIREMENTS: Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. Students will be disqualified if they do not follow instructions, including word limit and deadline. FFRF monitors for plagiarism. You may not re-enter this contest if FFRF has previously awarded you for an essay in the Michael Hakeem College Contest. If you have previously entered but did not win, you may submit another essay in this contest.

BANISH MANGLISH: FFRF encourages you to please use inclusive language, rather than language that presumes everyone is male. For example, try "humanity" or "humankind," rather than "mankind."

Click here to fill out the online application form.


2019 BRIAN BOLTON ESSAY CONTEST FOR GRADUATE/"OLDER" STUDENTS (TO AGE 30)

First Place Prize: $3,500
Second Place Award: $3,000
Third Place Award: $2,500
Fourth Place Award: $2,000
Fifth Place Award: $1,500
Sixth Place Award: $1,000
Seventh Place Award: $750
Eighth Place Award: $500
Ninth Place Award: $400
Tenth Place Award: $300
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

1Brianbolton

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: The bible's continuing harm to civil liberties and U.S. society.

PROMPT: The bible, still a bestseller found lurking in nearly every hotel or motel room, continues to command undue respect in the United States. Select at least one destructive or erroneous biblical passage to show how its influence continues to cause harm today to individuals, civil liberties or society in general. Marshall evidence that demonstrates why these biblical teachings make bad public policy, or how they are being used to target civil liberties or adversely affect individuals (for instance, the rights of women or LGBTQ, science research or education, children's health, etc.).

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 2019.

DEADLINE: Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, August 1, 2019. Winners will be announced in late September 2019.

SUBMISSION RULES: Please fill out the online submission form and attach the essay. Essay must be typeset, double-spaced, standard margins, font size of 11 to 14 point, and attached as a PDF. Your name and the name of your essay must be included on every page. Pages must be numbered. Indicate word length at end of the essay. Please choose your own title; do not use the topic of the essay as the title. Do not attach a resume with your essay.

AGREEMENT: By entering the competition, you agree to permit your winning essay to be printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper; announced in a news release, and posted online at FFRF's website. You also agree, if you win an award, to promptly provide FFRF with a high-resolution photograph of yourself suitable for reproduction with your winning essay.

REQUIREMENTS: Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. Students will be disqualified if they do not follow instructions, including word limit and deadline. FFRF monitors for plagiarism. You may not re-enter this contest if FFRF has previously awarded you for an essay in FFRF's Brian Bolton "Graduate/Older Student" contest. If you have previously entered but not won, you may submit another essay in this year's contest.

BANISH MANGLISH: FFRF encourages you to please use inclusive language, rather than male-generic language. For example, try "humanity" or "humankind," rather than "mankind."

Brian Bolton is a retired professor who not only endows this contest but is underwriting a new Bible Accountability Project with FFRF.

Click here to fill out the online application form.


2019 DEBUT FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION ESSAY CONTEST FOR LAW SCHOOL STUDENTS

AWARDS:
First Place Prize: $4,000
Second Place Award: $3,000
Third Place Award: $2,000
Fourth Place Award: $1,000
Fifth Place Award: $750
Sixth Place Award: $500
& $200 honorable mention at judge's discretion

All eligible entrants will receive a full 1-year complimentary student membership in FFRF, which includes a digital version of 10 issues of Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper (publishes winning student essays).

THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: What's wrong with 'Religious Exemption or Refusal' laws?

PROMPT: State legislatures across the country are considering or enacting a slew of “religious exemption” or “religious refusal” bills. Such bills, often misleadingly described as “conscience clauses,” may allow providers (parents, companies, landlords, health care workers, shopkeepers, etc.) to refuse services based on the provider’s personal religious beliefs. For instance, about 10 states have passed bills permitting religious child placement agencies to refuse to work with LGBTQ couples or children. Some states exempt health care workers or pharmacists on the basis of religion from providing contraceptive services; others allow government employees who solemnize marriages to refuse to do so for same-sex couples, etc.

Pick a religious refusal bill, in any state, under consideration or enacted in the current legislative session and evaluate whether the bill strikes an appropriate balance between the religious rights of service providers and the civil and equal protection rights of members of the public most likely to be refused services. Include some analysis of what’s wrong generally with any "religious exemption or refusal" proposal.

WORD LENGTH: 850-1,000 words (not including footnotes)

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all ongoing law school students up to age 30 already attending a North American law school. You remain eligible to enter this contest if you will graduate from law school by spring or summer of 2019. You are not eligible to enter if you will be starting law school for the first time in the fall of 2019.

DEADLINE: Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, July 1, 2019. You will be notified in September if you win.

SUBMISSION RULES: Please fill out the online submission form and attach the essay. Essay must be double-spaced, standard margins, font size of 11 to 14 point, and attached as a PDF. Your name and the title of your essay must be included on every page. Pages must be numbered. Indicate word length at end of the essay. Please choose your own title; do not use the topic of the essay as the title. Do not attach a resume with your essay.

AGREEMENT: By entering the competition, you agree to permit your winning essay to be printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper, announced in a news release, and posted online at FFRF's website. You also agree, if you win an award, to promptly provide FFRF with a high-resolution photograph of yourself suitable for reproduction with your winning essay.

REQUIREMENTS: Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. Students will be disqualified if they do not follow instructions, including word limit and deadline. FFRF monitors for plagiarism.

BANISH MANGLISH: FFRF encourages you to please use inclusive language, rather than male-generic language, if possible. For example, try "humanity" or "humankind," rather than "mankind."

Click here to fill out the application form.

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