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2019 Youth Essay Contest Details

I. Prizes

There will be up to four “Grand Prize Awards for Writing Excellence” of $1,200 each. Each awardee will also receive an engraved plaque. (We are only allowed by U.S. non-profit public charity law to award cash prizes within the United States.)

We can also award up to four “International Distinction for Writing Excellence” engraved plaques to essayists submitting from outside the United States. While there is no cash prize involved, this is still a meaningful designation and these winning essays will be posted on our website.

All winners in both the U.S. and International categories will have their essays published on the Love All Means All website and widely circulated to students around the globe so that many thousands can benefit. We will also have a press announcement and winners may have opportunities to be interviewed should they wish to.

II. Requirements

You must be a high school junior or senior.

Due Date

Friday July 1, 2019, midnight local time.

III. Essay Length and Structure

 
Essays should be in the range of approximately 1,000 words, double-spaced, and written in English. Be certain to paginate. We will not accept essays without the pages numbered, preferably on the bottom of the page.

Include two clearly designated sections:

Section One

Describe how and why you flourish when you live by the Deep Golden Rule.

Section Two

Focus in on one of the seven core big questions, selecting the one that seems best for you.

Release

IV. Writing Tips for Winners

Be certain to use headings well. Headings are a roadmap for the reader. They are like signposts on the highway. They should not be complex or long, so choose a few effective words. Subheadings can sometimes also be quite helpful. Headings should be in bold, and subheadings should be in italics.

Develop your ideas and use transitions to link the major strands of your exposition. Make sure that an intelligent person who is not an expert in your topic could easily follow your essay. If you jump around without an indication of why, it will be difficult for your reader to follow you.

If you are wondering if a paragraph is too long, it probably is. Break up long paragraphs, and remember the rule, “one idea, one paragraph.” Paragraphs should rarely be longer than a half page. If you are wondering if a sentence is too long, it probably is. Break it up, rather than have “run-on” sentences.

Remember that the secret to writing is re-writing over time. Try a first draft and then set it aside for a week. Come back and improve it a few times, and make it a little deeper each time. Improve your diction (that is, your choice and use of words and phrases). When you think you have a final draft you probably don’t, because you can always improve your content or expression. When you think you are done, give your essay to some friends for their feedback. Revise it again. Writing gets better over time. If you are applying for college, having a really good writing sample is a great idea.

You can quote phrases, sentences, or segments of several lines with scholarly precision. Only quote the material that makes your point best, and always reference it. There is no need to quote excessively, and you should help the reader understand what you want them to get from a block quote, rather than leave it dangling at the end of a paragraph. A few block quotes are okay if used wisely, but they should rarely, if ever, exceed five to seven lines.

References

You may decide to speak from wisdom and experience without any need for outside sources. We encourage deep personal reflection on the meaningful events of your life. But you can also write a more scholarly conceptual essay, although this too should have some grounding around meaningful events in your life. You may decide to draw on published sources, but keep these down to no more than ten. Your citations should be in a standardized format (e.g. MLA, Chicago, APA) and listed alphabetically by the author’s last name at the end of the essay.

V. Selection Process

An international panel of Institute advisors will select the winning essays. Winners will be notified by September 1, 2019.

VI. Essay Submission

All essays must be submitted here as a standard Microsoft Word document format only (we do not accept Google Docs). Contact us with any questions.

2019 Schedule

July 1  essays due by midnight local time

September 1  winners announced via email

October 10  plaques and awards mailed

October 30  winning essays published on this website

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This is a project of The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love.