Fourth Annual ‘Freedom In Academia’ Scholarship Contest Now Accepting Submissions

By August 2, 2011

FIRE is pleased to announce that we are now accepting submissions for the fourth annual "Freedom in Academia" essay contest.

Part of FIRE’s mission is "to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to rights on our campuses." We believe students should know their rights before they go to college, and one of their considerations when choosing a college should be whether a school honors its commitment to free expression. This is why we are inviting all graduating high school students to write an essay explaining why free speech and First Amendment rights are crucial to higher education.

The contest is open to high school students anywhere in the country who will be graduating in 2012 and attending college in the fall of 2012. To enter, students should watch two short FIRE documentaries—FIRE in Action: Valdosta State University and Think What We Think Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus—and write an essay explaining how the featured universities violated the First Amendment freedoms of their students.

FIRE will award one first-place winner a $5,000 scholarship, one second-place winner a $2,500 scholarship, and five runners-up $1,000 scholarships. Last year’s contest garnered almost 1,500 essays from students across the country. Read the winning 2010 essays here.

To view the complete rules and regulations for the contest, please click here.

Essay Contest FAQ

Who can enter the essay contest?
High school seniors graduating in 2012 and attending college in the fall are eligible to submit an essay for consideration.

What is the deadline for entering?
Deadline for submissions is November 5, 2011. Winners will be announced by December 16, 2011.

What is the essay question?
Why is free speech important at our nation’s colleges and universities? Using examples from both videos, discuss how these universities violated their students’ rights and why these violations are incompatible with higher education. Your essay should be 800-1,000 words.

How much is the winning scholarship award?
This year, FIRE will award one first-place winner a $5,000 scholarship, one second-place winner a $2,500 scholarship, and five runners-up $1,000 scholarships.

Where should I send my essay?
Essays can be submitted on the contest page (preferred), via email to scholarships@thefire.org, or via postal mail to the address below. Mail submissions must be received by November 5 to be considered.

FIRE
Attn: Scholarship Essay Contest
601 Walnut Street, Suite 510
Philadelphia, PA 19106