High school students: Enter FIRE’s Free Speech Essay Contest, win money for college!

November 9, 2018

Free speech may be priceless — but college isn’t.

Fortunately, if you’re a high school student interested in civil liberties, FIRE wants to help you rake in some cash for tuition this season along with those fall leaves. Starting today, you can enter FIRE’s annual Free Speech Essay Contest for the chance to win several scholarship awards: one $10,000 first prize, one $5,000 second prize, three $1,000 third-place prizes, and four $500 runners-up — $20,000 in total awards.

You can find all of last year’s winners here, and you can read the winning $10,000 essay by Shelby Tone, of Stoughton, Wisconsin, for inspiration.  

This year’s essay prompt challenges students to consider how the free flow of ideas and the clash of opposing views advance knowledge and promote human progress on campus. Entrants must explain in 800–1000 words why free speech is so important to higher education, and why censorship undermines the ideals of liberal education and a free society. You can find more details on the contest, along with background material to help you construct a winning essay, at thefire.org/resources/high-school-network/essay-contest.

The contest runs through Dec. 31, so you still have plenty of time to pour yourself some pumpkin-spiced cider and curl up with a blanket for a leisurely typing session. Winners will be announced by Jan. 31, 2019. We look forward to reading your essays!