You Could Win a $10,000 College Scholarship from FIRE!

November 26, 2013

When applying to colleges, it’s important for high school students to learn about the extent to which their First Amendment rights will be respected or restricted at different schools. FIRE’s essay contest aims to teach high school students about their rights while giving them the opportunity to win thousands of dollars in scholarships!

To enter, high school juniors and seniors should watch two FIRE videos—Silencing U: Five Outrageous Cases of Campus Censorship and What Every Student Should Know Before Starting College—and write an essay answering the question: “Why is free speech important at our nation’s colleges and universities?” Essays are due January 1, 2014.

To view the full contest rules and entry form, visit and email with any questions. We look forward to your entry!

Essay Contest FAQ

Who can enter the essay contest?

Current high school juniors graduating in 2015 and high school seniors graduating in 2014 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and plan to attend college are eligible to submit an essay for consideration.

What is the deadline for entering?

Deadline for submissions is January 1, 2014. Winners will be announced by January 31, 2014.

What is the essay question?

Why is free speech important at our nation’s colleges and universities? Using examples from both videos, discuss how censorship of student speech is incompatible with higher education. Your essay should be 800–1,000 words and should stay on topic.

How much is the winning scholarship award?

First Place: $10,000 college scholarship

Second Place: $5,000 college scholarship

(3) Third Place Awards: $1,000 college scholarship each

(4) Runners-up chosen by lottery: $500 college scholarship each

Where should I send my essay?

Essays can be submitted on the contest page: