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AEL Collegiate Essay Contest: Home

2021 Essay Prompt

There has been much in the news recently on the rising cost of American higher education. Please share your views on the value of a liberal arts degree and how it benefits society. 

Your introduction should include a clearly-defined thesis statement, and the body of the essay needs to include views informed by research. Be sure to wrap up your ideas in a thoughtful conclusion.

Introduction

Pepperdine Libraries is pleased to facilitate an annual essay contest for US college students. Americanism Educational Leaders, which supports this scholarship, strives to provide students with opportunities to discover, understand, and appreciate some aspect of the American experience.

Eligibility and Requirements

The eligibility requirements are as follows: 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must be a current undergraduate college or university student in an accredited four-year U.S. college or university. Incoming first-year students and college students who graduated the year of the competition (i.e., January-June 2021 for the 2021 essay competition) are eligible to apply. 

Submission Guidelines

Essay Guidelines

  • Since this is an academic paper, cited sources are expected. You may use MLA or Chicago formatting.

  • The essay length is a minimum of 5 pages and a maximum of 8 pages (approximately 1,500-2,000 words), using a standard font set to 12-point with double-spacing and 1-inch margins.  

  • A bibliography does not count towards or against the page length requirement.

  • Essays will be judged on clarity of argument, use of evidence to support the thesis, originality of thought, and proper grammar.

Submission Instructions

  • Applications will only be accepted via a Google Form. Prospective applicants will need to sign into a Google account to access the application. Don't have a Google account? Sign up for free here: https://accounts.google.com/Signup
  • Complete applications must be submitted by the deadline of June 30, 2021, 11:59 PM PDT. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. 
  • Essays will only be accepted in PDF format, attached to application. Do not include your name within the document. Name the file using your application ID, which is your phone number without spaces, hyphens, or parentheses (ex., "3105551234.pdf").
  • Failure to follow these requirements will result in disqualification.

 

AEL Collegiate Essay Competition

Prize Categories

First Prize: $2,500

Second Prize: $1,500

Third Prize: $1,000

Questions?

For any questions, please begin by checking the FAQ page and contact AEL@pepperdine.edu with any additional questions not addressed there.