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AEL Collegiate Essay Contest: Home

About the Scholarship

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.

The 2023 competition will go live in the spring. The deadline for submission will be May 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time.

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 (i.e., high school seniors) and college students who graduate the year of the 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:
  • Complete applications must be submitted by the deadline of May 31, 2023, 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


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