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AEL Collegiate Essay Contest

About the Scholarship

Pepperdine Libraries is pleased to facilitate an annual essay contest for U.S. 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 scholarship is now live. The deadline for submission is August 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM PDT.

2023 Essay Prompt

In what ways have the freedoms we enjoy in America positively impacted your life? What advice would you offer to the next president of the United States for securing these freedoms for future generations? 

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.


Deadline for submission:
August 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
See Submission Guidelines for full instructions. 

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. 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.