Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

AEL Collegiate Essay Contest: Home


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 2021 AEL Collegiate Essay Competition is now closed. The judges are now evaluating the entries, and we anticipate making an announcement about the winners by December 2021. The 2022 competition will go live in the spring.

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 2022 for the 2022 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:
  • 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


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