Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contest Rules

Nearly a decade ago, I stumbled across the Atlas Shrugged Scholarship. I had never heard of the author, Ayn Rand, but I needed money for college and this essay contest offered a $10,000 top prize, so I headed to my local library to grab a copy. When I finally located it on a shelf, I could not believe the size of the work – 1075 pages. Whoa! The scholarship deadline was in three weeks, and I seriously doubted my ability to absorb so much material in so little time. Fortunately, the characters in the novel were so compelling that I found it hard to put away and finished it in a matter of days. Although I did not win the scholarship, the novel’s underlying themes stayed with me, challenging what I believed to be essential truths about being human and how one should treat others. Ayn Rand was the creator of Objectivism, a philosophy she described as, ‘…the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.’ Most of her work introduces you to the tenets of this philosophy, but even if you disagree with many of its points, her novels do make you think about your role in the world. Although Rand died in 1982, the Ayn Rand Institute continues to open minds, and doors, for students through its many scholarship programs. Each year, over 600 students receive awards to help further their academic studies, with prizes ranging from $25 to $10,000. Here is a short overview of each program and who is eligible to participate.  

The Fountainhead Essay Contest

Who: High school juniors and seniors Number of Awards: 236 Value: $50 to $10,000 Deadline: April 26

We the Living Essay Contest

Who: High school sophomores, juniors and seniors Number of Awards: 116 Value: $25 to $3,000 Deadline: May 6

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

Who: High school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students Number of Awards: 84 Value: $50 to $10,000 Deadline: September 17

Anthem Essay Contest

Who: 8th, 9th and 10th grade students Number of Awards: 236 Value: $30 to $2,000 Deadline: March 2014 (TBA)

In 1999, HBO® produced a movie, The Passion of Ayn Rand, with Helen Mirren and Eric Stoltz, and Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, is currently being filmed (part III). Those who would like to know more about Rand and her philosophy should visit the Ayn Rand Institute online.

Have you read one of Ayn Rand’s thought-provoking novels? Now’s the time! Enter in Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contest for your chance to win thousands of dollars in cash prizes. The contest is open to worldwide for 8th, 9th or 10th-grade students. ARI has held worldwide essay contests for students on Ayn Rand’s fiction for thirty years. This year they will award over 500 prizes totaling more than $90,000.

Ayn Rand has inspired individuals around the world to discard convention and pursue a better life. They offer an array of educational programs to enable students at all levels of knowledge to learn about Ayn Rand’s philosophy and novels.

Eligibility:

To be considered eligible for the scholarship, the candidates must follow the given criteria:

  • The contest is open to students worldwide, except where void or prohibited by law. Essays must be written in English only.
  • Entrant must be in the 8th, 9th or 10th grade. Verification of school enrollment will be required for all winning entrants.

How to Apply:

To be entering in an essay contest, the candidates must submit an essay in one of the following topics.

  • Equality knows that his invention will benefit mankind greatly. However, this was not his primary motivation in conducting his experiments, and it is not the primary source of the joy and the pride he experiences in his work. What is his primary motivation? Do you think that Equality is right to be motivated in this way? Explain the reasons for your answer. What do you think the world would be like if everyone were motivated in the same way?
  • Politically, Anthem depicts a completely collectivist society. What ideas do the rulers appeal to to justify their collectivist society? What similarities, if any, do you see between these ideas and the ones that you hear around you today? In what way, if any, has your own thinking about such ideas been affected by reading and reflecting upon Anthem? Relate your answer to a speech, “The Soul of a Collectivist,” made by a villain in a different Ayn Rand novel, The Fountainhead.
  • To Prometheus the word “ego” is holy, but today one is usually told that it is wrong to be an egoist. Is Prometheus an egoist? What does this mean? Is it something good or bad? Explain your answer by reference to specific events in Anthem and to speech, “The Soul of an Individualist,” made by the hero of a different Ayn Rand novel, The Fountainhead.

Essay Guidelines:

  • The essay must be no fewer than 600 and no more than 1,200 words in length, double-spaced.
  • Essays must include a stapled cover sheet with the following information:
  1. Your name and address
  2. Your email address (if available)
  3. The name and address of your school
  4. Topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from the “topics” tab)
  5. Your current grade level and
  6. (Optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay if you are completing it for classroom credit.

Submitting Details:

You can submit your essay online through the given link: http://essaycontest.aynrandnovels.org/Anthem.aspx

Or

You can mail your essay with stapled cover sheet to:

Anthem Essay Contest
The Ayn Rand Institute
P.O Box 57044
Irvine, CA 92619-7044

Award Amount:

  • 1st Place: 1 winner will receive $2,000
  • 2nd Place: 5 winners will receive $500 each
  • 3rd Place: 10 winners will receive $200 each
  • Finalists: 45 winners will receive $50 each
  • Semifinalists: 175 winners will receive $30 each

Application Deadline:

The essay must be submitted online or postmarked by March 29, 2017, no later than 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard Time. Winners, finalists, semifinalists and all other participants will be notified via email and/or by mail by August 3, 2017.

Link for More Information:

https://www.aynrand.org/students/essay-contests

Contact Information:

If you have questions regarding the contest, you can write to us at essay-at-aynrand.org.

 

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