Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has greatly expanded its role in international security. Major conflicts have been waged in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, and more. Defense guarantees have been extended to more than a dozen additional nations. The War on Terror, now in its seventeenth year, involves seventy-six countries. There are some eight hundred overseas military bases, costing taxpayers an estimated $100 billion per year even as the national debt grows.
Proponents argue that these extensive global security commitments are essential to America’s own safety. Are they right? If they are, is each and every current commitment worth the costs and risks? Questions like these deserve serious consideration. Accordingly, the John Quincy Adams Society is partnering with The National Interest—one of Washington’s most important foreign-policy magazines—to launch a new essay contest for college students. The winners will run in TNI, meaning they’ll be read by many of those who make the decisions and shape the discussions that set our country’s course in the world. By appearing in such a respected forum, you’ll help make a name for yourself as a thoughtful, professional voice in international affairs.
It’s a tremendous opportunity to restore balance to the discourse in DC—and to build your own personal brand. Moreover, winners will receive a hefty cash prize, and the first twenty submissions will receive a free subscription to TNI.
With this in mind, submissions shall answer the following question:
In what area of the world could the United States reduce its military involvement? Explain your reasoning.
Submit your entry here.
Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students who will be attending institutions in the United States in Fall 2018 or who attended in Spring 2018 are welcome to participate.
The winning essays will run on TNI’s website and be promoted on social media by both TNI and JQA.
Prizes are as follows:
– First prize (one): $1000, essay featured on TNI, two year subscription to TNI
– Runner up (two): $250, essay featured on TNI, one year subscription to TNI
Additionally, the first twenty submissions will receive a free one-year subscription to the National Interest.
If you’re stuck, consider reading some of the articles in the Intellectual Development section of the Society’s Resources page.
Submissions shall be between 900 and 1500 words, and are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, April 8, 2018, by following the instructions at this link. Sources should be hyperlinked, rather than footnoted, when possible. Complete rules follow.
Student Foreign Policy Essay CONTEST RULES
1. SPONSOR: The sponsor of the Student Foreign Policy Essay Contest is the John Quincy Adams Society.
2. ELIGIBILITY: Contest entrants must be legal residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia aged eighteen years or older, except where prohibited. Employees, officers, and directors of the sponsor, and its subsidiaries, affiliates, and divisions (“Related Entities”) and their immediate families (parents, children, siblings and their spouses) and household members (whether or not related) of each are not eligible to enter. Anyone serving as a contest judge is ineligible for the contest. The contest is void outside the fifty United States, the District of Columbia and where prohibited and restricted by any federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation (“Law”). The contest is subject to all Law.
3. HOW TO ENTER: The contest begins on February 26, 2018 at 12 p.m. EST and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST, Sunday, April 8, 2018. This time frame is known as the “contest period.” To be eligible for the contest, you must:
– Before the end of the contest period, go to the contest entry page at this link, and submit an essay between 900 and 1500 words in length on the topic of “the benefits of a more restrained, careful foreign policy for the United States.”
To be eligible to submit a contest entry, you must be enrolled as of the spring of 2018 or fall of 2018 in an accredited postsecondary institution or program listed in the U.S. Department of Education’s most recent database (http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/GetDownLoadFile.aspx). No person may submit more than one contest entry. Attempting to submit multiple contest entries will result in your disqualification from the contest. Your participation in the contest is optional and at your sole and absolute discretion.
4. PROHIBITED CONTENT: By entering the contest you agree not to create or submit a contest entry that:
– Infringes on any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, or other proprietary or property rights of any party;
– May be deemed, within the meaning of Law, to be electioneering communications, intervention in a political or electoral campaign, or lobbying;
– Is unlawful, threatening, harassing, abusive, obscene, vulgar, harmful, tortious, defamatory, libelous, false, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful racially, ethnically, or otherwise, or in any other way objectionable;
– You do not have the legal or contractual right to make available pursuant to any Law, or under any contractual or fiduciary relationship (such as inside information, proprietary information, and confidential information, learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements);
– Harms minors in any way; or
– Violates any Law, intentionally or unintentionally.
The sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any and all contest entries that violate the above conditions, or for any other reason at any time without prior notice.
5. JUDGING AND SELECTION OF PRIZE WINNERS: All contest entries will be judged based on the following criteria:
– Originality in thought (30 percent)
– Demonstrated understanding of foreign policy (40 percent)
– Composition and style (30 percent)
6. PRIZES: On or about June 99, 2018, three prize winners will be announced (the “Prize Winners”). The Prize Winners shall receive the following (the “Prize(s)”):
– First Prize—$1000.00, two years’ subscription to The National Interest
– Runners Up (two)—$250.00, one year subscription to The National Interest
All Prizes will be paid in United States Dollars. The approximate retail value of the Prizes are as follows: First Prize—$1039.95; Runner Up—$279.95. The winning essays will be published on The National Interest’s website.
7. PRIZE RESTRICTIONS: The specifics of all elements of the Prizes stated in these contest rules shall be determined by sponsor in its sole and absolute discretion. If an alternate prize is substituted and awarded: any portion of the alternate prize not used by any Prize Winner is forfeited and no substitute will be offered or permitted; all elements of the Prize being offered are: (a) provided “as is” with no warranty or guarantee either express or implied by sponsor; (b) without warranty other than that offered by servicers or as required by Law; (c) provided without making the sponsor responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the Prize, including but not limited to their quality or fitness for a particular purpose; and (d) if applicable, not transferable or redeemable for cash and may not be extended, transferred or substituted, except that the sponsor may substitute a prize of equal or greater value when necessary (not to exceed $1039.95 for the First Prize or $279.95 for the Runner Up), as determined in its sole and absolute discretion (any such changes will be announced at the sole and absolute discretion of the sponsor). Each Prize Winner assumes sole responsibility for all costs associated with any elements of the Prize not explicitly included as part of the Prize, including without limitation, all federal, state and local taxes (if any), fees, surcharges, or other expenses. Other restrictions may apply. In compliance with United States Internal Revenue Service regulations, the sponsor will send a Form 1099-MISC to any Prize Winner, which requires disclosure to the sponsor of the Prize Winner’s Social Security number. Prize Winners remain solely responsible for paying all federal and other taxes in accordance with Laws that apply in the Prize Winner’s state of residence.
8. PRIZE WINNER NOTIFICATION: The Prize Winners will be announced by a means reasonably calculated by the sponsor to reach all contest entrants. Following the announcement of the Prize Winners, the individuals selected as the Prize Winners will be notified via email or telephone within three days from the date of selection by the sponsor based on the information provided by that person on his or her entry form. The Prize Winners will be required to complete, sign, and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability Release, and Publicity Release (the “Winners Affidavit”) within fourteen days of the date the sponsor provides a Prize Winner the notification email or call. If a Prize Winner fails to satisfy any eligibility requirements, declines to accept the Prize, or is ineligible for any other reason, the Prize Winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may be selected at the sole and absolute discretion of the sponsor. Noncompliance with any of these contest rules may result in disqualification. The sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent communications made by third parties to contest entrants or the Prize Winners. A Prize Winner is not an official winner until the Prize Winner returns the Winner’s Affidavit and eligibility has otherwise been formally verified by the sponsor.
9. OWNERSHIP OF YOUR CONTEST ENTRY: By submitting your contest entry you hereby relinquish, grant, transfer, assign, and deliver to the sponsor all right, title, and interest of every kind and nature whatsoever that you have in the essay you write as part of your contest entry, including the copyright and all other intellectual property rights thereto. As a condition of receiving your prize, you may be required to execute additional documentation such as copyright assignments to sponsor of your contest essay. In addition, you hereby irrevocably assign to the sponsor all causes of action, including accrued, existing, and future causes of action, arising out of or related to the rights, including copyrights, in and to the essay you write as part of your contest entry.
10. DISPUTES: By participating, entrants release sponsor and its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, and their members, directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and all liability with respect to all aspects of the contest including all losses, damage or bodily injury resulting from participation in this contest, and the possession, acceptance, or misuse of prizes. By entering the contest, you agree that (a) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected to the contest or the prize, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the contest but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and you hereby waive all rights to, any claim; punitive, incidental, or consequential damages; and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of these contest rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrants and sponsor in connection with the contest, shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Virginia without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the Commonwealth of Virginia. Any legal proceedings arising out of this contest or relating to these contest rules shall be instituted only in the federal courts located in the Eastern District of Virginia, and the parties consent to jurisdiction therein with respect to any legal proceedings or disputes of whatever nature arising under or relating to these contest rules. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these contest rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these contest rules shall otherwise remain in effect and be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained in these contest rules.
11. INTERNET: If for any reason this contest is not capable of running as planned due to an infection by a computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the sponsor that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this contest, the sponsor reserves the right at its sole and absolute discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest. The sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, or theft, destruction, or unauthorized access to or alteration of entries. The sponsor is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of any telephone network or telephone lines, computer online systems, servers, or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email or entry to be received by the sponsor due to technical problems, human error or traffic congestion on the internet or at any website, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to your or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participating in this contest or downloading any materials in this contest. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Uses of automated devices are not valid for entry.
13.GENERAL: By entering this contest or accepting the Prize, you (a) agree to be bound by the sponsor’s policies, these contest rules, and the decisions of sponsor which are final and binding in all respects; and (b) consent to the use of your name, voice, picture, and likeness for charitable, educational, advertising, and promotional purposes in any medium throughout the world in perpetuity without additional compensation unless prohibited by law. The sponsor reserves the right to correct typographical, clerical, or printing errors in any contest materials. The sponsor reserves the right to prohibit any person from participating in the contest if, at its sole and absolute discretion, the sponsor finds such person to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the contest, or if such participant repeatedly shows a disregard for or attempts to circumvent these contest rules, or acts: (x) in a manner the sponsor determines to be not fair or equitable; (y) with an intent to annoy, threaten, or harass any other entrant, the sponsor, or related entities; or (z) in any other disruptive manner. The sponsor reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest at its sole and absolute discretion.
14. WINNERS’ LIST/CONTEST RULES: To request an official prize winners list or a copy of these contest rules, both available through September 1, 2018, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample Scholarship Essays
If you’re applying for a scholarship, chances are you are going to need to write an essay. Very few scholarship programs are based solely on an application form or transcript. The essay is often the most important part of your application; it gives the scholarship committee a sense of who you are and your dedication to your goals. You’ll want to make sure that your scholarship essay is the best it can possibly be.
Unless specified otherwise, scholarship essays should always use the following formatting:
- Double spaced
- Times New Roman font
- 12 point font
- One-inch top, bottom, and side margins
Other useful tips to keep in mind include:
- Read the instructions thoroughly and make sure you completely understand them before you start writing.
- Think about what you are going to write and organize your thoughts into an outline.
- Write your essay by elaborating on each point you included in your outline.
- Use clear, concise, and simple language throughout your essay.
- When you are finished, read the question again and then read your essay to make sure that the essay addresses every point.
For more tips on writing a scholarship essay, check out our Eight Steps Towards a Better Scholarship Essay .
The Book that Made Me a Journalist
Prompt: Describe a book that made a lasting impression on you and your life and why.It is 6 am on a hot day in July and I’ve already showered and eaten breakfast. I know that my classmates are all sleeping in and enjoying their summer break, but I don’t envy them; I’m excited to start my day interning with a local newspaper doing investigative journalism. I work a typical 8-5 day during my summer vacation and despite the early mornings, nothing has made me happier. Although it wasn't clear to me then, looking back on my high school experiences and everything that led to me to this internship, I believe this path began with a particularly savvy teacher and a little book she gave me to read outside of class.
I was taking a composition class, and we were learning how to write persuasive essays. Up until that point, I had had average grades, but I was always a good writer and my teacher immediately recognized this. The first paper I wrote for the class was about my experience going to an Indian reservation located near my uncle's ranch in southwest Colorado. I wrote of the severe poverty experienced by the people on the reservation, and the lack of access to voting booths during the most recent election. After reading this short story, my teacher approached me and asked about my future plans. No one had ever asked me this, and I wasn't sure how to answer. I said I liked writing and I liked thinking about people who are different from myself. She gave me a book and told me that if I had time to read it, she thought it would be something I would enjoy. I was actually quite surprised that a high school teacher was giving me a book titled Lies My Teacher Told Me. It had never occurred to me that teachers would lie to students. The title intrigued me so much that on Friday night I found myself staying up almost all night reading, instead of going out with friends.
In short, the book discusses several instances in which typical American history classes do not tell the whole story. For example, the author addresses the way that American history classes do not usually address about the Vietnam War, even though it happened only a short time ago. This made me realize that we hadn't discussed the Vietnam War in my own history class! The book taught me that, like my story of the Indian reservation, there are always more stories beyond what we see on the surface and what we’re taught in school. I was inspired to continue to tell these stories and to make that my career.
For my next article for the class, I wrote about the practice of my own high school suspending students, sometimes indefinitely, for seemingly minor offenses such as tardiness and smoking. I found that the number of suspensions had increased by 200% at my school in just three years, and also discovered that students who are suspended after only one offense often drop out and some later end up in prison. The article caused quite a stir. The administration of my school dismissed it, but it caught the attention of my local newspaper. A local journalist worked with me to publish an updated and more thoroughly researched version of my article in the local newspaper. The article forced the school board to revisit their “zero tolerance” policy as well as reinstate some indefinitely suspended students.I won no favors with the administration and it was a difficult time for me, but it was also thrilling to see how one article can have such a direct effect on people’s lives. It reaffirmed my commitment to a career in journalism.
This is why I’m applying for this scholarship. Your organization has been providing young aspiring journalists with funds to further their skills and work to uncover the untold stories in our communities that need to be reported. I share your organization’s vision of working towards a more just and equitable world by uncovering stories of abuse of power. I have already demonstrated this commitment through my writing in high school and I look forward to pursuing a BA in this field at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. With your help, I will hone my natural instincts and inherent writing skills. I will become a better and more persuasive writer and I will learn the ethics of professional journalism.
I sincerely appreciate the committee’s time in evaluating my application and giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts
|Do:||Follow the prompt and other instructions exactly. You might write a great essay but it may get your application rejected if you don’t follow the word count guidelines or other formatting requirements.|
|DON'T:||Open your essay with a quote. This is a well-worn strategy that is mostly used ineffectively. Instead of using someone else’s words, use your own.|
|DON'T:||Use perfunctory sentences such as, “In this essay, I will…”|
|DO:||Be clear and concise. Make sure each paragraph discusses only one central thought or argument.|
|DON'T:||Use words from a thesaurus that are new to you. You may end up using the word incorrectly and that will make your writing awkward. Keep it simple and straightforward. The point of the essay is to tell your story, not to demonstrate how many words you know.|
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Planners and Searchers
Prompt: In 600 words or less, please tell us about yourself and why you are applying for this scholarship. Please be clear about how this scholarship will help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
Being African, I recognize Africa’s need for home- grown talent in the form of “planners” (assistants with possible solutions) and “searchers” (those with desperate need) working towards international development. I represent both. Coming from Zimbabwe my greatest challenge is in helping to improve the livelihoods of developing nations through sustainable development and good governance principles. The need for policy-makers capable of employing cross-jurisdictional, and cross- disciplinary strategies to solve complex challenges cannot be under-emphasized; hence my application to this scholarship program.
After graduating from Africa University with an Honors degree in Sociology and Psychology, I am now seeking scholarship support to study in the United States at the Master’s level. My interest in democracy, elections, constitutionalism and development stems from my lasting interest in public policy issues. Accordingly, my current research interests in democracy and ethnic diversity require a deeper understanding of legal processes of constitutionalism and governance. As a Master’s student in the US, I intend to write articles on these subjects from the perspective of someone born, raised, and educated in Africa. I will bring a unique and much-needed perspective to my graduate program in the United States, and I will take the technical and theoretical knowledge from my graduate program back with me to Africa to further my career goals as a practitioner of good governance and community development.
To augment my theoretical understanding of governance and democratic practices, I worked with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) as a Programs Assistant in the Monitoring and Observation department. This not only enhanced my project management skills, but also developed my skills in research and producing communication materials. ZESN is Zimbabwe’s biggest election observation organization, and I had the responsibility of monitoring the political environment and producing monthly publications on human rights issues and electoral processes. These publications were disseminated to various civil society organizations, donors and other stakeholders. Now I intend to develop my career in order to enhance Africa’s capacity to advocate, write and vote for representative constitutions.
I also participated in a fellowship program at Africa University, where I gained greater insight into social development by teaching courses on entrepreneurship, free market economics, and development in needy communities. I worked with women in rural areas of Zimbabwe to setup income-generating projects such as the jatropha soap-making project. Managing such a project gave me great insight into how many simple initiatives can transform lives.
Your organization has a history of awarding scholarships to promising young students from the developing world in order to bring knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. I have already done some of this work but I want to continue, and with your assistance, I can. The multidisciplinary focus of the development programs I am applying to in the US will provide me with the necessary skills to creatively address the economic and social development challenges and develop sound public policies for Third World countries. I thank you for your time and consideration for this prestigious award.
Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts
|DO:||Research the organization and make sure you understand their mission and values and incorporate them into your essay.|
|DO:||Focus on your strengths and turn in any problems or weaknesses into a success story.|
|DO:||Use actual, detailed examples from your own life to backup your claims and arguments as to why you should receive the scholarship.|
|DO:||Proofread several times before finally submitting your essay.|
|DON'T:||Rehash what is already stated on your resume. Choose additional, unique stories to tell sell yourself to the scholarship committee.|
|DON'T:||Simply state that you need the money. Even if you have severe financial need, it won’t help to simply ask for the money and it may come off as tacky.|
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Saving the Manatees
Prompt: Please give the committee an idea of who you are and why you are the perfect candidate for the scholarship.
It is a cliché to say that I’ve always known what I want to do with my life, but in my case it happens to be true. When I first visited Sea World as a young child, I fell in love with marine animals in general. Specifically, I felt drawn to manatees. I was compelled by their placid and friendly nature. I knew then and there that I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting these beautiful creatures.
Since that day in Orlando, I have spent much of my spare time learning everything there is to know about manatees. As a junior high and high school student, I attempted to read scholarly articles on manatees from scientific journals. I annoyed my friends and family with scientific facts about manatees-- such as that they are close relatives of elephants--at the dinner table. I watched documentaries, and even mapped their migration pattern on a wall map my sister gave me for my birthday.
When I was chosen from hundreds of applicants to take part in a summer internship with Sea World, I fell even more in love with these gentle giants. I also learned a very important and valuable lesson: prior to this internship, I had imagined becoming a marine biologist, working directly with the animals in their care both in captivity and in the wild. However, during the internship, I discovered that this is not where my strengths lie. Unfortunately, I am not a strong student in science or math, which are required skills to become a marine biologist. Although this was a disheartening realization, I found that I possess other strengths can still be of great value to manatees and other endangered marine mammals: my skills as a public relations manager and communicator. During the internship, I helped write new lessons and presentations for elementary school groups visiting the park and developed a series of fun activities for children to help them learn more about manatees as well as conservation of endangered species in general. I also worked directly with the park’s conservation and communication director, and helped develop a new local outreach program designed to educate Floridians on how to avoid hitting a manatee when boating. My supervisor recommended me to the Save the Manatee Foundation so in addition to my full-time internship at Sea World, I interned with the Save the Manatee Foundation part-time. It was there that I witnessed the manatee rescue and conservation effort first hand, and worked directly with the marine biologists in developing fund-raising and awareness-raising campaigns. I found that the foundation’s social media presence was lacking, and, using skills I learned from Sea World, I helped them raise over $5,000 through a Twitter challenge, which we linked to the various social media outlets of the World Wildlife Federation.
While I know that your organization typically awards scholarships to students planning to major in disciplines directly related to conservation such as environmental studies or zoology, I feel that the public relations side of conservation is just as important as the actual work done on the ground. Whether it is reducing one’s carbon footprint, or saving the manatees, these are efforts that, in order to be successful, must involve the larger public. In fact, the relative success of the environmental movement today is largely due to a massive global public relations campaign that turned environmentalism from something scientific and obscure into something that is both fashionable and accessible to just about anyone. However, that success is being challenged more than ever before--especially here in the US, where an equally strong anti-environmental public relations campaign has taken hold. Therefore, conservationists need to start getting more creative.
I want to be a part of this renewed effort and use my natural abilities as a communicator to push back against the rather formidable forces behind the anti-environmentalist movement. I sincerely hope you will consider supporting this non-traditional avenue towards global sustainability and conservation. I have already been accepted to one of the most prestigious communications undergraduate programs in the country and I plan to minor in environmental studies. In addition, I maintain a relationship with my former supervisors at Save the Manatee and Sea World, who will be invaluable resources for finding employment upon graduation. I thank the committee for thinking outside the box in considering my application.
Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts
|DO:||Tell a story. Discuss your personal history and why those experiences have led you to apply for these scholarships.|
|DO:||Write an outline. If you’ve already started writing or have a first draft, make an outline based on what you’ve written so far. This will help you see whether your paragraphs flow and connect with one another.|
|DON'T:||Write a generic essay for every application. Adapt your personal statement for each individual scholarship application.|
|DO:||Run spellcheck and grammar check on your computer but also do your own personal check. Spellcheck isn’t perfect and you shouldn't rely on technology to make your essay perfect.|
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