Essay Prompt, Requirements, Eligibility, and Awards


Michael Hakeem Memorial First Place Award: $3,000
Second Place Award: $2,000
Third Place Award: $1,000
Fourth Place Award: $750
Fifth Place Award: $500
Sixth Place Award: $400
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

In addition to their scholarship, winners will receive a school-year membership to FFRF, which includes a subscription to Freethought Today. All other eligible entrants will be offered the choice of a student FFRF membership and Freethought Today subscription, or a freethought book or product.
THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: “My morals do not come from God, they come from . . .”

PROMPT: Write from a personal perspective about your experiences or challenges in the face of persistent stereotypes that atheists and other nonbelievers are not moral. Explain how you're "good without God," why religion is not necessary for morality, and may even be counterproductive. What can be done by you or others to counter negative stereotypes about nonbelievers? Include at least one paragraph about why you are a nonbeliever and contend that there is insufficient evidence for religious claims.

WORD LENGTH: 450-650 words
ELIGIBILITY: Open to ongoing college students in North America (if you are a high school senior going on to college for the first time, you must enter FFRF's high school essay competition). You may still enter the ongoing college contest if you will graduate from college by spring or summer of 2017.

DEADLINE: Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, July 1, 2017.

SUBMISSION RULES: Please fill out online submission form and attach essay. Essay must be typed, double-spaced, standard margins, font size of 11 or 12 point, and attached as a PDF. Your name and the name of your essay must be included on every page. Pages must be numbered. Indicate word length at end of essay. Please choose your own title, do not use the topic of the essay as the title. Do not attach a resume with your essay.

AGREEMENT: By entering the competition, you agree to permit your winning essay to be printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper; announced in a news release; and posted online at FFRF's website. You also agree, if you win an award, to promptly provide FFRF with a photograph of yourself suitable for reproduction with your winning essay.

REQUIREMENTS: Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. Students will be disqualified if they do not follow instructions, including word limit and deadline. FFRF monitors for plagiarism. You may not re-enter the same contest for your student status if FFRF has previously awarded you for an essay in that contest, e.g., if you have previously won an award in FFRF's college essay contest, you may not re-enter the college competition. If you have entered but not won, you may submit another essay in the same contest in the future.
Report a problem