Editor's note: This article originally appeared in HSLDA's weekly newsletter. Used with permission.

Essay Contest 2012 Guidelines

Submission Dates: October 1 through November 1, 2012

Note: Entries received before October 1 or postmarked after November 1 will be returned or discarded.


This year is a presidential election year, and this has inspired our essay questions. We look forward to your essay responses!

Category 1 (ages 7–10):

Who is your favorite president and why?

Category 2 (age 11–14):

If you were running for president what would be the top three planks in your platform and why?

Category 3 (ages 15–19):

Please pick one pair of presidents listed below to compare and contrast in your essay. We already know they are men over age 35 and from the same political party. We invite you to dig deeper into their lives and presidencies to tell us other interesting—perhaps little-known—facts, compelling anecdotes, and your personal opinion of how these two presidents were similar and dissimilar. Facts can be pretty dry, so we encourage you to use your most engaging writing style to make your essay stand out to the judges.

Option 1: Republican presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower

Option 2: Democratic presidents Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman.


Essays come in many different forms, from descriptive to compare-and-contrast to narrative, etc. For this contest, the essays for categories 1 and 2 are meant to present the writer’s point of view—in a sense, his argument for his opinion.

Category 3 entrants are being asked to write a compare-and-contrast essay. For a brief description of various essay forms, you can visit this website.

We try to choose themes that leave a lot of room for imagination and interpretation, and we want you to come up with your own ideas for your essay.

Our judges love it when students come up with something they had not thought of before.


Category 1: Homeschoolers ages 7 to 10 as of October 1, 2012.

Category 2: Homeschoolers ages 11 to 14 as of October 1, 2012. 

Category 3: Homeschoolers ages 15 to 19 as of October 1, 2012.

  1. Up to two entries per student.
  2. For the purposes of this contest, an eligible student must have been homeschooled and received the majority of his or her education through home education during the past year.
  3. The staff and immediate family members of HSLDA and all related entities (PRO, HSF, etc.) are not eligible to participate in contests sponsored by HSLDA or any of the related entities.

Contest Guidelines

  1. Essays must be completely the work of the student entering the contest. No assistance of other parties, including but not limited to brainstorming, editing, or proof reading, is permissible.
  2. Essays cannot be longer than 700 words.
  3. All essays must be typed double-space on white unlined paper in 12-point Times New Roman font.
  4. The student’s telephone number should be typed on the top of each page. If more than one student from a family is participating in the same category, the number should be followed by a letter to distinguish it from the other students. Example: 540-338-5600A and 540-338-5600B.
  5. The student must fill out an entry form.
  6. Do not type or write the student’s name or any other identifying information other than the phone number on anything other than the cover page.