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Ayn Rand Essay Scholarship Contest

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.

Ayn Rand offers  an array of educational programs to enable students at all levels of knowledge to learn about Ayn Rand’s philosophy and novels. Ayn Rand was an American novelist and philosopher and the creator of Objectivism, which she called “a philosophy for living on earth.” The essay contest is open to 12th graders, college undergraduates, and graduate students. The contest offers opportunity to learn about Ayn Rand’s philosophy and novels. 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:

In order to participate in the essay contest, entrants must meet the following criteria:

  • No application is required. Contest is open to students worldwide, except where void or prohibited by law. Essays must be written in English only.
  • Entrant must be a 12th-grader, college undergraduate or graduate student at the time of the current contest deadline. Verification of school enrollment will be required for all winning entrants.

How to Apply:

Applicants must write an essay you can choose one of following three topics, Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced.

  • Francisco d’Anconia says that the “words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.” What does he mean? What are today’s prevalent moral attitudes toward money? Do you agree with Francisco’s view? Explain why or why not.
  • Atlas Shrugged is both a celebration of business and a defense of it against widespread attacks. Judging from the novel, as well as from Ayn Rand’s essay “What Is Capitalism?” and her speech America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business,” why does she think business should be defended and championed? What does she think is a proper defense of business, and why?
  • Ragnar Danneskjöld says he loves that which has rarely been loved, namely, human ability. What do you think he means? How does his position relate to the idea: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”? Do you agree or disagree with Ragnar’s attitude? Explain.

Applicants must submit their essay online through the given link:

http://essaycontest.aynrandnovels.org/AtlasShrugged.aspx

Supporting Documents:

  • Your name and address
  • Your email address (if available)
  • The name and address of your school
  • Topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from the “Topics” tab)
  • Your current grade level and
  • (Optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay if you are completing it for classroom credit.

Submitting Details:

You can mail your essay with stapled cover sheet to:

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

Financial Aid and Award Money:     

Award amount for all schools located in the state of California

  • 1st Place: 1 winner will receive $3,000
  • 2nd Place: 2 winners will receive $1,000
  • 3rd Place: 10 winners will receive $500

Award amount for all schools located in the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin

  • 1st Place: 1 winner will receive $2,000
  • Finalist will receive $500

Award amount for all schools located in the state of Colorado

Application Deadline: 

Entries for the essay contest will be submitted by April 28, 2017.

Link for More Information:

https://www.aynrand.org/students/essay-contests#atlasshrugged-1

Contact Information:

If you have any question you can ask at essay-at-aynrand.org.

 

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