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Ayn Rand Essay Contests for High School Students

Updated on May 12, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

Earn Money For College

Ayn Rand was an author who lived from 1905 till 1982. Born in Russia, she came to the United States in 1926, and from then on made the U.S. her home. Each year, the Ayn Rand Foundation holds and essay contest for middle school, high school, and college students. The contests are based on four of her most famous books, and there are a variety of prize levels. For anyone who has read these books and feels they have a pretty good understanding of what they are all about, entering these essay contests is a great way to earn money for college. The prizes are cash, though and do not have to be used for college.Unlike college scholarships, there is no need to win over a scholarship committee with merit qualifications, or financial need qualifications.The essay winners will be chosen by their understanding of the book and the answer the provide to the essay question. In the following paragraphs, I will outline each contest and the parameters of it.

For anyone who has read these books and feels they have a pretty good understanding of what they are all about, entering these essay contests is a great way to earn money for college. The prizes are cash, though, and do not have to be used for college.Unlike college scholarships, there is no need to win over a scholarship committee with merit qualifications, or financial need qualifications.The essay winners will be chosen by their understanding of the book and the answer they provide to the essay question. In the following paragraphs, I will outline each contest and the parameters of it.

Here are the general qualifications: Each book has a choice of three essay questions. One of these questions must be chosen and the completed essay can be sent in by mail or email but must include a cover page. All essays must be double-spaced. All essays are judged on style and content. The judges are looking for writing that is clear and concise and shows that the author can demonstrate an impressive understanding of the book.

Essay Contest based on the book, Anthem

Qualifications: Must be in the eighth, ninth or tenth grades. Deadline each year is in March. The essay must be between 600 and 1,200 words. Winners will be notified by the end of July that year.

One first prize: $2,000

Five second prizes: $500

Ten third prizes: $200

Forty-five finalists: $50

175 semifinalists: $30

Essay Contest based on the book We the Living

Qualifications: Must be in the tenth, eleventh or twelfth grades. Deadline is the end of April each year. The essay must be between 700 and 1,500 words. Winners will be notified by the end of July that year.

One first prize: $3,000

Five second prizes: $1,000

Five third prizes: $300

Twenty-five finalists: $50

Eighty semifinalists: $25

Essay contest based on the book The Fountainhead

Qualifications: Must be in the eleventh or twelfth grades. Deadline each year is at the end of April. Essay must be between 800 and 1,600 words. Winners will be notified by the end of July that year.

One first prize: $10,000

Five second prizes: $2,000

Ten third prizes: $1,000

Forty-five finalists: $100

175 semifinalists: $50

Essay contest based on the book Atlas Shrugged

Qualifications: Must be in the twelfth grade, a college undergraduate student, or a graduate student. Deadline each year is in mid-September.. Essay must be between 800 and 1,600 words. Winners will be notified by late November of that year.

One first prize: $10,000

Three second prizes: $2,000

Fuve third prizes: $1,000

Twenty-five finalists: $100

Fifty semifinalists: $50

A Brief History of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand was originally born in Russia in 1905. An intelligent child, she taught herself to read at the age of six and decided she wanted her life's work to be fiction writing by age 9. During her high school years, she observed both the Kerensky and Bolshevik Revolutions.

To escape the fighting she moved with her family to the Crimea to finish high school. She studied history and philosophy at the University of Petrograd and graduated from there in 1924. She then developed an interest in screenwriting and studied that for one year.

She left the Soviet Union on what was supposed to be a short visit to relatives in America in 1925. But Ayn knew when she left that she would never return to the Soviet Union.

After visiting with her relatives for six months in Chicago, she left for Hollywood with the objective to become a screenwriter. She did write some screenplays eventually but her major claim to fame were her three novels, and her philosophy of "objectivism" which she has stated is a philosophy for living on Earth. She has been described as a champion of reason and individualism.

Google the Ayn Rand website to find the official application page and good luck!



© 2012 Karen Hellier

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    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Man From Modesto,

      Really? I had no idea. I will have to do some more research on this.

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 

      6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      One of the guarded secrets about Ayn Rand is that she was a Satanist. A second secret is that Satanists, via the Satanic Bible, have a stated goal to establish a "New World Order" (that is the origin of that term. You can find it on the U.S. $1 bill in Latin as "Novus Ordo Seclorum").

      A third secret needed to understand why this strange book is promoted to youth is this: Satanists publish their plans in books. Several popular sci-fi writers participated in this. One is Arthur C. Clarke, who predicted many of today's technological marvels. Besides introducing them into his books, he listed many tech wonders up to 50 years in advance, and predicted the year each would first appear. He is usually correct within one or two years.

      Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged not of her own idea. She was recruited to write it by other Satanists.

      One of the things promoted in the book is a "philosophy of life". It is the Satanic philosophy. One of the most infamous Satanists, Anton LeVay, said that Satanic philosophy was just Ayn Rand's philosophy from Atlas Shrugged, with a few tweaks.

      And that is why nefarious forces love for the youth to read Atlas Shrugged. They hope that a dark seed will be planted, the seeds that grow tares, not wheat.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      iheartkafka,

      Good. It's nice to know someone else has heard of this. Kids can't win the prize money if they don't write the essay, and even a little bit of money is helpful for college costs.

    • iheartkafka profile image

      iheartkafka 

      6 years ago

      I always encouraged my students to participate in this after reading Anthem; it's such a great opportunity!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Well, I didn't even notice it till you pointed it out! Don't worry, we forgive you!

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 

      6 years ago from Florida

      OMG.. Karen....please excuse the spelling in the above hub comment of... psychiatry and psychology..my fingers were faster than my thoughts...and I should proofread before hitting post...HUBBERS forgive me for the ultimate blunder of a writer....

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      You are most welcome. I hope your grand daughter wins a prize. Ayn Rands seems like quite a woman. I wonder if there's a biography out on her. Sounds like her life story would make a good read. I didn't know much about her personally until I did research for this hub. I only knew about her books and the contest. Thanks for reading.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Karen Hellier...thank you for the heads up Hub on Ayn Rand..I haven't heard her name in years..I turned over the info to my G-daughter who is in college majoring in physchiatry/physcology..hopefully she will take advantage of this info....great research and information...thanks...

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Redberry Sky,

      I didn't know much about her background until I was researching that hub. It does seem like she was an amazing woman. I will have to look for that documentary. I haven't seen it but I am sure it was interesting. Thanks for commenting.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 

      6 years ago

      I saw a documentary on Ayn Rand a few weeks ago - an incredibly intelligent woman with an amazing story behind her. I hope your Hub, and the essay contest itself, encourages more students to find out more about her - she really is fascinating.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      teaches12345,

      So sorry you didn't win, but I am glad your friend did at least. One thing students should remember is that if they don't enter, they have no chance of winning.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I remember our school counselor posting information such as this for students to pursue. I did enter a couple, sorry -- didn't get them. However, my friend did get a scholarship of $500 from one she entered. Your post is a great hub and service to high schoolers!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, what a wonderful story Arline. Sounds encouraging to students who may think that there will be too many people applying to these essays from all over the country to have a shot at winning the Ayn Rand Essay contest. Thanks for reading and responding.

    • profile image

      Arline 

      6 years ago

      Great idea to encourage young writers to enter these contests! Our daughter who liked to write a lot entered and won a Kaplan sponsored "My Turn" essay in 2006, which seems to no longer be available. She thought it was a long shot and was really shocked to get the call. She won a 2nd prize of $1000 ! It was cash and the only mistake I made at the time was having the check made out to me because the person who called confused me about the paperwork / tax situation. In the end it would have been best to have it in the child's name so that it would not be taxed at our rate ~ a tip for any of Karen's readers who find yourself in this lucky situation! A few months later Emily got to meet one of the judges, author Anna Quindlen, who was doing a book reading in a nearby town. We brought along the essay and waited in a long line of fans to have it autographed, but that made it even more memorable.

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