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*** The 2016-2017 Young Patriots Essay Contest is now closed. This year’s scholarship winners will be announced early February 2017.  ***


Need money for college?

The National Center for Policy Analysis and Debate Central are happy to announce the 2016-2017 Young Patriots Essay Contest, Sponsored by Copart. Entrants have the opportunity to showcase their writing skills and compete for $9,000 in scholarship money.

The Young Patriots Essay Contest is designed to challenge middle and high school students to creatively engage with public policy and current events through the art of writing. We assign a controversial topic each year, and THREE winners are chosen to receive a scholarship out of hundreds of essay submissions. Find the topic and entry instructions below!


Kevin Young Patriots scholarship award

2014 – 2015  first place contest winner receiving his scholarship award.


The topic for the 2016-2017 scholarship essay contest is:  

“Are international free trade agreements in the best interest of the United States? Why or why not?”

Contest participants have the opportunity to:

  • Earn a college scholarship of up to $5,000.
  • Have your essay published on Debate Central.
  • See your essay posted on the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) home page.
  • Have your essay shared with 200,000 NCPA Policy Patriots via email.
  • Have your winning entry be sent to your hometown newspapers, radio and TV.



Please read the following pieces as you consider the above topic:

The two readings are required. Your submission will be graded in part according to how carefully and thoughtfully you engage with these challenging articles. They are:

Make sure to include a bibliography citing any outside sources you choose to reference.  Incorporating outside research into your writing, although not required, may improve the overall quality of your essay. Your bibliography does not count against your word total.

Entries will be judged on the quality of their writing (style and mechanics), their level of engagement with the topic, and the strength of their reasoning. Essays that make an argument and support it well will out-perform essays that only provide a neutral overview of both sides. Judges will not consider their personal feelings on the topic when evaluating the essays.


 How to Enter:

Please submit your essay using the form below.

Your essay should be written in English and should not exceed 1,200 words.

Your bibliography does NOT count towards your word total.

All essays must be submitted by Sunday, January 1 2017 at 11:00pm CT. No late submissions will be accepted.

See the FAQ below for questions regarding the entry process. If your question is not covered, please leave it in the comment section.

∗∗Please only include your first and last name on the uploaded document. All other personal information will be gathered in the form.∗∗



Young Patriots Submission Frequently Asked Questions


PRIVACY: This scholarship is provided by the National Center for Policy Analysis, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public policy organization. Funding comes from private donors. Any personal information collected from non-winning entries is used only in aggregate to gauge participation statistics, and will never be otherwise distributed. Contest winners must agree to have their name, school, grade level, hometown, and essay made public for site usage, NCPA newsletter, etc. Beyond the initial confirmation message, contest entry will not result in any further communication or solicitation from Debate Central, the NCPA, or contest donors. We will never sell or otherwise distribute your personal information to third parties.


Any questions? Leave them in the comments. We’ll get back to you right away.

Good luck!


  1. Young says:

    Hi. I’m a DoDEA student and my address has the state Asia-Pacific (AP). It is a military address. Does the state I enter matter, or can I put any state down? Thank you!

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