PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Have you ever read one of Ayn Rand’s thought-provoking novels? Now’s the time! Enter an Ayn Rand Institute essay contest and you’ll have a chance to win thousands of dollars in scholarship prize money.

ARI has been holding worldwide essay contests based on Ayn Rand’s fiction since 1985, and has awarded $2 million in total prize money! This year we will award more than $50,000 to student winners.

Recordings from reading groups on Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are now available.

Questions? Write to us at [email protected].

Plus! Sign up for updates on contest deadlines and tips on how to write a stronger essay.

 

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COMPARING ANTHEM AND THE FOUNTAINHEAD

Subjects of our two most popular essay contests

CONTEST DETAILS

Eligibility for Anthem

8th – 12th GRADE


Entry Deadline

APRIL 29, 2021

  • 1ST PLACE
    $2,000
    1 Winner
  • 2ND PLACE
    $250
    3 Winners
  • 3RD PLACE
    $100
    5 Winners

SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE TOPICS:

  • In the society of Anthem, individuals are persecuted for their pursuit of knowledge. Why do you think this is? What lessons can be drawn from Anthem about how we should think about the pursuit of knowledge in our world today, especially in the face of social opposition?
  • In what ways do you think people should be more like Equality 7-2521? In your answer, give examples of Equality’s actions, character, or attitude that you think are good or admirable. Using experiences from your own life, explain why you think these actions or traits are good and worth emulating.
  • The people in the society of Anthem are taught to live by certain principles concerning what is good and evil, right and wrong. Do you think those who adhere to these principles are happy or unhappy? What lessons do you draw from this about how we should think about morality today?

CRITERIA

Essays will be judged on whether the student is able to argue for and justify his or her view—not on whether the Institute agrees with the view the student expresses. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophical meaning of Anthem.

REQUIREMENTS

  • 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 in the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade for any part of the school year in which the contest is held. ARI reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule, on a case-by-case basis, for international students or for students with nonstandard school years.
  • Essays must be submitted electronically through the online portal. If you are unable to submit an essay electronically contact us at [email protected]
  • Essay must be no fewer than 600 and no more than 1,200 words in length, double-spaced. Spelling errors and/or written corrections (by anyone) found on the essay will count against the final grade and should be omitted before submission.
  • One entry per student per contest.
  • Essay must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time of the entry deadline.
  • The Ayn Rand Institute has the right to provide contest deadline extensions when deemed appropriate.
  • Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third-party rights or intellectual property of any person, company or organization. By submitting an essay to this contest, the entrant agrees to indemnify the Ayn Rand Institute for any claim, demand, judgment or other allegation arising from possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright or other legally protected interest in any way in the entrant’s essay.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.
  • Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest, but may enter other contests if they meet the eligibility requirements of those contests.
  • All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned. Essays may be reproduced on our website and/or shared with third parties for purposes of marketing the contest.
  • Winners, finalists and all other participants will be notified via email and/or by mail, typically by July.
  • Winners are responsible for providing their mailing addresses and other necessary information under the law in order to receive any prizes. Contest winners agree to allow the Ayn Rand Institute to post their names on any of ARI’s affiliated websites. The first-place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author.
  • Winners consent to participate in interviews and allow ARI to use quotes and take photographs or make movies or videotapes of them.
  • Winners also grant to the Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism the right to edit, use and reuse said products for nonprofit purposes, including use in print, on the internet and all other forms of media.
  • Winners release the Ayn Rand Institute and its agents and employees from all claims, demands, and liabilities whatsoever, regarding the above.
  • Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.

Protected by Ithenticate Plagiarism Detection Software

ADVICE ON YOUR ESSAY SUBMISSION

Other than endorsing perfect punctuation and grammar in English, the Ayn Rand Institute offers no advice or feedback on contest essays.

The following links are recommended to improve your essay content:

To submit an essay electronically, please complete the steps below:

  1. Click the “Submit your essay online” button below.
  2. You’ll be taken to our Education Programs online portal. Once there, either create an account or login using your existing user name and password.
  3. Once you’ve accessed the portal, complete the eligibility quiz, identifying yourself as a Student/Non-Educator.
  4. Next, click on the “View Programs” button.
  5. Create a submission for the Anthem essay contest.
  6. Complete the application form.

SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

Entrants are responsible for keeping copies of their essays, as duplicate copies will not be provided. If submitting your essay electronically, you will be sent an email confirming our receipt. If you have not received an email notification within 24 hours, please email [email protected].

Eligibility for The Fountainhead

11th and 12th GRADE


Entry Deadline

APRIL 29, 2021

  • 1ST PLACE
    $5,000
    1 Winner
  • 2ND PLACE
    $1,000
    3 Winners
  • 3RD PLACE
    $500
    5 Winners

SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE TOPICS:

  • Describe a situation in your own life when you faced a conflict between doing what you truly thought would advance your own goals in life, and doing what was approved of by society. What do you think Roark would decide to do in such a situation? What would Keating decide? Explain your answers by citing scenes from The Fountainhead. What decision did you make, and how would you compare it to Roark’s and Keating’s likely decision?
  • In an editorial defending Roark, Wynand writes: “It is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed. It is the unsacrificed self that we must respect in man above all.” What does The Fountainhead have to say about what it means to actually have a “self”? Illustrate by giving examples of major and minor characters who are described in ways that suggest that they either have or lack a self.
  • The novel opens with the line “Howard Roark laughed.” What things does Roark laugh at in this scene, and in other scenes? Give a few examples from the book. Later in a scene with Keating, Toohey reveals that part of his method is to “kill by laughter.” What things does Toohey laugh at? Give a few examples. What is different about the things Roark and Toohey laugh at? Explain how the contrast reflects wider themes in the novel.

CRITERIA

Essays will be judged on whether the student is able to argue for and justify his or her view—not on whether the Institute agrees with the view the student expresses. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophical meaning of The Fountainhead.

REQUIREMENTS

  • 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 in the 11th or 12th grade for any part of the school year in which the contest is held. ARI reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule, on a case-by-case basis, for international students or for students with nonstandard school years.
  • Essays must be submitted electronically through the online portal. If you are unable to submit an essay electronically contact us at [email protected]
  • Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced. Spelling errors and/or written corrections (by anyone) found on the essay will count against the final grade and should be omitted before submission.
  • One entry per student per contest.
  • Essay must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time of the entry deadline.
  • The Ayn Rand Institute has the right to provide contest deadline extensions when deemed appropriate.
  • Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third-party rights or intellectual property of any person, company or organization. By submitting an essay to this contest, the entrant agrees to indemnify the Ayn Rand Institute for any claim, demand, judgment or other allegation arising from possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright or other legally protected interest in any way in the entrant’s essay.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.
  • Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.
  • All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned. Essays may be reproduced on our website and/or shared with third parties for purposes of marketing the contest.
  • Winners, finalists and all other participants will be notified via email and/or by mail, typically by July.
  • Winners are responsible for providing their mailing addresses and other necessary information under the law in order to receive any prizes. Contest winners agree to allow the Ayn Rand Institute to post their names on any of ARI’s affiliated websites. The first-place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author.
  • Winners consent to participate in interviews and allow ARI to use quotes and take photographs or make movies or videotapes of them.
  • Winners also grant to the Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism the right to edit, use and reuse said products for nonprofit purposes, including use in print, on the internet and all other forms of media.
  • Winners release the Ayn Rand Institute and its agents and employees from all claims, demands, and liabilities whatsoever regarding the above.
  • Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.

Protected by Ithenticate Plagiarism Detection Software

ADVICE ON YOUR ESSAY SUBMISSION

Other than endorsing perfect punctuation and grammar in English, the Ayn Rand Institute offers no advice or feedback on contest essays.

The following links are recommended to improve your essay content:

To submit an essay electronically, please complete the steps below:

  1. Click the “Submit your essay online” button below.
  2. You’ll be taken to our Education Programs online portal. Once there, either create an account or login using your existing user name and password.
  3. Once you’ve accessed the portal, complete the eligibility quiz, identifying yourself as a Student/Non-Educator.
  4. Next, click on the “View Programs” button.
  5. Create a submission for the The Fountainhead essay contest.
  6. Complete the application form.

SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

Entrants are responsible for keeping copies of their essays, as duplicate copies will not be provided. If submitting your essay electronically, you will be sent an email confirming our receipt. If you have not received an email notification within 24 hours, please email [email protected].

Eligibility for Atlas Shrugged

12th-Graders, College Undergraduates and Graduate Students


Entry Deadline:

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

  • 1ST PLACE
    $25,000
    1 Winner
  • 2ND PLACE
    $2,500
    3 Winners
  • 3RD PLACE
    $500
    5 Winners
  • FINALIST
    $100
    50 Winners

We are offering all students who intend to enter the 2020 Atlas Shrugged essay contest a free eBook copy of the novel. You may request a copy here.


SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE TOPICS:

  • The covers of many editions of Atlas Shrugged describe it as “a mystery story, not about the murder of man’s body, but about the murder—and rebirth—of man’s spirit.” Choose three of the most significant mysteries you encounter in Part I of the novel and explain what you think are the solutions to each. For each one, how does it relate to “the murder—and rebirth—of man’s spirit”?
  • Atlas Shrugged tells the story of what happens to a society when its most productive members go missing. Where  today can a similar situation be found? Select a well-known situation that has made international headlines. Explain what you understand to be both the cause and the effect of the situation. In what ways are the circumstances similar to the story of Atlas Shrugged? In what ways are they different?
  • James says to Cherryl: “I don’t want to be loved for anything. I want to be loved for myself not for anything I do or have or say or think.” What does James mean by this? What do Cherryl’s responses to James suggest her view of love to be? What is your view? How does this issue relate to the wider themes of the novel?

SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

CRITERIA

Essays will be judged on whether the student is able to argue for and justify his or her view—not on whether the Institute agrees with the view the student expresses. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophical meaning of Atlas Shrugged.

REQUIREMENTS

  • 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 for any part of the school year in which the contest is held. ARI reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule, on a case-by-case basis, for international students or for students with nonstandard school years.
  • To avoid disqualification, mailed-in essays must include a stapled cover sheet with the following information:
    1. your name and address;
    2. your email address (if available);
    3. the name and address of your school;
    4. topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from the “Topics” tab);
    5. your current grade level; and
    6. (optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay if you are completing it for classroom credit.
  • Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced. Spelling errors and/or written corrections (by anyone) found on the essay will count against the final grade and should be omitted before submission.
  • One entry per student per contest.
  • Essay must be submitted online or postmarked by September 21, 2020, no later than 11:59 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.
  • The Ayn Rand Institute has the right to provide contest deadline extensions when deemed appropriate.
  • Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third-party rights or intellectual property of any person, company or organization. By submitting an essay to this contest, the entrant agrees to indemnify the Ayn Rand Institute for any claim, demand, judgment or other allegation arising from possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright or other legally protected interest in any way in the entrant’s essay.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.
  • Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.
  • All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned. Essays may be reproduced on our website and/or shared with third parties for purposes of marketing the contest.
  • Winners, finalists and all other participants will be notified via email and/or by mail typically by January 2021.
  • Winners are responsible for providing their mailing addresses and other necessary information under the law in order to receive any prizes. Contest winners agree to allow the Ayn Rand Institute to post their names on any of ARI’s affiliated websites. The first-place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author.
  • Winners consent to participate in interviews and allow ARI to use quotes and take photographs and make movies or videotapes of them.
  • Winners also grant to the Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism the right to edit, use and reuse said products for nonprofit purposes including use in print, on the internet and all other forms of media.
  • Winners release the Ayn Rand Institute and its agents and employees from all claims, demands, and liabilities whatsoever regarding the above.
  • Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.

Protected by IThenticate Plagiarism Detection Software

ADVICE ON YOUR ESSAY SUBMISSION

Other than endorsing perfect punctuation and grammar in English, the Ayn Rand Institute offers no advice or feedback on contest essays.

The following links are recommended to improve your essay content:

To submit an essay electronically, please complete the steps below:

  1. Click the “Submit your essay online” button below.
  2. You’ll be taken to our Education Programs online portal. Once there, either create an account or login using your existing username and password.
  3. Once you’ve accessed the portal, complete the eligibility quiz, identifying yourself as a Student/Non-Educator.
  4. Next, click on the “View Programs” button.
  5. Create a submission for the Atlas Shrugged essay contest.
  6. Complete the application form.

 

SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

Or mail your essay with a stapled cover sheet to:

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

Please do not submit duplicate essays!

Entrants are responsible for keeping copies of their essays, as duplicate copies will not be provided. If submitting your essay electronically, you will be sent an email confirming our receipt. If you have not received an email notification within 24 hours, please email [email protected]. If you are submitting by mail, please paperclip a stamped, self-addressed postcard to your essay, and we will return it to you with essay receipt confirmation.

PAST WINNERS

Winner
ANTHEM 8TH-10TH GRADE
GEORGIA MIRICA
American International School of Bucharest
Read The Essay
See All Winners
Winner
ANTHEM 11TH-12TH GRADE
ASHLEY YUEN
Irvine High School
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Winner
THE FOUNTAINHEAD
CORA USURELU
Thornhill Secondary School
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See All Winners
Winner
ANTHEM 8TH–10TH GRADE
MADELEINE PRESCOTT
Technical Senior High School
Read The Essay
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Winner
ANTHEM 11TH–12TH GRADE
CYNTHIA LU
Belmont High School
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See All Winners
Winner
THE FOUNTAINHEAD
JITAE YOU
Shepherd International Education
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Winner
ATLAS SHRUGGED
Sam Weaver
St. John's College
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Winner
ANTHEM
KATRICE WASGATT
Towle Institute
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Winner
THE FOUNTAINHEAD
LUCAS PRINGLE
Repton School
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Winner
ATLAS SHRUGGED
PATRICK MAYLES
Universidad Nacional de Colombia
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Winner
ANTHEM
ELISABETH SCHLOSSEL
The Spence School
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Winner
THE FOUNTAINHEAD
ADELINA FENDRINA
High School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics “Dobri Chintulov”
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Winner
ATLAS SHRUGGED
CHRISTINA JEONG
University of Notre Dame
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See All Winners

FAQ

I'M A HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENT, SO CAN I STILL ENTER THE CONTEST?

Yes! Homeschooled students may enter our essay contests. Please enter the contest for your current grade level. Instead of writing your school name and address on your coversheet, just write “Homeschooled.” If you’re not sure which contest you’re eligible for, please write to the Education Department at [email protected].

I'M A FOREIGN STUDENT, SO CAN I STILL ENTER THE CONTEST?

Yes! Foreign students may enter our essay contests, except where void or prohibited by law. We have no citizenship requirements. Please enter the contest for your current grade level. If you’re not sure which contest you’re eligible for, please write to the Education Department at [email protected].

HOW CAN I VERIFY THAT MY ESSAY WAS RECEIVED?

If you send your essay by mail, you should paperclip a self-addressed, stamped postcard to your essay. When we receive your essay, we will drop your postcard in the mail. Alternatively, you can send your essay to us via registered mail or by using Priority Mail Delivery Confirmation. If you send your essay via email or our web form, we will reply to your message by email and notify you that we received your essay.

I INCLUDED A SELF-ADDRESSED, STAMPED POSTCARD WITH MY ESSAY, BUT I HAVEN’T RECEIVED IT BACK IN THE MAIL YET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Please note that it could take up to three weeks to receive your postcard from the date you sent your essay. If you are concerned that your essay was lost by the post office, please write to [email protected].

CAN I SEND MY ESSAY IN BEFORE THE DEADLINE ?

Yes

CAN I SEND MY ESSAY IN AFTER THE DEADLINE ?

We cannot accept essays postmarked after the deadline. If you have a valid reason why your essay could not be postmarked by the appropriate deadline, please write to [email protected].

I ENTERED ONE OF YOUR CONTESTS IN A PREVIOUS YEAR; CAN I ENTER AGAIN THIS YEAR?

Yes, as long as you were not previously a first-place winner. In fact, some students have won prizes two years in a row!

I AM IN A DIFFERENT GRADE THAN WHAT IS LISTED FOR THE CONTEST; MAY I STILL ENTER?

You can enter if you are in a lower grade, but not if you are in a higher grade.

IF I WIN, DO I HAVE TO APPLY THE PRIZE MONEY TOWARD COLLEGE?

No. All awards are cash prizes. We place no restrictions on how the prize money is spent. Prize winners simply receive a check from us in the amount of their award.

DO I NEED TO INCLUDE A BIBLIOGRAPHY OR DO I NEED TO REFERENCE PAGE NUMBERS?

You do not need to reference page numbers for quotes from the essay topics. However, if you use any quotes from the novel you are writing about, you should cite the page numbers and place quotation marks around the quoted material. You do not need to include a bibliography unless you quote from a source besides the novel you are writing on. (Please note that you do not need to reference any additional material other than the assigned novel to write your essay. See the next question.)

SHOULD I CITE OTHER SOURCES BESIDES THE NOVEL I’M WRITING ON?

You do not need any source material other than the novel you are writing on. However, you may quote and reference other sources if you like. If you do, please cite your sources and include a bibliography with your essay.

CAN I HAVE A FRIEND/TEACHER/PARENT PROOFREAD MY ESSAY? IS THAT PLAGIARISM?

Yes, you may have your essay proofread. It is not plagiarism to have someone check your essay for spelling and grammatical or structural errors. However, it is plagiarism to have someone else write your essay for you, or if you use someone else’s words as if they were your own (see above regarding citing outside sources).

WHAT EXACTLY IS PLAGIARISM?

Plagiarism is using someone else’s words as if they were your own. It is not plagiarism as long as you cite your sources.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’VE WON A PRIZE IN ONE OF THE CONTESTS?

We typically contact all the Atlas Shrugged contest entrants by January of the contest year, and all the Anthem and The Fountainhead contest entrants by July of the contest year.

CAN I WRITE MORE THAN ONE ENTRY FOR A CONTEST?

No. You may submit one essay for each contest, each year.

I AM ELIGIBLE TO ENTER MORE THAN ONE CONTEST. CAN I SUBMIT ESSAYS TO MORE THAN ONE OF YOUR CONTESTS?

Yes! You are welcome to enter multiple contests.

CAN I WRITE ON MORE THAN ONE TOPIC?

No. The contest guidelines ask that you select ONE of three topics. Please select only one topic.

CAN I WRITE ON A TOPIC OTHER THAN THE THREE LISTED IN THE CONTEST RULES?

No. Essays not written on one of the three topics will be disqualified.

WHERE CAN I FIND A COPY OF THE NOVEL I WANT TO WRITE ON?

All of Ayn Rand’s novels can be purchased via links from our website. They should also be available in your local bookstore or library.

IS IT NECESSARY FOR ME TO KNOW ABOUT OBJECTIVISM TO WRITE MY ESSAY?

No. Judges look for essays that show a clear understanding of the novel, so no additional knowledge about Ayn Rand’s philosophy is required.

I DISAGREE WITH AYN RAND’S PHILOSOPHY; HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY CHANCES OF WINNING?

This will have no effect on your chances of winning. Judges look for writing that demonstrates an understanding of the novel, not whether the student agrees with it.

Are graduate students eligible for the Atlas Shrugged contest?

Yes, graduate students are welcome to participate in the contest.

Are community college students eligible for the Atlas Shrugged contest?

Yes, community college students are welcome to participate in the contest.

Do I have to have a declared major to enter the Atlas Shrugged contest?

No.

Is there an age limit for the Atlas Shrugged contest?

No.

ARE TRADE/CERTIFICATE SCHOOLS ACCEPTED?

Yes

CAN SOMEONE WHO IS IN THE MILITARY, BUT WHO IS ENROLLED IN SCHOOL, ENTER THE ESSAY CONTESTS?

Yes

I HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERED IN THIS FAQ; WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Please send your comments or questions about the essay contests to [email protected]. In most cases, we should be able to respond within two to five business days.