Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible to participate?
The Boy Scout Contest is now closed. Winners will be announced by March 31, 2015. This contest was open to all United States citizens or legal residents who were (1) current Boy Scouts or (2) former Boy Scouts who were (3) no older than 19 and no younger than 14 as of the end of the Contest Period (February 10, 2015).
How many times can I enter?
An individual may only submit one entry to the contest.
Are there examples of past winning entries that I can look at?
No. We generally do not make past winning essays public. You are encouraged to submit work that reflects your own style of writing.
If I didn’t win a prize, can I still find out how well I did in the Contest?
Because we receive so many entries, it is not possible to give individual feedback on entries. We realize that feedback is a vital part of becoming a better thinker and writer. For this reason, we encourage students to seek comments and feedback from parents, unit leaders, and other advisers before submitting their entry.
Is a title required for my entry?
No. Titles are not required for entries and will not be part of the evaluation process.
Should I include my name in my essays?
No! In order to help us ensure that essays are judged blindly, please DO NOT include your name on any part of the application form except where it is asked for.
Will my entry be disqualified if I go over the word limits?
Unfortunately, yes. This is required to help ensure no entry has an unfair advantage over another due to length. Please adhere to ALL word limits as given. Please note, you are not required to maximize your word count – if you can adequately answer the question in fewer words, you will not be penalized.
Do I need a Works Cited section/page with my entry?
We do not expect or require a Works Cited page or section for Contest entries. If you use quotes from individuals or research, simple citations will suffice. For example:
An example of what I am referring to comes from James Madison when he said in Federalist #51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” (James Madison, 1788)
Either format for citing sources used in your entry will suffice.
What are the prizes?
Grand Prize – $1,000
Honorable Mention (two prizes) – $500
The BSA units of winning scouts will also win prizes:
Grand Prize – $500
Honorable Mention Units (2 prizes) – $250 each
Eagle or Life Scout Nomination: $500. Help thank the Eagle or Life Scout who recommended this contest to you (aged 19 or younger) by entering their name into a drawing to win a $500 prize! Please note, your nominee must also have applied to the Boy Scout Contest to be eligible to win.
I’m active in more than one unit. If I win, will each unit I’m active in receive a prize?
No. Only one unit prize will be awarded per winner. You must specify the unit that you wish to receive the unit prize in your application form.
What are the judges looking for?
Boy Scout Contest submissions will focus on the ideas of the Constitution and their relevance today. A good entry will completely adhere to the topic and fully answer all parts of the question. Judges are looking for the following:
- adherence to the Essay Guidelines (as stated in Section III of the Rules and Regulations)
- depth of understanding of the question
- strength of personal response
- writing style
How long does my essay have to be?
There is no minimum required length for an entry; however, you cannot exceed the stated word limits for your entry. For more information on what constitutes a complete submission, please review the contest questions here.
When will the winners be announced?
Winners for the Bill of Rights Institute’s Boy Scout Contest will be announced on this website by March 31, 2015.
Who has won in previous years?
Michael DeSocio – 1st Place 2013
Sean McFeely – 1st Place 2014
Christopher Boia – Honorable Mention 2014
Harith Kassar – Honorable Mention 2014
If I need help and can’t find the answer online, what do I do?
You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at 703.894.1776.