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Please contact the Contest Coordinator at contests@hslda.org with any questions. We love your feedback!

The Essay Contest has closed. Contest winners will be posted after the holidays. Check back in August for next contest!

Essay Contest Guidelines

Submission Dates: September 1st–November 1st
Entries must be postmarked on/before November 1st.

Format and Submissions:

  • Essays submissions must fit the theme for your age category. Read the themes for this year’s contest.
  • Students may submit two (2) different essays.
  • Word limit per essay: 700 (does not include Title)
  • Typed and double-spaced in 11- or 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Print 2 copies on white, unlined paper
  • Type the student’s Entry ID on the top of each page. This number will be found on your Entry Form Confirmation message. NO OTHER identification should appear on these pages, to ensure the judging is anonymous.
  • All submissions must be suitable for all audiences. HSLDA reserves the right to reject entries that are gratuitously violent, sexually suggestive, vulgar, or otherwise explicitly offensive.

Note to Parents: Essays must be completely the work of the student entering the contest. No assistance in editing or proof reading is permissible. While we encourage students to brainstorm and discuss topic options with their parents, the construction and language of each essay should be entirely done by the student. Parents may:

  • Type essays for younger students.
  • Direct students to resources where answers can be found (e.g. suggesting a student look in a dictionary or specific book if he or she has a question about spelling a word or a specific topic).
  • Help students understand the grammar or spelling suggestions made by the Word processor.

How to Enter:

Entering is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Fill out the Entry Form online to be issued an Entry ID number. Fill out an online Entry Form for each essay. You do not need to print this. You may also download and print an Entry Form to mail in with your essay instead of entering online. In this case, do not write any Entry ID number on your essay.

  2. On both copies of your essay, type or write your Entry ID number on the top right corner and your Age Category number on the top left corner:

  3. Mail your essay and entry fee, payable to HSLDA. Remember to include an entry fee for each essay – they may be combined onto one check. Mail to:

  4. HSLDA
    Attn: Contests
    1 Patrick Henry Circle
    Purcellville, VA 20132

Entry Fee:

Multiple entries may be mailed in the same envelope and the multiple entry fees may be included on one check.

Regular Entry Fee $15.00 per essay
HSLDA Member Discounted Entry Fee $10.00 per essay

Please pay via check or money order made payable to "HSLDA" with a note of "Essay Contest" in the memo line.  Foreign checks not accepted.  Contact the Contest Coordinator if you have any questions regarding payment: contests@hslda.org


Contest winners will receive a cash congratulations, plus a wonderful transcript booster!

Category 1 2 3
1st Place $150 $250 $500
2nd Place $100 $150 $250
3rd Place $75 $100 $150
Honorable Mentions (2) $50 $75 $100

Where the Contest Profits Go

All contest profits go to HSLDA Compassion, which uses them to provide low-income homeschooling families with access to educational and legal resources to help them continue homeschooling.

To learn about HSLDA Compassion, visit their website at www.HomeSchoolFoundation.org.

Mail Essay (2 copies) and Entry Fees to:

Please mail Entry Fee payment, and 2 copies of your essay to:

Attn: Essay Contest
1 Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA 20132


  • Essays will be kept anonymous and evaluated by a panel of judges appointed by HSLDA. The judges will select 12 to 20 finalists per category.
  • Essays will be judged on originality of thought, grammar, spelling, logic, clarity, writing style, and content. For more information, check out Hear It From the Judges.
  • All decisions of the judges are final.

Other Information

  • Winners will be notified in early January and announced on the website shortly thereafter.
  • Essays become the property of HSLDA and will not be returned. Entry in the contest constitutes permission for HSLDA to publish the essay at its discretion. Full credit will always be given to the original author.

Interested in sponsoring a contest? ? If you or your company is interested in partnering with us to continue offering this unique opportunity to talented homeschoolers, contact the Contest Coordinator at contests@hslda.org.