2024 Civics Essay Contest Rules

Contest Rules and Regulations

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Civics Education Essay Contest is open to students in grades 3-12. Students must reside in the United States and be enrolled in either a public, private or home school program. Students must also have the permission of a parent, guardian or teacher over the age of 18 years of age in order to enter the contest.

Each student must answer the essay question in their own words. Plagiarism is unacceptable and is cause for contest disqualification.

Elementary (grades 3-5) school students should draft essays not to exceed 100 words. Middle (grades 6-8) and High (grades 9-12) school students should draft essays not to exceed 250 words. Essays longer than the stated lengths per grade level categories will be disqualified.

All essays must be submitted by midnight ET on March 22, 2024. There is no fee to enter. 2023 winners are not eligible to apply. Students must use the electronic portal provided by NCSC to submit their essay. For special accommodations, please email Molly Justice.

All portions of the online entry form must be completed. Failure to submit required information or any false statements or misrepresentations made by the student, shall constitute a violation of the official contest rules and lead to disqualification.

Submitted essays are judged by NCSC staff, members of the court community and friends of the organization. Judging is based on the student’s ability to answer the essay question clearly and concisely, understanding of the topic, creativity and originality of thought pertaining to the topic, as well as grammar, spelling and style. Students agree to be bound by the official contest rules and decisions of the judges.

Students who submit an essay to the contest grant NCSC and its partners, including the news media, the right to use their names, photographs, statements, quotes and testimonials for advertising, publicity and promotional purposes without notification or further compensation. This includes, but is not limited to, NCSC’s social media accounts, as well as print or electronic publications. NCSC maintains the right to reproduce, reprint, distribute, perform, display or exhibit the project for advertising, publicity and promotional purposes on its website, at conferences or other venues.