1.  The Essay

  • The topic for the 2016 Junior Achievement Essay Competition is:

“Entrepreneurs have been around since the very beginning of our country’s history. Their contributions to society are as diverse as the backgrounds and personal experiences of these men and women.
George Washington and Dr. Dre are two such innovators from very different time periods, who both had a profound impact on American culture. But who would you consider a greater entrepreneur and why? Construct a persuasive essay that compares and contrasts the entrepreneurial contributions of each man before making a conclusion and explaining why you made your choice.”

  • Essays will be judged on the following criteria:
    • Creativity & originality
    • Persuasiveness
    • Grammar & spelling
    • Content & Relevancy of response
  • Essays must be 1,000 – 1,500 words. Footnotes, citations, endnotes, and essay titles will not be counted as part of the 1,000 – 1,500 words allotted to the applicant.
  • Applicants must use proper grammar and spelling in the essay and will be penalized for use of improper grammar or spelling.
  • Applicants are not permitted to include any forms of media other than plain text in their essays, such as photos, diagrams, or charts.
  • Essays must be typed in 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced.
  • Essays must include the Applicant ID Code assigned by Junior Achievement in the upper right corner of each page.  Applicant ID Codes will be automatically assigned after the completion of the first step of the online submission process.
  • Applicants may opt to cite external references in their essays, such as statistics or quotes.  All external references must be properly cited as parenthetical citations, footnotes, or endnotes.
  • Essays must be the original work of the applicant.  Essays must neither have been entered in another competition nor have been published previously in any form or sold for publication.  Essays must not contain material that infringes on the intellectual property rights of others.  Any essay that violates these rules will be disqualified and any awards made for such essay will be rescinded and must be returned to Junior Achievement.  All essays will be checked for plagiarism by Junior Achievement with SafeAssign by Blackboard.
  • Junior Achievement will collect personally identifiable information about applicants as part of the application process.  This information will be used to contact applicants in connection with the essay competition and in announcements, events, and press releases related to the essay competition and will be provided only to parties related to Junior Achievement of Greater Washington (“Junior Achievement”), and the applicant’s school and legal guardians.  No personally identifiable information about the applicants will be revealed to any member of the judging committee at any time during the judging process.  Applicants should not include their name, their school’s name, or personally identifiable information either within the content of the essay or on any pages on which the essay is printed.  Personal information may only be included on the completed application form.

2.  Awards

  • The winning essays will be determined by a judging committee selected by Junior Achievement.
  • A first, second, and third place winner will be selected from each of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.  Additionally, one grand prize winner will be selected from among all three regions, for a total of ten winning applicants.
  • The grand prize winner will receive a $20,000 scholarship.  The first, second, and third place winners from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia will each receive a $10,000 scholarship.
  • The scholarship must be applied to higher education expenses.
  • All winners will be invited to attend a private awards ceremony in spring 2017, and will have their essays published on Junior Achievement’s website.
  • Winners will be announced on www.myJA.org in spring 2017.
  • In each of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, the school with the greatest number of eligible applications will receive a $6,000 grant, for a total of three winning schools.

3.  Who May Enter

  • Applicant must be a student enrolled in the 9th – 12th grade at an accredited high school or accredited home school program in Junior Achievement’s Franchised Region on the date on which he or she submits a conforming essay and application.  Junior Achievement’s Franchised Region comprises the following counties and cities:
    • Maryland: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Saint Mary’s
    • Virginia: Alexandria City, Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax City, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Fauquier, Fredericksburg, King George, Loudoun, Manassas City, Manassas Park City, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren
    • Washington, DC
  • Applicant must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States.
  • Immediate family members of judging committee members and of Mr. David Rubenstein are ineligible for this essay competition.  Immediate family members of employees of Junior Achievement, the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement, the Associate Leadership Council of Junior Achievement, and the Montgomery County Advisory Council of Junior Achievement are also ineligible.
  • Grand Prize winners from any prior Junior Achievement Essay Competition are ineligible for this essay competition.
  • Any applicant who has been previously disqualified from a Junior Achievement competition is ineligible for this essay competition.
  • Each applicant may enter only once and may only provide one essay on the topic.

4.  How to Enter

  • Applicant must submit his or her essay to Junior Achievement between September 26, 2016 – February 1, 2017.  Essays received by Junior Achievement after 11:59 p.m. on February 1, 2017, will not qualify and will not be considered.
  • Applicants must submit an application form via the competition’s website, www.jagw-award.fluidreview.com. Essays submitted by mail, courier, fax, or any means other than the competition’s website will not qualify and will not be considered. Essays must be submitted as a .doc (Microsoft Word 2003), .docx (Microsoft Word 2007/2010/2013), .odt (OpenOffice.org), or .txt (plain text) file. Essays submitted in an alternate file format and essays that contain corrupted data which cannot be opened will not qualify and will not be considered.  The file must be under 1.0 MB in size.
  • Essays submitted with an incomplete or non-conforming application form or essay format or by an applicant who does not meet the qualifications of the essay competition will not qualify and will not be considered for any award.

5.  Conditions for Participation

  • All submitted essays become the exclusive intellectual property of Junior Achievement, and Junior Achievement obtains all rights to use and republish all or any part of such essays upon submission to our website.
  • Junior Achievement may use prizewinners’ names, likeness, and other identifying information (such as hometown, school, or grade) in promotional materials relating to this essay competition.
  • Winners (or their parents or guardians) will be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility, originality, and compliance with the official rules, a liability release, and a publicity release as a condition to receiving their scholarship.
  • Winners will be required to have an educator, guidance counselor or other official at his or her accredited school or accredited home school program in the Franchised Region submit verification of the winner’s school enrollment in the Franchised Region on the date of submission.
  • Winners will be required to provide written evidence from an institution of higher education confirming their intent to matriculate to that institution as a condition to receiving their scholarship.
  • Winners will be required to affirm that the scholarship will be used solely for paying expenses incurred as part of attending an institution of higher education as a condition to receiving their scholarship.
  • All taxes shall be the responsibility of the winners of the competition.  Winners will be required to submit a completed IRS Form W-9 to Junior Achievement as a condition to receiving their scholarship.
  • The scholarship will be disbursed to each winner in June of the calendar year that the winner will matriculate to the verified institution of higher education.
  • By submitting an application and/or essay to Junior Achievement, the applicant agrees to all of the terms and conditions set forth in these Official Rules and on Junior Achievement’s website governing the 2016 Junior Achievement Essay Competition.

6.  Miscellaneous

  • No essay will be given preference over any other essay on the basis of an applicant’s name, school, grade, gender, race, ethnicity, geographic origin, or any legally protected status.
  • No essay will be given preference over any other essay on the basis of an applicant’s ability or inability to attend the private awards ceremony in spring 2017.
  • Applicant acknowledges that Junior Achievement shall have no liability of any kind as a result of any errors or omissions in the administration of this essay competition, or any network or website errors or incompatibilities, and by entering this competition applicant releases any and all claims applicant may have against Junior Achievement in this regard.
  • No essays or applications will be returned to applicants.
  • No notice will be given to applicants with non-winning or non-conforming essays or applications.


For more information or if you have any questions,
contact Brea Neri, Senior Communications Manager, at (202) 777-4481 or Brea.Neri@JA.org.