ACPL First Annual Scholarship Essay Contest

Due to the coronavirus/COVID-19, the ACPL has temporarily postponed this contest. Please check back for updates

American Center for Political Leadership (ACPL) at Southeastern University is hosting its first annual essay contest centered around civil discourse and civic engagement. High school students can win up to $1,500 in scholarship prize money with a winning essay for the American Center for Political Leadership Civic Initiative Essay Contest.

Who can enter

High school students in grades 9 through 12 attending public, private, parochial, charter schools and homeschool students of equivalent grade status are invited to participate.

The essay

Students can submit an essay in response to the prompt, “Why is civic engagement and the need for civil discourse important in our current political climate?” The essay should be an original work of the student with a maximum word count of 1,000. The deadline to enter has been postponed, but information on how to enter can still be viewed here. 


A panel of five judges, comprised of college professors and community leaders, will evaluate each piece based on its content and presentation.

Prizes and winners

Ten finalists will be selected to advance to the second round of judging and will present their essays to a panel of five judges, hosted on the campus of Southeastern University, on April 30, 2020. Three final winners will be selected at the ceremony and awards will be presented as cash prizes.

  • First Place: $1,500

  • Second Place: $1,000

  • Third Place: $500

To enter the contest and review the full list of rules, visit theacpl.org.

The American Center for Political Leadership (ACPL) is a bipartisan think tank that was founded at SEU to raise up a new generation of political leaders who understand that the only way to create real lasting change is by engaging when others pull back, by acting with civility when others work through disrespect, and by defending the individual freedoms that form the bedrock of our society. The ACPL stands on three pillars: cultivating civic engagement, advancing political civility and defending individual freedoms. Their goal is to reclaim the traditional American ideal that we can make this nation great by working together, no matter what our differences may be, and give the next generation the tools they need to make this dream a reality.


Learn More

American Center for Political Leadership at SEU

Dennis Ross Joins SEU to Chair ACPL