Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest; Unusual Scholarship of The Week

20120325-164728.jpgNormally, this scholarship would not be considered Unusual, except for the manner in which is it judged. Most scholarship applications ask for an essay, but rarely is the essay the focus of the application. However, the Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest is no ordinary scholarship.

More tips after the jump

Sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute, the scholarships they offer are focused on those with similar views in the areas of Libertariamism, free will, and objectivism. The book, Atlas Shrugged, was author Ayn Rand’s signature work. The book focuses on the intersection of society’s wants and needs and individual free will and commerce. A couple of things to keep in mind regarding scholarships such as these.

1)Know What You Are Talking About – The cliff notes version of this book will not suffice. It’s critical whenever you are being asked to think critically about a book or subject that you bone up on it. People who are truly fans of libertarian politics, objectivism, and Austrian economic theory are those likely to apply. These people tend to have higher cognitive abilities and competition will be fierce. But don’t let that discourage you.

2) Know Your Audience – Judges of essay contests such as these are well versed in the subject matter. This isn’t an essay contest that judges are generalists who look for individual merit. They are looking for understanding of the topic at hand, and how well one conveys that understanding onto the page. In addition, it’s probably a bad idea to apply for scholarships such as this if it is antithetical to your values (i.e. an atheists applying to a religious scholarship). Attitudes tend to leech into the tone of the essay.

3) References Don’t Hurt – Just like any major essay, proper citations make a difference and show attention to detail. If you are writing about a book, follow up quotes or facts with page numbers. If you are writing about a subject, give proper credit by foot noting or citing your material if possible.


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