John F Kennedy Essay Contest Scholarship

JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest


Who's Eligible: High school students in grades 9-12

Award Amount: Up to $20,000

Due Date: January 4


Ready those pens and get to writing. The student who composes the best 1,000-word essay (excluding citations) that describes "an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official that occurred during or after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born" walks away with $20,000. (FYI: JFK, Robert Kennedy, and Sen. Ted Kennedy are not eligible subjects for essays, and if you decided to choose a past recipient of the Profile in Courage Award, make sure you write about something other than the act of courage that earned them that award.)  

The teacher who nominated the student walks away with $500. The runner-up earns $1,000 and up to five finalists receive $500. Students must be nominated by a current or former teacher from their high school and submissions will be judged on how much the essay reflects originality, thoughtfulness, critical thinking, convincing arguments, and a thorough understanding of the topic. If you need some ideas, check out Shmoop's biographies.

The JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest is currently available to high school students of U.S. The Essay Contest invites students to consider the concept of political courage by writing an essay on a U.S. elected official who has chosen to do what is right, rather than what is expedient.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of our nation’s thirty-fifth president and to all those who through the art of politics seek a new and better world. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum preserves and provides access to historical materials related to President Kennedy


  • The contest is open to United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools
  • U.S. students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program in any of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, or the U.S. territories
  • U.S. citizens attending schools overseas. Past winners and finalists are not eligible to participate
  • Employees of John Hancock Financial Services and members of their families are not eligible to participate

How to Apply:

  • For applying the scholarship, the candidates must submit an essay that describe an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official that occurred during or after 1956, the publication date of Profiles in Courage
  • The applicants check Contest Information and Topic Guidelines and Helpful Tips for Writing Your Essay for more information

Submitting Details:

  • The candidates can submit essay on-line by completing Registration and Submission Form.
  • The candidates can mail the essay with the registration form at the given address:

John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Profile in Courage Essay Contest
Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125

Award Amount:

The winner of this competitive annual contest is awarded a $10,000 prize.

Application Deadline:

Essay submissions for the 2016 contest will be accepted starting September 1, 2015. The contest deadline is Wednesday, January 6, 2016.

Link for More Information:

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