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Congressional Seminar Essay Contest for High School Students

In winning the writing competition, win a Scholarship for the Congressional Seminar in Washington, D.C. from June 24-28, 2024.

The Congressional Essay Contest (CEC) is run by NSCDA Corporate Societies and Town Committees across the United States. Freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior year high school students submit essays that are then judged and awarded. Students must be 16 or older to participate in the Congressional Seminar.

The essay topic changes annually. For this year’s contest (2023-2024) the NSCDA asks students to answer the prompt:

“Why did the nation’s founders choose a government with separated powers rather than a parliamentary system?”

Winners receive full tuition and support for travel to our nation’s capital for the Workshops Foundation’s renown Congressional Seminar, a highly interactive, civic-focused workshop. The seminar includes a Mock Congress, enabling students to collaborate with peers from various backgrounds and different views to forge public policy on pressing national and international issues. The seminar provides university campus housing and meals; a per diem for meals purchased off-campus; and access to world class museums, government and congressional offices, and memorable tours. Are you curious about what to expect on this trip? Click here to check out a past itinerary or watch this 4:30 minute video.

Learn more about the Workshops Foundation.


2024 contest information

To Apply:

Note: Children and grandchildren of an active member of The NSCDA may not receive a scholarship to the Congressional Seminar. They are still eligible to participate. Email Mary Bradshaw, NSCDA Congressional Essay Consultant, at for more information.


2024 Poster for your classrooms

We look forward to reading your class submissions!

In grateful appreciation to Linda R. Monk, J.D., Constitutional Scholar (, for her contribution to the wording of the topic.

Encourage your students to complete and submit their application for 2024.

Email Mary Bradshaw, NSCDA Congressional Essay Consultant, at for more information or if you have any questions.

Donations to this Essay Contest are greatly appreciated.



Congressional Seminar Essay Contest Gallery