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Congressional Seminar Essay Contest for High School Students

Win the writing competition, win a trip to Washington, D.C. from June 19-23, 2023

The Congressional Essay Contest 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.

The essay topic changes annually. This year the NSCDA asks students to answer the prompt:

“Examine the US Constitution as a Whole and explain why you think it does or does not fully protect the Right to Vote.”

Winners receive full tuition and travel to the Washington Workshops “Congressional Seminar,” a civic-focused adventure in our nation’s capital. The seminar provides two meals daily and an additional per diem, university campus housing and access to world-class museums, government 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 Washington Workshops Foundation.


To Apply:

  • Digitally fill out the application
  • Write a compelling 750 word essay (judging criteria can be found on page 2)
  • Email or mail your application and essay to your local/State NSCDA Congressional Essay Chair or Patriotic Service Chair as directed.
    • If you do not have a contact for your State please deposit this form and your essay in this Dropbox folder:
    • SAVE AS the file name: State Abbreviation-Student Last Name-Student First Name.PDF (ex: VA-Dorsey-Samantha.PDF)
  • Applications are due December 1

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.


We look forward to reading your class submissions! Consider hanging our poster in your room or digital pin board.

2024 Essay Prompt:

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

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 applications 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