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Congressional Seminar Essay Contest for High School Students

This essay contest is a major project of The NSCDA held under the auspices of the Washington Workshops Foundation, a private nonprofit educational program in American government for high school students.

Winners receive full tuition, including seminar materials, university campus housing, and two meals daily, for a week of citizenship education about the national government, plus fun, new friends, and tours of sites in our nation’s capital.

Please read the material below for information on the application process. Good luck! 

Click here to see a sample itinerary from the 2019 program


∗Essay Topic for the 2020 Congressional Seminar∗

“Why is history important? Why should we preserve our national treasures and how should we, as a nation, continue to preserve our lands and historic buildings?”

Rules, Information and Judging Criteria for Essay Contest

History of the Congressional Essay Contest

Essay Contest Poster

2020 Essay Contest Application

How to Apply

Review Essay Rules and Information to make sure your submission complies with all rules.

Download and complete the 2020 Application and email or mail by USPS with your essay to the local/state NSCDA Congressional Essay representative or Patriotic Service Chair as directed. Please download the Application Unsure about who this person is? Please email for the correct name and contact information. Please include your name, State and county/parish of your school and contact information.

Email if you have any questions.

*Please Note: Grandchildren and children of Dames are not eligible for the contest but can still participate. Please contact Libby Siskron at for more information.

Donations to this Essay Contest are greatly appreciated.


Congressional Seminar Essay Contest Video

essay contest video

Congressional Seminar Essay Contest Gallery