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1st High School Essay Contest 

Win up to $500 by submitting an essay to our high school essay contest! Do so by answering only one (1) of the following two prompts:

  • Topic 1: Is there a difference between a sport and a game? Why or why not? Try to think of examples that might be controversial, and address these (for example: chess and e-sports). [Check out this New York Times article which might be helpful]

  • Topic 2: What, if anything, distinguishes someone cheating from someone breaking the rules? Can a person cheat without breaking the rules? Can a person break the rules without cheating? Why or why not? 


The topic you choose will not impact your chances of winning, only how well you argue for them. Don't forget to watch our video and read the interviews! You do not need to use fancy writing, but rather you should argue in a way that would convince your friends and family (like, really convince them!). There is no particular “right” answer we’re looking for; we’re trying to become convinced of your answer. We encourage you to talk to and think with your friends about your arguments. Please do not plagiarize, we will check you essays for any dishonest work.


Length: The length should be around 750–1250 words. You can write more but it is not recommended. A 750-word essay does not have more chance to win than a 1250 word one.


Deadline: January 31st 2021 at 1159 p.m. GMT  


Graders: Graders will be five graduate students studying philosophy.



1st Place: $500

2nd Place: $200

3rd Place: $50

Thank you to the American Philosophical Association for making these prizes possible.   


  • Make sure you are arguing clearly. We need to understand what you are trying to say.

  • Watch our video!

  • Try to thing of reasons why someone would disagree with your argument. Address these disagreements and why you think they are wrong.

  • Talk to your friends about your arguments, they might help you with your line of reasoning.

  • Have fun writing this! It will increase the quality of the paper.


Submission Instructions: please fill out the Google form below, and copy/paste your work into the appropriate box.

Link to Google form

If you have any further questions, please email us at


[*] Paid via a pre-paid VISA gift card to the student, or as a check to a parent/guardian if preferred.

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