Junior Achievement Essay Competition

The Junior Achievement Essay Competition, sponsored by David M. Rubenstein, was founded in 2008. Each year, high school students in Greater Washington are invited to write an essay and compete for over $110,000 in college scholarships. A first, second, and third place winner will be selected from each of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and will be each awarded a $10,000 scholarship. The scholarship must be applied to higher education expenses.

Since 1965, Junior Achievement of Greater Washington has inspired the next generation to be financially capable and tenacious, equipped with the tools to solve problems creatively, manage risk effectively, and welcome opportunity.


  • Applicant must be a student enrolled in the 9th – 12th grade at an accredited high school or accredited home school program in Junior Achievement’s Franchised Region on the date on which he or she submits a conforming essay and application. Junior Achievement’s Franchised Region comprises the following counties and cities:
  1. Maryland: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Saint Mary’s
  2. Virginia: Alexandria City, Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax City, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Fauquier, Fredericksburg, King George, Loudoun, Manassas City, Manassas Park City, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren
  3. Washington, DC
  • Applicant must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States.
  • Immediate family members of judging committee members and of Mr. David Rubenstein are ineligible for this essay competition.  Immediate family members of employees of Junior Achievement, the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement, the Associate Leadership Council of Junior Achievement, and the Montgomery County Advisory Council of Junior Achievement are also ineligible.
  • Grand Prize winners from any prior Junior Achievement Essay Competition are ineligible for this essay competition.
  • Any applicant who has been previously disqualified from a Junior Achievement competition is ineligible for this essay competition.
  • Each applicant may enter only once and may only provide one essay on the topic.

How to Apply:

  • Sign up for an account on through the given link: https://jaessay.fluidreview.com/
  • You must upload an essay on the following topic to be entering in the Junior Achievement Essay Competition. The topic for the 2016 Junior Achievement Essay Competition is:

“Entrepreneurs have been around since the very beginning of our country’s history. Their contributions to society are as diverse as the backgrounds and personal experiences of these men and women.

George Washington and Dr. Dre are two such innovators from very different time periods, who both had a profound impact on American culture. But who would you consider a greater entrepreneur and why? Construct a persuasive essay that compares and contrasts the entrepreneurial contributions of each man before making a conclusion and explaining why you made your choice.”

Essay Guidelines:

  • Essays must be 1,000 – 1,500 words. Footnotes, citations, endnotes, and essay titles will not be counted as part of the 1,000 – 1,500 words allotted to the applicant.
  • Applicants must use proper grammar and spelling in the essay and will be penalized for use of improper grammar or spelling.
  • Applicants are not permitted to include any forms of media other than plain text in their essays, such as photos, diagrams, or charts.
  • Essays must be typed in 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced.
  • Essays must include the Applicant ID Code assigned by Junior Achievement in the upper right corner of each page.  Applicant ID Codes will be automatically assigned after the completion of the first step of the online submission process.
  • Applicants may opt to cite external references in their essays, such as statistics or quotes.  All external references must be properly cited as parenthetical citations, footnotes, or endnotes.
  • Essays must be the original work of the applicant.  Essays must neither have been entered in another competition nor have been published previously in any form or sold for publication.  Essays must not contain material that infringes on the intellectual property rights of others.  Any essay that violates these rules will be disqualified and any awards made for such essay will be rescinded and must be returned to Junior Achievement.  All essays will be checked for plagiarism by Junior Achievement with SafeAssign by Blackboard.

Financial Aid and Award Money:

  • A first, second, and third place winner will be selected from each of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.  Additionally, one grand prize winner will be selected from among all three regions, for a total of ten winning applicants.
  • The grand prize winner will receive a $20,000 scholarship.  The first, second, and third place winners from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia will each receive a $10,000 scholarship.
  • All winners will be invited to attend a private awards ceremony in spring 2017 and will have their essays published on Junior Achievement’s website.
  • Winners will be announced on myJA.orgin spring 2017.
  • In each of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, the school with the greatest number of eligible applications will receive a $6,000 grant, for a total of three winning schools.

Application Deadline:

Applicant must submit his or her essay to Junior Achievement between September 26, 2016, to January 23, 2017.  Essays received by Junior Achievement after 11:59 p.m. on January 23, 2017, will not qualify and will not be considered.

Link for More Information:


Contact Information:

For more information or if you have any questions
contact Sarah Dohl, Vice President of Communications, at (202) 777-4482 or Sarah.Dohl-at-JA.org.

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