Skip directly to content

Welcome to The State of the American Mind Essay Contest

No front page content has been created yet.

The State of the American Mind Essay and Video Contest

The American Mind—the very character of what it means to be an American—is changing. Where once “being an American” meant respecting others’ freedom of speech, colleges now disinvite speakers who fail to affirm what student bodies already think; where once Americans cared about working hard, we now opt for temporary gigs rather than long-term jobs; where once Americans cared about informed voting, we now vote with a sports mentality, rooting for our favorites while knowing little about where they stand.
We at Templeton Press think it's important to recognize these changes and engage with them critically. Thus we're asking students—either graduating high school students or current undergraduates—to create an essay or a video responding to one of the following topics:

  • Greg Lukianoff's "How Colleges Create the 'Expectation of Confirmation'"
  • Jean Twenge's "The Rise of the Self and the Decline of Intellectual and Civic Interest"
  • Ilya Somin's "Political Ignorance in America"


The complete prompts for this contest, as well as the essays and videos created by Lukianoff, Twenge, and Somin, can be found here

The deadline to submit has been extended to February 15th, 2017. Winning essays and videos will be chosen by the end of March, 2017.

 Essay ContestVideo Contest
1st place$5,000$5,000
2nd place$3,000$3,000
3rd place$2,000$2,000


Please, only one submission per person. The complete rules can be found here.