Thursday, November 12, 2015

6 Essay Contests for High School Students

As I remember it, the rub with essay contests for high school students was that first, there are a lot of crappy ones so the good ones are hard to find, and second, it takes a lot of time and discipline to write a solid, thoughtful essay for those worth entering. Here are five I think are worth the time. Good luck, all! 

1. SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) is accepting entries into its essay contest for high school students until February 16, 2016. The topic, Why is it important that we have news media that are independent of the government?' is both timely and near and dear to my heart. Write on, young citizens.

2. With a hefty $2,000 prize at stake, the Ayn Rand Anthem Essay Contest is open to 8th - 10th grade students. The deadline is March 25, 2016. Other essay contests related to Rand's books are also offered.

3. The 11th Annual DNA Day Essay Contest, sponsored by the American Society for Human Genetics, has set its deadline for March 11, 2016. This year, students are asked to either defend or refute the Society's position on genetic testing for adult-onset diseases and conditions. 

The organization's website offers a rubric as well as pitfalls to avoid when participating in the contest.

4. Hiram College has announced its second essay writing contest. The theme is "Borders," and the contest (with cash prizes) is open to 10th and 11th graders. Entry deadline is January 7, 2016.  

5. We The Students essay contest is accepting entries until February 7, 2016. Hosted by the Bill of Rights Institute, the contest is open to students ages 14-19 in grades 8 - 12. 

This year, students are asked to discuss in writing to what extent, in in what ways, our government has compromised individual liberties for the sake of general security or welfare. 

6. Profiles in Courage Essay Contest - read winning essays from recent years and get writing tips directly from students (and contest winners) on the organization's Facebook page.

Speaking of writing tips, the organization posted one from JFK, circa 1955.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Don't Be THAT Guy on LinkedIn

Shortly after publishing my first post on LinkedIn, I received a message from a Hubspot rep who had been pursuing my employer as a client.

First came the connection request, which I approved because we had a connection or two in common, so I thought there could be a legitimate reason we should connect. On the heels of that approval came a long and silly introductory note that began with the following.
"I have been reading your Linkedin posts for a while now and I think we might share a psychic 6th sense because literally ALL of your posts are verbatim my thoughts regularly. Especially the one about these sensationalist headlines the world has been completely swept by."

I do not make this stuff up.

In case you haven't had your morning cuppa, I'll repeat: it was my first, and only, post on LinkedIn, at least to this date.

Obviously, I'm pretty sure we don't share that 6th sense, because if we did, she'd know I wondered if she was accusing me of plagiarism. You know, because ALL of my posts "are verbatim" her thoughts.

Scary stuff. And snarky, on my part, I'll admit.

The takeaway:
Don't be that guy on LinkedIn. And if you know that guy on LinkedIn, remember, severing a connection is easy.