Patriot’s Pen Essay Writing Contest

Award Amount
Application deadline
Awarded By:

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

Number of Awards & Eligibility: 54 awards offered annually. Awards are offered at the national level.
In order to qualify, students must meet the following criteria:
  1. This award is for U.S. students.
  2. Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  3. Must be a student in grades six through eight.
  4. Must be enrolled in a public, private or parochial school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions, or in an overseas U.S. military/civilian dependent school. Home-schooled students and the dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools can participate as well.

In order to qualify, students must meet the following criteria:

Description: U.S. students enrolled in grades six through eight are eligible for this award. Students must submit a typewritten essay between 300 and 400 words in length on the current year's topic.

Application requirements for the Patriot’s Pen Essay Writing Contest are:

  • Essay
  • Entry form
Additional Information: The contest consists of four levels. The first level (entry) is sponsored by local VFW Posts. Post winners advance to the VFW District (regional) level where the one first-place winner is advanced to the VFW Department (state) level. The one first-place winner at the Department level is then advanced into the VFW National competition. The winner from each Department (state) then competes for the national prizes. Each contestant will be judged on the basis of his/her essay alone and is not required to present the essay orally. All essays become the property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW retains non-exclusive rights to use the student's essay and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization's programs and activities. Each contestant will be judged on how well he/she understands, develops and presents the theme. A positive approach is recommended to approach his/her viewpoint. Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points, theme development is worth 35 points, and clarity of ideas is worth 35 points. Foreign exchange students and former winners that placed in the national finals are excluded from the contest.

Award Amount: The 1st place winner will receive $5,000 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for himself/herself and a parent or guardian; 2nd place will receive $4,000; 3rd place will receive $3,500; fourth place will receive $2,750; 5th place will receive $2,500; 6th place will receive $2,000; 7th place will receive $1,750; 8th and 9th place will receive $1,500; 10th and 11th place will receive $1,250; 12th through 14th place will receive $1,000; 15th and 16th place will receive $750; and 17th through 54th place will receive $500.All scholarships are awarded as savings bonds.  The total dollars awarded for this scholarship is $55,000.

Deadline Information:

Deadline for this scholarship is Monday, October 31, 2022

Deadline Information:

Deadline for this scholarship is Monday, October 31, 2022

Entry forms are available online from the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) website. In addition to the completed entry form, each student must submit an essay on the subject listed on the website. All essays should be typewritten in English with no color or graphics and cannot be less than 300 words or greater than 400 words in length. (Essays under or over these word amounts will be eliminated.) Every word is counted regardless of length. The essay title (theme) or added footnotes do not contribute to the word count. The contestant's name should not appear on any part of the essay; the entry form should act as the cover sheet. The approach to the Patriot's Pen theme should be positive and clearly focused. Poetry is not acceptable. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified wherever used. A contestant's teacher, counselor or parent may check the essay for punctuation, grammar and/or spelling, but the content must remain the contestants. The essay and entry form must be in the hands of the student's local VFW Post Chairman by midnight on Oct. 31. To find his/her local VFW post, the student should visit If the student has difficulty identifying a sponsoring post in his/her area, he/she should contact his/her state office; contact information for state offices is available on the VFW website.
About Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW):
Contact Information: Kristin Harmer, Program Coordinator
Address: VFW Building 406 W. 34th St. Kansas City, Missouri 64111

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