First Things is excited to announce the third annual Student Essay Contest for young thinkers and scholars. Those currently enrolled in a college, graduate program, or seminary are invited to participate. 

We are asking for 2000- to 2500-word responses to one of the following prompts:

  • Liberalism is at the end of its rope. What comes next?
  • Should the Reformation be celebrated—or lamented? 
  • St. Augustine says that we are on a pilgrimage through this world. On this pilgrimage, can we have a “home” to which we should be loyal?

All entries must be sent as Microsoft Word attachments to essaycontest@firstthings.com. Submissions should include a title page with the author's name, email address, and chosen prompt clearly displayed. Submissions must consist of original, unpublished work. Essays are due on September 15, 2017.

The prize for the first place essay is $500, with $250 for the runner up. Both essays will be published on our website, and we will print the names of the two winners in our magazine. Everyone who participates, winner or no, will receive three free digital issues of First Things.

The winners will be chosen by our editorial staff. A decision will be announced in early October.



You can read the 2016 winning essays below:

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