Scholarships have long been a beacon of hope for students aspiring to pursue higher education. Among the myriad of scholarship opportunities, the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition stands out as a unique platform that not only provides financial support but also nurtures the values of democracy and free speech among the youth.
Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition
Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition is an annual nationwide scholarship program sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). It is an audio-essay contest for high school students in grades 9-12. The program annually provides more than $2.3 million in scholarships. The first-place winner, who competes with all the first-place VFW Department (state) winners, receives a $30,000 scholarship that is paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school.
Besides competing for the top scholarship prize, as well as other national scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $16,000, each Department’s first-place winner receives an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in March (annually).
Application Requirements and Eligibility for the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition
Students must submit a three to five-minute audio essay on a contest theme (changes each year). Open to high school students (9th to 12th grade).
The Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition is open to students in grades 9-12 enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private, parochial school, or home study programs in the U.S., its territories, or its possessions. Dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools are also eligible to participate. Award available for all levels of post-secondary study in an American institution. Open to permanent U.S. residents only. Competition starts at the local level. No entries are to be submitted to the National Headquarters.
The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000.
- Must currently be in high school
- Type of institution award is open to: two-year college
- Type of institution award is open to: four-year college
- Type of institution award is open to: trade/technical school
- Award is available to U.S. citizens
- Award is available to Canadian citizens
- Award is available to citizens of countries other than the U.S. and Canada.
- Application form required
- Essay required
- Special requirements exist (These are specified in text.)
- Entry in a contest required
- Audio recording of the applicant’s essay.
How To Apply
- Download the Voice of Democracy entry form and brochure to submit
your essay to your local VFW Post.
- Students should record their reading of the draft to an audio CD or flash
drive. The recording can be no shorter than three minutes and no longer
than five minutes (plus or minus five seconds).
- Entries begin at the Post level. Once the student creates their essay and
completes burning the audio version to an audio CD/flash drive, they
can submit their typed version, CD/flash drive and the Voice of
Democracy entry form to their local participating VFW Post.
- Originality is worth 30 points: Treatment of the theme should show
imagination and human interest.
- Content is worth 35 points: Clearly express your ideas in an organized
manner. Fully develop your theme and use transitions to move
smoothly from one idea to the other.
- Delivery is worth 35 points: Speak in a clear and credible manner.
As we conclude our exploration of the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition, it becomes evident that this initiative is more than just a financial aid program. It is a catalyst for change, a platform that empowers young voices to shape the future.
1. What is the age requirement for participation?
The competition is open to high school students (9th to 12th grade), typically within a specified age range.
2. How are essays judged in the competition?
Essays are evaluated based on criteria such as originality, creativity, adherence to the theme, and the participant’s unique voice.