HSFSA Essay Contest

The HSFSA is working with the American Foreign Service Association to provide a free essay contest to help high school students prepare for AFSA's National High School Essay Contest.

Having the same policies, the same judges, and a similar topic structure, this contest provides the perfect opportunity for students to master the ways to success in the main contest.

Winners Announced!

The High School Foreign Service Association would like to thank all students who participated in the organization's first essay contest! The judges were impressed by the quality and diversity of the submissions. All participants received their judge scoring sheet, which gave specific comments and scores regarding the quality of the submission as well as offering advice for improvement. The top 15 students also took part in a feedback webinar, learning about how to approach diplomacy-themed essays, how to structure their work and research, and much more.

We would like to congratulate:

Owen Wu from Walton High School for receiving 1st place

Olivia Schwab from Oswego East High School for receiving 2nd place

We would also like to give special recognition to the HSFSA chapter at Arroyo High School for having the greatest number of participants originating from a single school.

The HSFSA would like to express gratitude to the American Foreign Service Association for its assistance with judging, sponsoring, and organizing the essay contest, and we look forward to conducting more essay contests in the future.

Contest Info


1st Place

  • $200 gift card
  • A copy of Inside a U.S. Embassy, signed by Ambassador Eric Rubin - the President of the American Foreign Service Association

2nd Place

  • $100 gift card

Top 15

  • Judge feedback webinar - speak to the judges to learn how to improve your essay for the main contest!

Prizes are the courtesy of the American Foreign Service Association.

Contest Dates

Submissions open: October 13, 2022 (10:00 AM ET)

Submissions closed: November 6, 2022 (11:59 PM ET)

Results annnounced: November 21, 2022 (10:00 AM ET)


Participants must be students enrolled in grades 9-12 in a U.S. high school or an equivalent.

It is not required for a student to be part of an HSFSA chapter or any other organization to participate.

Participation is completely free.

Contest Rules

Topic: Select one form of diplomacy (i.e. economic, cultural, public, etc.) and discuss how it has evolved in the past 100 years. Feel free to select a country or region to use as an example or case study.

Length: Your essay should be no shorter than 500 and no longer than 750 words (not including the title and sources)

Sources: Standards of content and style from current edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers will be expected for (1) documentation of sources in the text of your essay; (2) the format of the list of works cited; and (3) margins and indentation. A bibliography following the MLA Handbook must be included.

Content and Judging: Submissions will be judged on the quality of analysis, quality of research, and form, style and mechanics. Successful entries will answer all aspects of the prompt and demonstrate an understanding of the Foreign Service. Essays will be judged blind through several rounds of judging. All decisions of the judges are final.


Fill out the submission form below. All fields on the online form are required, including uploading a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) file of your original work with a title, in English which should include a comprehensive list of sources consulted. Entries must be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman or an equivalent font with a one-inch margin on all sides of the page. It is advised that you have your teacher/sponsor review your essay before submitting it.

Do not place your last name or your school's name on any of the pages of the essay. Only the registration form should include this information. The existence of a High School Foreign Service Association chapter at your school will not be known to the judges and will not affect their decisions.

We will contact you within 24 hours of your submission to confirm that it has been received. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you do not hear from us.

Good luck!

Submissions close: November 6, 2022 (11:59 PM ET)

Additional Resources