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Essay Awards

NWCU Essay Contest

The Northwestern California University Awards in Liberty, Freedom, and Justice Essay Competition is an annual contest that is designed to motivate students to analyze the challenges faced by the founders of our nation, as well as by citizens today, to the fundamental values and legal principles of our society. The School awards three scholarship prizes of $1000 for excellence in essay writing as determined by the School's Awards Committee. Students are encouraged to write thought-provoking essays that reflect an understanding of the pioneering efforts of early Americans to establish liberty, freedom, and justice for our country and the impact of their efforts on modern society.

Awards and Topics

The names of the three individual awards and the essay topics are as follows:

John Lothrop Liberty Award (Click here: for John Lothrop biography)
Essay Topic: Liberty and the law

Frederick Douglass Freedom Award (Click here: for Frederick Douglass biography)
Essay Topic: Freedom and the law

Belva Ann Lockwood and John Rock Justice Award (Click here: for Belva Ann Lockwood biography) and (Click here: for John Rock biography)
Essay Topic: Justice and the law



To be eligible for participation in the essay competition, applicants must be currently registered students in good standing with the School (i.e. students on academic or non-academic probation will not be considered).

Essays will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Students are encouraged to develop their own perspective on a chosen topic through sound and compelling arguments towards a certain position with a clear thesis.

  • Essays must be well thought-out, creative, and display depth of feeling.

  • Essays must demonstrate proper formatting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

  • Essays must exhibit style and clarity.

  • Essays cannot be previously submitted to academic and/or non-academic institutions for any sort of credit, and must be original, unpublished work of the students.


To be considered for an award, the student should submit an essay of no fewer than 3000 words and no more than 5000 words on a theme selected from the School's three essay award topics listed above. Only one essay per student per contest year may be submitted. Submission of an essay written by multiple authors is not allowed. An essay must meet certain standards deemed as acceptable by the Awards Committee to win.

Essays submitted must arrive at the School between November 15 and December 1.


Each recipient of an award will receive a scholarship prize of $1000 applicable to future tuition. The awards will be made each year following the last week of December.

Instructions for Essay Submission

  • Select an essay topic from the Northwestern California University Awards in Liberty, Freedom, and Justice Essay Competition topic list above.

  • Write an essay of between 3000-5000 words. (Word count should not include name, title, and references.)

  • Submit the essay to the School in both paper printed format and in a Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) file on a Compact Diskette (CD) or USB Flash Drive.

Format essay as follows:

  • Use Times New Roman 12 pt. font.

  • Justify left and set page margins at 1 inch.

  • Include name and title at the top of each page.

  • Number references consecutively in the order that they appear in the text.

  • Submit essay by U.S. Mail or via Parcel Delivery Service to the "Awards Committee Chair" at the School's address.

Cancellation, rejection and changes:

NWCULaw reserves the right to modify or cancel all or any part of the contest and/or to reject certain entries if, by the deadline for submitting the essays, it has received entries which do not meet the formal contest requirements or ones that are not deemed by the School to meet minimum standards.

The School shall publish any significant changes to the contest requirements on the NWCULaw website, and reserves the right to make such changes at anytime. Students are advised to check for an updated version of the contest requirements before submitting papers to the School.