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Email lawsoflife@centerforcharacterethics.org

Frequently Asked Questions

The questions most often asked by teachers and contest sponsors

What Teachers Say
About the Contest

“The Laws of Life Essay Contest helped my students with their writing skills...”

Sample Essays

Read and be inspired by the winning essays from past years

Other Laws of Life resources:

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Templeton Foundation Laws of Life
Character Counts! Foundations for Life

BBB Laws of Life
Essay Contest

The Arkansas Statewide BBB Laws of Life Essay Contest is a competition for winners of local Laws of Life character-related essay contests. The Arkansas Center for Character Ethics sponsors the Statewide Contest to recognize the achievements of these exceptional youth who participate in local contests and to encourage schools and communities in Arkansas to engage in this enriching and valuable experience.

Entries for the 2016 Essay contest are due:

January 11, 2016



Frequently Asked Questions:

Eligibility for entering
What grade levels can participate?
What is the essay topic and length?
How many entries may be submitted?
Download contest forms
What are the judging criteria?
What awards are given?
Submitting entries by mail
When are entries due?


Eligibility for Entering

Any Arkansas school, classroom, or youth services/community organization that conducts a Laws of Life essay contest from August 2015- January 2016 may submit their local winners to the statewide contest.

Only essays that have been judged and won a local contest may be submitted to the Statewide Contest.

What grades levels are included?

Currently, the contest is open to students in grades 9 through 12.

What is the essay topic and is there a maximum length?

There is no specific essay prompt. Essays should follow the Laws of Life essay contest recommendations (see the Teacher Guide and Contest Manual in the resources section)and identify which one of the twenty UncommonSense™ themes that their essay addresses.

Essays should be no more than 3 typed, double spaced pages.  Finalists will be asked to submit an electronic version of their essays, so contest coordinators are encouraged to ask for electronic files from their winners also.

How many entries can each local contest submit to the statewide contest?

Each local contest may submit the top 2 essays in each classroom to the statewide contest.

Timeline and contest award ceremony

All entries must be submitted online or postmarked no later than January 11, 2016. Finalists will be notified prior to Awards Banquet. Each student finalist, their parents, teacher and the local contest coordinator will be invited to attend an Awards Banquet in April 5th, 2016. 

Judging criteria

Only essays that have won a local  Laws of Life essay contest may be submitted for judging in the statewide contest. Essays will be judged primarily on their content-whether they are positive and life-affirming, include a "law of life" that the author believes will make the world a better place, capture a value or ideal in a special way, or explain and relate a quote or "Timeless Truth" effectively. Some importance to presentation and the mechanics of writing will be considered in judging to the extent that the ideas put forth by the author are clearly understood. In cases where the content is judged as having equal merit, the essay which is better written or presented will be given a higher score. Before submitting essays, local contest coordinators should assure that students have proofed and typed their essays.
Click here for a sample scoring rubric


Cash prizes will be awarded in all four grade levels as well as for the teachers (or other school staff) that coordinate the local essay contest.  Amounts are indicated below. 

Cash Prize Categories

Level 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place Superior
Grade 12 $500 $250 $200 $100
Grade 11 $500 $250 $200 $100
Grade 10 $300 $150 $125 $100
Grade 9 $300 $150 $125 $100

Contest Coordinator
(each grade level)*

$100 $75 $50  $25

*maximum coordinator award $150

 School awards

School (local contest) with the highest number of essays written     $100        
School (local contest) with the highest percentage of their student body writing an essay $100        

 Submitting entries by mail

To submit entries by mail

  1. Fill out an entry form for each essay to be submitted (see "how many entries" above),
  2. Obtain the student and parent/guardian signatures and
  3. Paperclip (please no staples) the entry form to each essay. No names or identifying information should appear on the essays.
  4. Complete a Contest Coordinator Questionnaire and submit with your essays.
  5. Entries must be postmarked by January 11, 2016.
  6. Send entries and Contest Coordinator Questionnaire postmarked by January 11, 2016 to:
    Arkansas BBB Center for Character Ethics
    Laws of Life Essay Contest
    12521 Kanis Road
    Little Rock, AR 72211

For further contest information

Email mglancy@arkansas.bbb.org
or call 501-664-4888 x109 with questions or for further information.

Contest Forms

Entry form
Contest Coordinator Questionnaire