High School Essay Contest
This program enhances Rice’s relationship to a High School audience generally not represented in substantial ways in its undergraduate population. Students at some of the more economically challenged HISD high schools are invited to participate in this essay contest that encourages them to think creatively about solutions to problems facing their communities. Winners receive scholarships and a Princeton Review SAT Preparation course taught at the Rice Campus. All entrants are invited to Rice for an essay-writing workshop that includes presentations from admissions/financial aid counselors.
Thank you to Charlos and Lee M. Riley Endowed Fund for their generous support of CERCL's High School Outreach Initiative.
In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and ongoing changes to Rice University and HISD's Spring semester we are postponing the 2020 HS Essay Contest Deadline until further notice.
HISD STUDENTS PARTICIPATED IN THE CONTEST SINCE 2008
OF THE PARTICIPANTS WHO APPLIED TO RICE WERE ADMITTED
rate is 9%)
STUDENTS WHO ATTENDED THE SAT PREP COURSE RAISED THEIR SCORES
AN AVERAGE OF
Participating Schools & Students
Houston Independent School District (HISD)
Title One schools (with acceptable or recognized rating from the Texas Education Agency)
Sophomores (with 3.0 GPA or Top 10% of his/her class)
Students write an essay (500-750 words) on a topic meant to engage critical thinking. The Selection Committee (composed of Rice faculty/staff/students) will review the essays and select the winners. The review committee’s criteria are as follows:
Complexity of thought
Ambitious and well structured approach to the designated topic
Successful argumentation and execution of the idea
Compliance with the length limitation
CERCL is committed to developing awardees’ overall scholarly excellence and maximizing their potential as college applicants
Rice students visit participating high schools each year
All entrants attend a full day workshop covering general and college essay writing, an admissions talk and tour of campus
Princeton Review SAT Prep Course
Top ten essay writers attend a summer intensive SAT preparation course
Through close contact with Title I Coordinators, College Coordinators and English Department Chairs and teachers we are able to offer opportunities through partnerships with other Rice Departments and community Partners
First Place $1000
Second Place $750
Third Place $500
Top 10 students attend a summer intensive SAT Prep course at Rice University
Plaque for the School with five or more winning essays
College essay and admissions workshop at Rice University for all students who enter the contest
Previous Essay Contest Questions
“What is the most important issue facing Houston during the Twenty-First Century?”
CERCL's founding Director, Anthony Pinn, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and professor of religious studies, and Ana Cuello, the first place winner of our 2009 Essay Contest were featured on KRIV-TV's 'Hola Houston'.