BLUE PROGRAM

Contests & Journals 

(Grades 8-11)

At a Glance (2023)

You are in the midst of your high school career. As you navigate your coursework, try out new extracurricular activities, and even begin studying for your SATs in advance, one thing remains certain: everything you do now will prepare you for the years that follow. This is the period where every research topic you explore, every essay you write, and each unique idea you have has an impact on the rest of your life.

This is the time to test your knowledge, explore your intellectual curiosity, and challenge yourself to think outside the box. As you expand your academic interests and develop your voice as a writer, now is the ideal time to enter essay contests and journals. Top-tier competitions and journals—such as John Locke, Concord Review, John F. Kennedy Essay Contest, and the Harvard International Review—all allow you to explore exciting and vastly different forms of essay writing. Whether you are interested in crafting a philosophical essay, writing an opinion piece, conducting an in-depth analysis of a text, or engaging in deep research for an article, an essay contests and journals are the best way to turn your ideas into tangible results.

The J&B team is dedicated to creating competitive essays and supporting the learning processes behind them. By working one-on-one with a team of trained consultants, you can break down essay writing—from ideation and brainstorming to outlining and editing. J&B will work closely with you to ensure that your essay represents who you are as an innovative thinker. Your final essay not only stands a chance of winning an award (a great addition to any college resume) but is a memento of the hard work you put into perfecting your writing!

We at J&B understand that no students have the exact same interests: whether you are a passionate creative writer, a philosopher, an economist, or an environmental advocate, J&B provides personalized guidance in recommending essay contests and journals that suit you best. As you work with our team of experienced consultants, you will get the chance to not only discover who you are but see where your ideas will take you in the future.

J&B provides support and guidance for the following essay contests and journals:
✓ Concord Review
✓ Journal of Student Research (JSR)

✓ John Locke Essay Competition
✓ Ayn Rand Anthem Essay Contest
✓ Harvard International Review Academic Writing Contest
✓ Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
✓ Harvard International Economics Essay Contest
✓ International Social Science Conference for Youth (ISSCY)
✓ Bennington College Young Writers Awards

✓ Columbia Undergraduate Law Review High School Essay Contest
✓ John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Essay Contest
✓ International Philosophy Olympiad

Our Clients

Overview

Ayn Rand Anthem Essay Contest

Overview

You will learn how to present your argument in a compelling manner, logically format your essay, and conduct in-depth analyses of key quotes, notable events, and character traits.

Target Audience

Students interested in Philosophy, English literature, or persuasive writing. 

Length

2 months

Journal of Student Research (JSR)

Overview

You will learn how to structure a review article or research project, conduct scholarly research, ask and answer research questions, prepare a literature review, and contribute to an existing field of research. 

Target Audience

Students interested in the social sciences or the humanities. 

Length

3 months

Harvard International Review Academic Writing Contest

Overview

You will understand how to write an analytically-backed article, address an international issue, identify a problem, and formulate a solution using journalistic language. 

Target Audience

Students concerned with international affairs. 

Length 
3 months 

Columbia Undergraduate Law Review High School Essay Contest 

Overview

You will develop a brief research essay that discusses law-related issues. 

Target Audience

Students who enjoy thinking and writing about current issues.

Length

3 months 

John Locke Global Essay Competition

Overview

You will learn how to create a strong thesis, back up your arguments with scholarly sources, logically defend your claims, and practice using academic language to present your ideas. 

Target Audience

Students passionate about Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology, or Law. 

Length

3 months 

International Social Science Conference for Youth (ISSCY)

Overview

You will understand how to write a research paper proposal, structure your research paper, identify an important research topic, conduct deep scholarly research, and creatively answer your research questions.

Target Audience

Students excited to write about the humanities or social sciences. 

Length

3 months 

Concord Review

Overview

You will understand how to write an analytically-backed article, address an international issue, identify a problem, and formulate a solution using journalistic language.

Target Audience

Students who enjoy writing and learning about History. 

Length

6 months

Bennington College Young Writers Awards

Overview

You will develop your personal writing skills for poetry, a short story, a one-act play, or a personal/academic essay. This competition is mainly focused on creative writing.

Target Audience

Students who enjoy writing and reading creatively about various topics. 

Length

2 months

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Overview

You will understand how to craft a creative piece of writing, incorporating originality, problem-solving skills, and structure as you draw from your interests, personal experiences, and/or imagination. 

Target Audience

Students interested in writing Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, memoirs, or critical essays. 

Length

2 months

John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Essay Contest 

Overview

You will learn how to identify key political events and figures, construct a thesis, conduct scholarly research to back up your claims, present an original argument, and logically organize your essay. 

Target Audience

Students interested in History or Politics. 

Length

3 months

Harvard International Economics Essay Contest 

Overview

You will learn how to apply economic theories, build a convincing argument, conduct scholarly research, use academic writing skills, and defend your point of view using logic. 

Target Audience

Students interested in writing or learning about Economics.

Length 

2 months

International Philosophy Olympiad

Overview

You will contribute to the development of critical, inquisitive and philosophical thinking. You will use philosophy to think and write critically about various issues/ideas that matter in life.

Target Audience

Students who enjoy applying philosophical ideas to concrete situations.

Length

3 months 

Consulting Process

[Step 1] Orientation
We want to ensure that our clients are fully informed of all the details associated with consulting steps. During the orientation, we will go over each consulting step in detail, address any questions/concerns, introduce our project platform (on which clients should upload comments, questions, drafts and other documents) and how to utilize it. Prior to moving on to the next step, any of the client's questions and/or concerns will be clearly addressed. 

[Step 2] Ideation & Brainstorming

One does not need to emphasize how important it is to have good ideas in essay writing. We (“J&B”) certainly know what they are. Good ideas are the ones uniquely generated and selected by the writer, and they directly contribute to producing a final draft both logical and creative. In this step, J&B methodologically help clients come up with not just so-so but superb ideas for their competition essays. 

[Step 3] Topic Confirmation
By the end of Ideation & Brainstorming session, clients should expect to have working but less concrete ideas for their potential essay topic(s). That is absolutely fine. In this step, J&B helps polish the rough, incomplete ideas. How so? Well, by providing clients with top three topics of their interest and passion. This is feasible, for we are relying on the client's ideas and thoughts gathered in Ideation & Brainstorming session. We make sure we fully utilize the client's ideas and thoughts in order to transform them into a list of competitive topics that fully reflects the client's interest and passion.  

[Step 4] Lecture
Once the topic is selected and finalized, we are ready for the lecture. In this step, our consulting team prepares and provides clients with a detailed, PowerPoint-based lecture on the selected topic. The clients are additionally provided with ten scholarly journals to review and prepare to actively engage in discussions for Step 4, which is a seminar session. 

[Step 5] Seminar/Debate
Prior to this step, we expect clients to thoroughly re-review the lecture slides as well as scholarly journals provided with. In this step, we engage in active discussions with clients on three to five journals of our choice. Clients should expect to, for example, restate the writer’s thesis in their own words, formulate counterarguments that would potentially invalidate the writer’s claim(s) and others. By the end of Seminar/Debate session, clients should be ready to begin working on an outline.

[Step 6] Philosophical Logic
In this step, clients will be provided with a lecture on essential philosophical logic, leading to produce an essay that is clear, concise and convincing. Without logic, it is near impossible to establish the aforementioned attributes. Clients are expected to learn, discuss and apply some of the essential philosophical logic into their drafts. We need logic to make sure a final essay makes sense.


[Step 7] Outline
In this step, clients will be provided with J&B outline template, model outline and reading sources. It is vital to fully understand the underlying structure and logic in the outline template. A pursuit of essay writing is both creative and logical. Merely having creative ideas is not enough; having a solid, logical structure with compelling evidence to adequately embrace those ideas is equally important to produce a unique, superior final draft. We need both art and science to create a masterpiece.  

[Step 8] First Draft
Once clients fully review and understand the outline template, model outline and reading materials provided in the previous session, they are now ready to work on a first draft. A significant number of our clients have greatly benefited from the resources, especially the model outline. The outline – typically 7-12 page-long – is detailed and clear enough for the clients to fully understand the content (e.g. thesis, claims, etc.) as well as underlying logical structure. Don’t worry if the first draft seems rough and incomplete! It is supposed to be, indeed, rough and incomplete at this stage. 

[Step 9] Editing & Feedback #1
In this step, it is J&B’s full responsibility to make thorough, detailed edits as well as provide meaningful feedback to the first draft produced by clients in First Draft step. We utilize comments when giving feedback; moreover, we ensure to correct inconsistencies, logical fallacies, awkward, ungrammatical sentences, and others. Our edits and feedback are detailed, clear and meaningful.

[Step 10] Second Draft
After thoroughly reviewing the edits and feedback provided in Editing & Feedback #1 step, clients are now ready to revise the first draft, which ultimately becomes a second draft. We expect they carefully review and consider our feedback left in comments accordingly. In case clarification or/and elaboration required, we can be readily reached on a clients’ project platform. 


[Step 11] Editing & Feedback #2
In this step, we conduct a thorough review on your second draft, ensuring logic, flow, arguments, analysis, evidence and grammar are flawless. In areas where we think could further improve, sample sentences will be provided for clients to better understand what they need to do in the next step. At J&B, we are not passively telling clients what to correct; we are actively showing them what and how to correct. We are not the ones who simply comment or/and suggest, we are problem solvers, the ones that actually solve the client's problems in essay writing. 

[Step 12] Final Draft
This is the last opportunity for the client to make any revision if needed. Based on the comments and edits provided in the previous step, our consulting team expects the client to re-review a second draft along with, of course, our edits and incorporate changes as needed. In case there is need to add additional references, the client can certainly do so. Moreover, if there is any request or suggestion for our team, this is the perfect opportunity to let us know. 

[Step 13] Final Editing & Polishing
In this step, we ensure to review and correct, if needed, all errors, both big and small. Moreover, we polish any word, sentence or paragraph that requires further improvement. J&B believes, based on experience, that an infinite number of revisions do not necessarily lead to a more quality draft; rather, it often results in, oy vey, a worse quality draft. Our edits, feedback and polishing are quality-oriented not quantity-oriented. 

[Step 14] Evaluation
Upon satisfactorily producing a final draft, our next and final step of consulting is so-called evaluation. We thoroughly evaluate clients’ writing skills based on session participation (e.g. ideation & brainstorming, seminar, etc), first and second drafts. It is our aim that clients meaningfully utilize the evaluation along with other academic resources and experience gained from consulting when working on other essays in future. We truly hope the experience with us will help them become more independent, competent essay writers.

Case Studies

[Case #1]
"Harvard International Economics Essay Contest (HIEEC)_Finalist"

[Case #2]
"The New York Times Editorial Contest_Runners-Up"

[Case #3]
“John Locke Essay Competition
Finalist”

[Case #4]
Concord Review - Published
"Capturing Key Details for the Concord Review"

[Case #5]
ISSCY - Published
“Preparing For a Future Career: Writing a Research Paper for ISSCY"

[Case #6]
JSR-Published
“Fine-Tuning a Research Paper for the Journal of Student Research"

Interested in our Blue Program? 

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