John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Essay Contest


United States citizens, 9th-12th grade

Type(s) of Writing

Argumentative, Analytical

Related Subject(s)

Politics, History 

Expected # of References


Word Limit



January 2025


The John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Essay Contest asks students to explore the meaning of courage through the lens of U.S. political history and rhetoric. As students question the obstacles and risks of political courage, they get the chance to draw from excerpts from JFK’s iconic book, Profiles in Courage, published in 1956. The essay contest asks writers to not only examine JFK’s political impact on America but allows them to analyze the challenges of political, moral, and social responsibility in a democratic republic. 

Every year, the JFK contest introduces a new topic, encouraging high school students (grades 9-12) to write a 700 to 1,000-word essay that addresses the prompt from a unique point of view. As the contest looks for an understanding of the topic, supporting research, and originality, young writers can expand their political knowledge as they build strong, logical arguments. A successful JFK essay, however, is more than a persuasive essay—it is a thoughtful, convincing paper that tells a story from American political history that has never been told before. 

The J&B consulting team works with students to ensure that their unique interests, ideas, and logic are creatively represented in a high-quality paper. By engaging in deep brainstorming sessions with J&B consultants, students emerge ready to examine the nature of political courage—with conviction and courage of their own. 


Essay Prompts

Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born. Include an analysis of the obstacles, risks, and consequences associated with the act. The essay may concern an issue at the local, state, national, or international level.