Student Awards

ACA Foundation 2016 Graduate Student Essay Competitions

2016 Graduate Student Essay Competitions Winners Announced!

The 2017 Graduate Student Essay Competitions will open Fall 2016.

October 1, 2015

Welcome to the ACA Foundation 2016 Graduate Student Essay Competitions! This program is available to ACA student members and administered by the ACA Foundation. Since its inception, the ACA Foundation has been a strong supporter of graduate students in counseling. From scholarship awards for attendance at the ACA Annual Conference and Expo, to supporting the Graduate Student/New Professional Center and special education events at the conference, the ACA Foundation has taken an active role in helping counseling students become more involved in this exciting and demanding profession.

The ACA Foundation 2016 Graduate Student Essay Competitions, including the Future School Counselors Essay Competition (sponsored by the Roland and Dorothy Ross Trust) and the Graduate Student Essay Competition (sponsored by Gerald and Marianne Corey and Allen and Mary Bradford Ivey), will operate according to the following calendar:

  • The online essay submission form will go live on October 1, 2015.
  • All essays must be received by December 11, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST.
  • Award recipients will announced by January 29, 2016.
  • Essay competition winners will be recognized at the National Awards ceremony at the ACA 2016 Conference & Expo on April 2, 2016.

Essay Competitions
Two competitions for ACA student members are being held:

Graduate Student Essay Competition
 
Supported by Gerald and Marianne Corey and Allen and Mary Bradford Ivey (open to all ACA members enrolled in counseling-related graduate studies at an accredited college or university).

Future School Counselors Essay Competition 
Supported by the Roland and Dorothy Ross Trust (open to all ACA members enrolled in counseling-related studies at an accredited college or university leading to a career as a professional school counselor at the elementary, middle, or high school level).  Only future school counselors who intend to function in preK-12 educational settings are eligible.

Eligibility and Competition Rules

Only ACA student members can participate in the essay competitions (if not currently a member and you wish to join or renew, please go to www.counseling.org/membership). Participants may enter only one of the two competitions. 
    
Competitions are open to master's and doctoral level students. You must be a currently enrolled student (fall semester/term 2015), taking one or more graduate level courses at an accredited college or university.

For the ACA Future School Counselors Essay Competition, you must certify that you are working toward a career as a professional school counselor at the elementary, middle or high school level. 

Essays are to be 500 words or less in length, addressing the theme below, and submitted via the online essay submission form below (emailed or mailed submissions will not be accepted) by December 11, 2015 at 11:59 PM, EST.  

Previous grand prize winners are not eligible, but runners up and honorable mentioned awardees may submit essays.

The decisions of the judges are final. All entrants, by the act of entering, grant the American Counseling Association and the ACA Foundation the right to publish their essay as part of the post-competition publicity in ACA’s
Counseling Today magazine and on the ACA and ACA Foundation websites. There can be no substitution of prizes and no cash returned on any portion of the unused ACA eGift Certificate prizes. 

Prizes

Corey/Ivey Graduate Student Essay Competition

Grand Prize Winner (1)
  • $1,000 grant,
  • Complimentary registration to the ACA 2016 Conference & Expo,
  • $250 ACA eGift certificate, AND
  • Publication of essay in Counseling Today
Runners-up (5) Honorable Mention (10)

Ross Trust Future School Counselors Essay Competition

Grand Prize Winner (1)
  • $1,000 grant,
  • Complimentary registration to the ACA 2016 Conference & Expo,
  • $250 ACA eGift certificate, AND
  • Publication of essay in Counseling Today
Runners-up (5) Honorable Mention (10)

Essay Theme
Student members wishing to participate in either essay competition must address the following theme:

The ACA Governing Council recently endorsed a revision of the
Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MSJCC), which were developed by the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD).

ACA student members are asked to address what these competencies mean to them and identify ways in which they can be integrated into their formal education and eventual practice. Essayists may also speak to any challenges such integration might pose and offer solutions as to how such deterrents could be eliminated or alleviated.

It is recommended that you write your essay in the program of choice and then copy and paste it into the online submission form below.  Please retain a copy of your essay in case there is a problem in transmission of your entry. Neither ACA or the ACA Foundation is responsible if an entry does not reach us. Essay length is limited to 500 words. Entry deadline is 11:59 pm EST on December 11, 2015. 

Click here to read the 2015 grand prize winning essays.

Judging
All entries will be read by a team of experienced professional counselors and evaluated with respect to how effectively the essay addresses the subject and offers provocative insights into the profession of counseling and its future. Judges will want to see ideas well explained and supported, but will also be evaluating how effectively the essayist presented his/her view and how interesting that position will be seen by the counseling community at large.

Judging will be completed by mid-January so that winners can be notified in time to make plans to attend the ACA Conference & Expo, March 31-April 3, 2016, in Montreal. Grand prize winners will receive their grant at the ACA National Awards Ceremony on April 2nd, 2016.

Ready to enter? Complete the information requested on the entry form below and submit to ACA by December 11, 2015 at 11:59 pm, EST.

Contact Information
Questions? Email them to essaycontests@counseling.org.

The Essay Competitions are now closed.  

All entrants will be notified of status by January 29, 2016.

2015 Graduate Student Essay Competitions Winners
2015 Grand Prize Winning Essays - May CT
2014 Graduate Student Essay Competitions Winners


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Latest News

ACA Names Representatives to CDC Project

by Amber McLaughlin | Feb 27, 2014
Five expert members will contribute to the Safe and Supportive Schools Project, which will work with 19 state education agencies to promote the establishment of safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff as an approach to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of the 19 million new sexually transmitted diseases reported each year occur in young people, ages 15-24. In 2010, young people, ages 13-24, accounted for 21 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S.

This alarming trend clearly indicates that a change is needed in the standard national approach to addressing human sexuality. As part of its mission to enhance the quality of life in society and promote respect for human dignity and diversity, ACA supports a proactive approach to youth health and wellbeing. That’s why we have partnered with the American Psychological Association (APA) to implement the Safe and Supportive Schools Project (SSSP). 

Funded by the CDC for a five-year period, SSSP will work with 19 state education agencies to promote the establishment of safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff as an approach to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents.

ACA has selected five expert members who will review resources and provide implementation guidance for interventions that school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and school social workers can use in their districts.

Our representatives to the Safe and Supportive Schools Project are:

Vanessa Cantu, a school counselor at Besteiro Middle School in Brownsville, Texas.  Brownsville is currently the poorest city in the U.S. Consequently; Ms. Cantu works with many homeless students, as well as frequent drug users and students who are practicing unsafe sex.

Rick Gunsallus, PhD., who provides counseling services for schools in Broward County, Florida.  The county in which je works has the second highest number of new AIDS cases per capita in the U.S.  Dr. Gunsallus counsels homeless students, ESL students, and GLBTQ students.

Brian Law, a school counselor at Valdosta high School in Valdosta, Georgia. Mr. Law’s school has a 40% migrant population. He also has experience working in a Title I school.

Patrick Ryan Mullen, a doctoral student in Counselor Education. His dissertation is focusing on school counseling. Mr. Ryan has served as chair of the School Counseling department at Journeys Academy, an alternative and Title I school in Sanford, Florida.

Amanda Rumsey, a school counselor at McLendon elementary School in Decatur, Georgia. Ms. Rumsey enrolled in the doctoral counselor education program at Georgia State University. She has developed school-wide interventions for at-risk students.

"We are proud to play a role in this progressive initiative,” said Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji, President of ACA.  “Facilitating empowerment for youth to make better decisions early in life, rather than solely focusing on problems after they manifest down the road, is and always will be one of the underlying values of our profession.”

For additional information about the project, please contact David Kaplan at dkaplan@counseling.org.