Student Awards

ACA Foundation 2018 Graduate Student Essay Competitions

Welcome to the ACA Foundation 2018 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 annual 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 2018 Graduate Student Essay Competitions, including the Future School Counselors Essay Competition (sponsored by the Roland and Dorothy Ross Trust) and the Tomorrow's Counselors 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 Monday, October 2, 2017.
  • All essays must be received by January 9, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST.
  • Award recipients will announced by early February 2018.
  • Essay competition winners will be recognized at the National Awards ceremony at the ACA 2018 Conference & Expo  in Atlanta, Georgia.

Create a new log in and submit your essay here.

Click here to review rules, eligibility, and prizes for the Essay Competition


Essay Theme Options

ACA student members wishing to participate in either essay competition must address one of the following themes:

Option A

Essay applicants for either the Tomorrow’s Counselors Competition or the Future School Counselors Competition can answer the following question:

As a professional counselor, how would you promote openness and inclusion in your work? Furthermore, how would you reach out and support under-served and underrepresented clients?

OR

Option B

Essay applicants should respond to the appropriate theme below:

Corey/Ivey Tomorrow's Counselors Competition

Strategies professional counselors can employ in addressing the current opioid crisis in America

Ross Trust / Future School Counselors Competition

The role of the professional school counselors in promoting career and college readiness with under-served and underrepresented students

Only one essay can be submitted. 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 nor 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 January 9, 2018. 

Create a new log in and submit your essay here.

Contact Information

Questions? Email them to fburtnett@counseling.org.

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Latest News

ACA Names Representatives to CDC Project

by User Not Found | 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.