ACA Foundation's Annual Graduate Student Scholarship Competitions

Opportunities for Graduate Students:

Since its inception, the ACA Foundation has been a strong supporter of counseling graduate students. From scholarship awards for attendance at the ACA Annual Conference to underwriting 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.

Through the Graduate Student Scholarship Competitions, the ACA Foundation is able to provide financial support and recognition to deserving graduate students, while encouraging all counseling students to think about the future of this profession and the role they will be playing in it.

Two Competitions – Two Grand Prizes

This year two major competitions for counseling graduate students are being held:

  • Gerald and Marianne Corey Graduate Student Essay Competition
  • ACA Future School Counselors Essay Competition

Each competition offers a Grand Prize of:

  • $1,000 Grant
  • Free Registration for the ACA 2012 Annual Conference
  • Publication of the essay submission in Counseling Today

Each competition also provides 4 Runner-Up Prizes of:

  • $350 Grant
  • Free Registration for the ACA 2012 Annual Conference
  • Publication of the essay submission in Counseling Today

Each competition also provides 15 Honorable Mentions

  • Free Registration for the ACA 2012 Annual Conference

Entry Rules:

  • You must be a current ACA member (student or professional) (If not currently a member and you wish to join now, please click here)
  • You may enter only one of the two competitions.
  • You must currently be an enrolled student (Fall semester/quarter 2011) 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.
  • You must submit an essay, 500 words or less in length, addressing one of the subjects shown below, and you must submit that essay via the online essay submission site (emailed or mailed submissions will not be accepted).
  • You may not enter if you have won a cash or scholarship grant award in a past Graduate Student Essay or Ross Trust Competitions. (Please note that this years competitions have been renamed as Gerald and Marianne Corey Graduate Student Essay Competition and ACA Future School Counselors Essay Competition)
  • Your entry must be received no later than December 5, 2011 at 11:59 PM.

Required Essay:

Entries will be judged based on an essay which addresses ONE of the following subjects in 500 words or less.

  1. "We have seen a startling decrease in civility towards one another. Examples would be the political rhetoric by the leaders of our nation who attack a person as well as his/her ideas and by the media and its proclivity for focusing on the negative. People seem to be unwilling to want to listen to the other and only want to criticize a person whose ideas may differ from his or her own. They do this while offering little by way of suggestions on how to improve that to which they object. Do you agree with this observation? If so from your point of view as a counseling professional, what do you predict will be the impact of this trend on society should it continue, and how can we as counselors address this issue?"
  2. "Technological advancement seems to be the order of the day. How have these advancements impacted the quality of human relationships and the counseling profession?"
  3. "There have been many external forces in our society that have changed the counseling profession significantly in the recent past. Give two examples of these external influences and discuss how they have impacted the counseling profession."
  4. "Discuss the evolution of theoretical approaches to counseling in the context of societal trends."
  5. "According to a recent article on unemployment in The Washington Post (October 2, 2011) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 9% of Americans were defined as clinically depressed compared with an estimated 6.6% in 2001 and 2002. In that same article, another related study of the long-term unemployed by Rutgers University’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development found that 32% of the unemployed were experiencing a good deal of stress and an additional 47% stated that they had at least some stress over their joblessness. Discuss the toll of joblessness on the mental health of individuals most impacted by the uptick in unemployment since then and the current economic situation."

Judging and Awards

  • Entries will be verified to ensure that all the rules regarding length, deadlines, ACA membership and graduate enrollment have been met
  • Entries will be evaluated by one or more panels of experienced counselors who will assign scores to the essays based on how well an essay addresses the subject while showing insight into counseling, its challenges and future. Judges will want to see ideas well explained and supported, but will also be evaluating how interesting what is being presented will be to the counseling community at large.
  • Judging will be completed by mid-January so that winners can be notified in time to make travel plans to attend the ACA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Grand prize winners will receive their grant at the National Awards Ceremony on Saturday, March 24, 2012.

Ready to enter? Click here to go to the Entry and Essay Submission Form

Questions? Email them to: