As I recall, writing an essay for school was not high on anyone's list of favorite things to do. But what if you could get paid for your efforts? Now were talking!

A contest from Family Dollar and Scotch-Brite gives kids a chance to win up to $25,000 for higher education. All you have to do is write an essay of 100-250 words that answers the question "How can higher education make a powerful difference in your life?"

You must be between the ages of 15 and 18 years to enter and a parent or legal guardian must give consent, review the official rules and sign the official entry form, if you are a minor. No purchase is necessary.


Entry forms are also available at participating Family Dollar Stores. The essay must be typed or neatly hand printed on a plain 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper. This is an important detail because, if your entry is submitted on any other size of paper, it will be disqualified. Watch your word count. To stay in the running, you've got to keep your essay between 100-250 words. Anything under 100 words or over the 250-word limit will automatically end up in the recycling bin.

Your essay must be an original creation, written by you and must not have been published anywhere else or submitted to any other contest. Once your masterpiece is completed, simply mail it and the entry form, neatly printed with your name, address and the rest of the required information, to the address printed on the bottom of the form. Entries must be postmarked by Sept. 30 and received by Oct. 7..

Two grand prizes of $25,000 each will be contributed to a new or pre-existing 529 college savings plan. You're responsible for telling them where you want the money deposited and/or opening a 529 with the financial institution of your choice (See official rules).

Twenty first prizes of $2,500 will be awarded, as well. This money will come in the form of a check made payable to the name of the winner. All told, $100,000 in prize money is up for grabs.

You've got 250 words to wow the judges with, including all the little ones like "a" and "I" so make every word count and you could get a leg up on your dream of a college education.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes tips and ideas for home decorating using only items from the dollar store.


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