Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.
The American Mind—the very character of what it means to be an American—is changing. Where once “being an American” meant respecting others’ freedom of speech, colleges now disinvite speakers who fail to affirm what student bodies already think; where once Americans cared about working hard, we now opt for temporary gigs rather than long-term jobs; where once Americans cared about informed voting, we now vote with a sports mentality, rooting for our favorites while knowing little about where they stand.
We at Templeton Press think it's important to recognize these changes and engage with them critically. Thus we have asked students—either graduating high school students or current undergraduates—to create an essay or a video responding to one of the following topics: