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The Concord Review: The Complete Guide to Getting In

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Writer typing with retro writing machine. View from above.

The Concord Review: The Complete Guide to Getting In

For aspiring historians, the Concord Review offers a space to hone your research and writing skills. You’re encouraged to explore complex topics and construct arguments with precision and clarity. It’s a practical step toward building a solid foundation for college-level writing and beyond. Whether you’re aiming for a career in academia, law, journalism, or any field where critical thinking and analytical skills are paramount, the experience you gain from contributing to the Concord Review can be incredibly valuable.

What is the Concord Review?

Since its inception in 1987, The Concord Review has stood out as the only quarterly journal globally that publishes exceptional history essays written by high school students. It’s a unique forum where young historians get the chance to have their detailed research on various historical topics acknowledged and appreciated on an international stage.

The Review has published papers from students across 46 states and 41 countries, making it a truly global affair. The rigorous selection process, with an acceptance rate of around 5%, underscores the journal’s commitment to quality and excellence​​​​.

Who Can Participate?

The Concord Review is open to secondary students from all countries and schools. It provides a unique platform for young historians to contribute their academic work on any historical topic, ancient or modern, domestic or foreign.

The review welcomes papers ranging from 5,000 to 9,000 words, inclusive of Chicago-style endnotes and bibliography, and emphasizes that submissions must be the sole work of the author and not previously published elsewhere, except possibly in a publication of the secondary school the student attends. This inclusivity allows students from a diverse array of backgrounds and educational systems to participate, sharing their research and insights with a global audience​​.

Essay Requirements

  • You can submit a paper if you finished it before completing high school.
  • You must be the only author. If they find out your work isn’t original, they’ll tell your school, which could affect college admissions.
  • Your paper must be in English and not previously published, except in your high school’s publication.
  • Essays should be 5,000-9,000 words, with Chicago-style endnotes and bibliography.
  • Your essay can cover any historical topic and must be sent electronically.
  • Use Arabic numerals for endnotes, not Roman numerals. Include access dates for URLs.
  • Stick to one font family throughout, but you can use different styles within that family.
  • Don’t split lines in the middle using a return key. Only use returns to end paragraphs.
  • The Concord Review doesn’t include charts, photos, or graphics in essays.
  • Submit your document in MS Word or RTF format.
  • Name your file with your first and last name, followed by the first three words of your essay title, separated by underscores.

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Acceptance Procedure

The Concord Review accepts essays on a “rolling admissions” basis, and authors whose essays are chosen for publication will be notified by letter a month before their paper is published. The journal is published four times a year, and issues are released in September, December, March, and June.

Essays are eligible for consideration in the next four issues, and about 5% of submissions are accepted. If you are unsure whether your essay is a good fit for the journal, it is recommended that you submit it.

Author Benefits

When an author submits a paper and pays the submission fee, they will receive the next four digital issues of the journal. Authors can also opt to receive a printed copy of the journal for an additional $30 plus shipping. Reprints of individual essays are available for purchase through the Concord Review bookstore, with a minimum order of 12 copies.

Many authors have included these reprints in their college applications, as the Concord Review is unique in publishing the academic work of secondary students, making these reprints a valuable addition to any application.

Academic Standards

To assess the quality of the published historical essays, it’s recommended to read multiple issues of the journal. The journal publishes essays ranging from under 4,000 words to 21,000 words, with an average of around 8,500 words. Turabian (Chicago) endnotes and bibliographies are used.

Authors are advised to conduct thorough research on the topic and submit at least one draft before finalizing and proofreading. They have received essays from 46 countries so far, but not yet from all the 40,000 eligible secondary schools worldwide. The competition is international.

How To Prepare For Grad School

How to Get Into the Concord Review

1. Understand The Concord Review’s Mission

When you aim to get published in The Concord Review, the first step is understanding what the publication stands for. It’s a journal that values detailed research, historical accuracy, and contributions that add something new to the field of history. You should look at past issues to get a feel for the type of work they publish. This isn’t just about showing off what you know; it’s about contributing to a broader conversation. 

Your work should reflect a deep engagement with your topic, presenting a well-argued perspective that might offer readers new insights into historical events or figures. Remember, The Concord Review is looking for papers that not only recount historical facts but also make a compelling argument or reveal something previously overlooked. So, your goal is to write a paper that fits this mission by being both informative and thought-provoking.

2. Choose a Unique Historical Topic

Selecting the right topic is crucial. You want something that stands out because it hasn’t been explored extensively in the context The Concord Review caters to. This requires digging deeper than the surface and finding a niche that sparks your interest and potentially the interest of the journal’s readers. It could be a lesser-known event, an obscure figure whose actions had unforeseen consequences, or a fresh perspective on a well-trodden subject.

The uniqueness of your topic can be a significant factor in catching the attention of the editors. However, uniqueness alone isn’t enough; the topic should also have enough depth to support a detailed analysis. This means there should be sufficient resources for you to draw from and a rich narrative you can weave. Your chosen subject should challenge you to think critically and argue convincingly, contributing something valuable to the historical discourse.

3. Conduct Comprehensive Research

Doing thorough research is the backbone of any paper you submit to The Concord Review. You should look beyond textbooks and incorporate a variety of sources, such as academic journals, books, and primary documents like letters, diaries, or government records. This approach allows you to gather a wide range of perspectives on your topic, making your paper richer and more nuanced. The goal is to build a solid foundation of facts and viewpoints that support your thesis.

Remember, the quality of your research directly influences the strength of your arguments. It’s not just about quantity; it’s about finding information that truly enhances your narrative and supports your conclusions. Take the time to verify the accuracy of your sources and always cross-reference facts to ensure reliability. Your paper should showcase your ability to dive deep into a topic, uncovering and understanding its complexities.

4. Develop a Strong Thesis

Your paper needs a clear, strong thesis statement. This is the main argument or point that you’ll be making, and it guides the direction of your entire paper. A well-crafted thesis isn’t just an observation or a restatement of the topic but a claim that requires evidence and analysis to support it. Your thesis should reflect your unique perspective on the historical topic you’ve chosen and indicate the significance of your analysis. It’s the anchor of your paper, connecting all your research and arguments together.

As you gather information, think about what story you’re trying to tell. What conclusion do you want your readers to draw from your work? Your thesis should be specific enough to give your paper direction but flexible enough to allow for a detailed discussion. Crafting a strong thesis will help you stay focused and make your paper more compelling and persuasive.

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5. Write with Clarity and Precision

Writing clearly and precisely is essential for your paper to be considered by The Concord Review. Your ideas should be expressed in a way that’s easy to understand, without sacrificing depth or complexity. Avoid jargon and complex language that could confuse readers. Instead, focus on constructing sentences that convey your points effectively.

Each paragraph should have a clear purpose, contributing to the development of your thesis. Transition smoothly between ideas to maintain a coherent flow throughout your paper. This style of writing not only makes your paper more accessible to a broad audience but also demonstrates your ability to communicate complex ideas in a straightforward manner. Remember, the goal is to engage your readers, not to overwhelm them with overly complicated language.

6. Use Proper Citations

Accuracy in citations is critical when submitting to The Concord Review. Proper citation not only gives credit where it’s due but also strengthens your paper by demonstrating the breadth of your research. Follow the specified citation format meticulously, whether it’s MLA, APA, or another style, and ensure every source you reference in your paper is accurately cited. This includes both direct quotes and paraphrased ideas.

Citations show your commitment to academic integrity and allow readers to explore your sources further if they wish. They are the evidence backing up your thesis, making your argument more convincing. Taking the time to cite properly also reflects your attention to detail and respect for the scholarly work of others, both of which are qualities valued by The Concord Review.

7. Seek Feedback Before Submission

Getting feedback before you submit your paper can make a significant difference in its quality. Ask teachers, mentors, or peers to review your work. They can offer insights you might have missed, suggest improvements, and help you catch errors. It’s important to be open to constructive criticism as it can enhance the clarity, coherence, and overall impact of your paper.

Feedback can also help you refine your arguments and ensure your thesis is well-supported. When selecting reviewers, choose individuals who are knowledgeable about your topic or experienced in academic writing. Their guidance can help you polish your paper to meet the high standards of The Concord Review. Remember, the goal is to submit the best possible version of your work, and feedback is a valuable tool in achieving that.

a female student reading a college decline letter

 

8. Follow Submission Guidelines Carefully

Paying close attention to the submission guidelines is critical when you’re ready to send your paper to The Concord Review. These guidelines cover everything from the word count and formatting requirements to how and where to submit your work. Ignoring these details can result in your paper being rejected before it’s even read. Make sure your document adheres to the specified formatting standards, including font size, margins, and line spacing.

Also, be mindful of the word count limits; your paper should be long enough to cover your topic comprehensively but within the journal’s requirements. Before submitting, double-check the submission deadline and the method of submission to ensure your paper arrives on time and in the correct format. Attention to these details reflects your professionalism and respect for the publication’s process.

9. Edit and Proofread Thoroughly

Editing and proofreading are essential steps in preparing your paper for submission to The Concord Review. Start by reviewing your paper for any structural issues or arguments that need to be clarified or strengthened. Then, focus on the finer details, such as grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

It’s often helpful to read your paper out loud or have someone else read it to catch mistakes you might have missed. This process can also help you identify sentences that are unclear or awkwardly constructed. Remember, even small errors can distract from the quality of your research and argumentation. A clean, error-free submission demonstrates your dedication to excellence and your respect for the publication’s standards. Take the time to polish your paper until it’s the best it can be.

10. Showcase Your Passion for History

Your enthusiasm for history should shine through in your writing. This passion is what drives your research, fuels your analysis, and makes your paper compelling to read. It’s what can set your submission apart from others. Use your paper as an opportunity to share why the topic matters to you and why it should matter to the readers of The Concord Review.

Your genuine interest can inspire a similar curiosity and appreciation in your audience. However, remember to balance this enthusiasm with scholarly objectivity and a commitment to historical accuracy. Your passion should enhance your argument, not undermine it by leading to biased or unsubstantiated claims. Let your love for history motivate you to create a piece that not only meets the academic standards of The Concord Review but also contributes meaningfully to the ongoing exploration of our past.

11. Demonstrate Critical Thinking and Analysis

Critical thinking and analysis are key to creating a paper that stands out in The Concord Review. It’s not enough to simply recount historical facts or narratives; you must also interpret these events, offering insights that reveal deeper understandings or connections. Analyze the significance of the events or figures you’re discussing, questioning why they happened and what their impact was.

Look at the causes and effects, the differing viewpoints, and the lessons that can be drawn. Your analysis should be supported by your research, showing a thorough engagement with your topic. This depth of analysis not only demonstrates your intellectual abilities but also enriches the historical discourse. Aim to contribute a new perspective or insight that adds value to the field.

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12. Incorporate Diverse Perspectives

Including a range of perspectives in your paper enriches your analysis and reflects the complexity of history. It shows you’ve considered the topic from multiple angles and have a comprehensive understanding of it. Seek out sources that represent different viewpoints, including those that may have been marginalized or overlooked.

This approach can uncover new insights and provide a more nuanced view of your subject. It also demonstrates your ability to engage critically with a variety of sources and interpretations. By acknowledging and exploring these diverse perspectives, your paper will not only be more informative but also more reflective of the multifaceted nature of history.

13. Be Persistent

Persistence is crucial when aiming for publication in The Concord Review. If your paper is not accepted on your first try, don’t be discouraged. Use it as a learning opportunity. Review any feedback carefully and consider how you can improve your work. It might involve conducting more research, refining your thesis, or seeking additional feedback from mentors.

Remember, rejection is not a reflection of your potential as a historian. Many successful scholars faced setbacks before achieving recognition for their work. Stay committed to your research and writing, and continue to refine and resubmit your paper. Your perseverance not only shows your dedication to your historical interests but also helps you grow as a writer and researcher.

Final Thoughts

As you prepare to submit your essay to The Concord Review, remember that you’re not alone in this journey. Here at Admissionsight, we’re experts in the field of college admissions, including the intricacies of publications like The Concord Review. Our team is dedicated to helping students like you navigate the complexities of the application process and achieve your academic goals.

So, whether you’re seeking guidance on essay writing, submission strategies, or anything in between, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Together, we’ll ensure that your voice is heard and your achievements are recognized in the world of academia.

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