Educator Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is there a deadline to submit essays?

A: No.  We welcome student essays at any time.

Q: How long should my students’ essays be?

A: A This I Believe essay should be approximately 500 words, or about three minutes when read aloud at a natural speaking pace.

Q: How do I submit my students’ essays?

A: Our preference for accepting essay submissions is through our online submission form.  We are no longer accepting essays by U.S. Mail.

If your students are under the age of 18, we ask that your students’ parents or guardians be involved in the submission process. Please direct parents to our website if they wish to submit their child’s essay to our online Essay Collection.

For Students Age 12 and under: It is the policy of This I Believe to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which is aimed at strengthening protection for minors on the Internet.  For this reason, if your students are age 12 or younger, we ask that parents submit only the name and age range of the student in the online submission form.  All other contact information should be for the parent or guardian.

Q: How do I know you received my students’ essays?

A: When your student successfully submits an essay through our web site, he or she will see an on-screen message that says the essay was received. In addition, he or she will receive an email with information about the review process. Your students will receive another email when their essays have completed the review process and have been posted to the This I Believe Essay Collection on our web site.

Q: Will my students’ essays be posted on the This I Believe web site?

A: Yes, all essays that fit within the This I Believe guidelines and are submitted through our online form will be posted to the This I Believe Essay Collection online. Essays are not automatically posted; they must first go through a review process. Editorial decisions are at the sole discretion of This I Believe, Inc.

Q: Will my students’ essays be on public radio?

A: This I Believe Inc. considers all essays submitted to us for possible broadcast on The Bob Edwards Show. Should we select one of your students’ essays, we will be in touch with him or her to make arrangement for recording. Currently, we receive more than 400 essays per week, while only one essay is broadcast in that same time period.

Q: May I make copies of essays to use in my classroom?

A: This I Believe, Inc., generally grants permission for copies to be used in classrooms as long as the text is being used in a single classroom and a fee is not being charged for the materials. However, there are certain copyright protection laws now in place for the essays that appear in any of our published collections of essays. Essays in our books are no longer being made available for copying or printing from our website. If you wish to make copies of essays beyond these terms, please feel free to contact our Permissions Director with details of your request.

Q: How may I contact someone at This I Believe?

A: Our staff is available to assist you with specific questions about bringing This I Believe to your classroom.  Please write us via our Contact Us page.