Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a deadline to submit an essay?

No. We welcome your essay at any time.

How long should my essay be?

Essays should be approximately 500 words, or about three minutes when read aloud at your natural speaking pace.

How can I improve my essay before I submit it?

First, tell us a compelling story about how you came to hold an important personal belief—something that guides your daily living. Your story can illustrate a time that belief was challenged, or how that belief shapes your daily activities. Try sharing one belief instead of composing a list of all of your beliefs. Just make sure your essay is about your own experiences, not simply an opinion about a social issue.

How do I know you received my essay?

When you successfully submit your essay through our website, you will see an on-screen message that your essay was received. In addition, you should receive a confirmation email.

Can I submit an essay via regular mail?

We are no longer accepting essays by U.S. Mail. To have your essay included in our online Essay Collection, please submit your essay on-line.

What happens to my essay after I submit it?

A team of essay reviewers reads every essay that is submitted to our project. At the completion of our review process your essay will then be entered into our online database (found at www.thisibelieve.org). You should receive an email that lets you know when we have completed review of your essay and when your essay has been placed in the online Essay Collection for everyone to read.

Does This I Believe publish every essay it receives?

This I Believe is not a “contest,” but a community conversation. Therefore, every essay we receive is a valued part of our project. However, we do not accept essays that are not about personal belief, and we do not accept essays that do not fit within our guidelines. All other essays will be considered for inclusion on our website. Editorial decisions are at the sole discretion of This I Believe, Inc.

I have submitted an essay, but now I can’t find it. How do I find my own essay?

You can search for your essay on our website by following these directions. While at thisibelieve.org, mouse over the top header “Explore,” then scroll down and click on “Essay Search.” On this page, fill in your first name and last name in the appropriate fields. You will notice that only your first name will be seen on the web page with your essay. We do not publish last names or other personal information on our website. The only exceptions to this rule are essayists who have granted permission for use of their last name or essayists from the original 1950s series.

Can I fix typos in my essay after it has been submitted?

This I Believe is not able to make any corrections to essays after they have been submitted to our project. Please be sure to proofread your essay carefully before submitting it to us.

My essay has strong language. Will you accept it?

The best way to answer this question is to let you know that many, many students from middle school age and up are given the assignment of looking through our online Essay Collection to find essays they like or can relate to.  While we do understand that the use of certain words may have a deep impact on the story you are telling, we do reserve the right to change certain words to asterisks (e.g., ****) before we publish that essay online.  We try very hard to both protect the integrity of the essays published and protect the young readers who visit our website.

Can I submit my essay to other publications after I have submitted it to This I Believe?

Yes. This I Believe does not own the copyright to your essay. We simply ask that you submit your essay elsewhere with a title of your own choosing. Please do not name your essay “This I Believe” or include that in the title, as that name is copyrighted by our organization.

Can my child submit an essay?

We welcome essays from young people; however, their parents must be a part of the submission process. You can read the details on our submission agreement.

When can I hear new essays?

This I Believe is currently featuring a new essay each week on The Bob Edwards Show, on both public and satellite radio. If you miss the radio broadcasts, you can hear our weekly essay online and in our free, downloadable podcast.

How can I contact the author of my favorite essay?

We do not share personal contact information for any of our essayists. However, you may share your thoughts about a specific essay or your comments about the series by visiting our contact page.

How can I get a transcript of an essay?

You can print transcripts of the essays from our website using your browser’s print function. Most essays may be printed for personal use; 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.

How can I get a book or audio recordings of the 1950s essays?

In 2010, This I Believe, Inc., published a collection of 50 essays from Edward R. Murrow’s original radio series. In addition, we have two CDs available with some of the most requested audio essays from the 1950s. Please visit our Store to learn more.

How can I obtain resources to bring This I Believe into my classroom, civic group, or place of worship?

Visit our Educators and Communities, and House of Worship pages to learn more about the materials we have available.