Note that the 2018 writing contest is now closed. Winners will be announced in February 2019. 

All eligible undergraduates are invited to submit a paper to the 2018 Student Learning Commons writing contest (one entry per eligible student). 

Winning entries will be awarded a cash prize. All winners and “honourable mention” papers will be published in this open access journal as examples of strong writing across the disciplines.

All submissions will be pre-screened for eligibilty by Graduate Writing Facilitators who work for the SLC. Papers will then be assessed by a panel of judges comprised of volunteer SFU faculty members. After the judges have made their selections, the SLC will run the winners and honourable mentions by the instructors for whom the papers were originally written before announcing the winners. 

The SLC warmly encourages submissions from students for whom English is an additional language. Elements that are unique to writing in an additional language will be considered when selecting contest winners.

Eligibility

In each category, students are invited to enter a paper that has been or will be submitted to any SFU course between January 1 and December 31, 2018.

Papers may be revised before submission in order to meet the contest guidelines and to address outstanding comments from the professor or TA. Students may choose to attend an SLC writing consultation to support their revisions.

Lower Division Category 

SFU undergraduate students who have completed 15-59 credit units as of September 1st 2018 may enter in this category.*

Winning entries will be awarded a prize:

  • First prize: $200
  • Second prize: $150
  • Third prize: $100

Upper Division Category 

SFU undergraduate students who have completed 60+ credit units as of September 1st  2018 may enter in this category.*

Winning entries will be awarded a prize:

  • First prize: $200
  • Second prize: $150
  • Third prize: $100

* Note: To be eligible in either category, you must be working on your first undergraduate degree. Transfer credits are included in your total number of credits completed. 

Deadline

The contest opens on November 1st and  submissions will continue to be accepted until December 16th 2018, or until the maximum number of papers has been received. We will accept the first 25 papers in each category. 

Papers received after the first 25 will be placed on a wait list. If the first 25 papers received are not strong enough to award a full complement of prizes, we will consider additional papers in the order in which they are received.

Criteria

Criteria for Submission 

In each category, papers must be between 1,250 and 2,500 words long, be in English, and be written in language and style understandable by an educated, interdisciplinary audience.

Criteria for Adjudication 

Higher order concerns

  • The paper’s central thesis, focus, hypothesis, or observation is perceptive, incisive, and richly developed.
  • Research is employed in developing the key argument and is compared and contrasted (as appropriate).
  • A deep, nuanced understanding of the subject matter is evident throughout the paper.
  • The writing style engages the reader.
  • The paper is well organized.

Lower order concerns

  • Skillful transitions between paragraphs and arguments
  • Vocabulary is well-chosen and there is variety in sentence structures.
  • Few, if any, errors in citation.
  • Factors such as grammar, mechanics, syntax, word choice, sentence structure and punctuation will be considered in a manner that does not disadvantage writers who have English as an Additional Language

Judges are encouraged not to discount papers that are “written with an accent” by EAL writers, while otherwise meeting the demands of excellence according to the criteria. “Writing with an accent” means the expression doesn't interfere with meaning. That is, as we read, we easily incorporate the "accent."

Contest entrants are allowed to revise papers they have originally submitted for a course to fit the contest's criteria, particularly the word count and the expectation that the paper will be understandable by an educated, interdisciplinary audience.

To support you in meeting the contest criteria, we strongly encourage you to attend an SLC writing consultation about your paper before submitting it for the contest. Book a writing consultation.

Timeline

After the judges have made their selections, the SLC will run the winners and honourable mentions by the instructors for whom the papers were originally written. If an instructor expresses a concern about a paper, that paper will be disqualified from the contest.

Winners will be contacted and results will be posted on the SLC website early February 2019.

A celebration of contest winners will be held in the W.A.C Bennett library (SFU Burnaby) in February 2019, date TBA. 

Judging Panels

Lower Division Judges: 

Dr. Sheri Fabian - Criminology 

Dr. Clare McGovern - Political Science

Dr. Mark Lechner - Faculty of Health Sciences

 

Upper Division Judges: 

Dr. Mark Fettes - Faculty of Education

Dr. Deanna Reder - English/First Nations Studies Departments 

Anne-Kristina Arnold - Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology 

 

Submission Instructions 

More information about submitting to the writing contest can be found on the Submission Instructions page