The 2023 contest is closed. Winners will be notified in February 2024.
All eligible undergraduates are invited to submit a paper to the 2023 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 SFU faculty, retired SFU faculty, and writing specialist staff 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.
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, 2023.
Papers can 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.
Co-authored papers can be submitted to the contest. In such cases, one author will complete the submission process, however, all co-authors must agree to the submission. In the case where a co-authored paper wins, the prize money will be divided equally among all co-authors.
First Year Category
SFU undergraduate students who have completed 0-29 credit units as of September 1st 2023 may enter in this category.*
Middle Years Category
SFU undergraduate students who have completed 30-89 credit units as of September 1st 2023 may enter in this category.*
Fourth Year+ Category
SFU undergraduate students who have completed 90+ credit units as of September 1st 2023 may enter in this category.*
Plurilingual Prize Category
SFU undergraduate students who have completed any number of credit units as of September 1st 2023 may enter in this category.*
Learn more about the Plurilingual Prize here.
Winning entries in each category will be awarded a prize:
- First prize: $200
- Second prize: $150
- We will also award Honourable Mentions in each category
* Note: To be eligible, you must be working on your first undergraduate degree. Transfer credits are included in your total number of credits completed.
The contest opens on November 27th. Submissions will be paused December 23-January 1, and will re-open January 2-7. The contest closes January 7 (at midnight), or until the maximum number of papers has been received. We will accept the first 25 papers in each category.
Criteria for Submission
In each category, papers must be between 1,250 and 2,500 words long and be written in language and style understandable by an educated, interdisciplinary audience.
Word count does not include the abstract or references list. Papers that are more than 20 words over the word count, or more than 20 words under the word count, will not be accepted. Please revise your paper to ensure that it falls within the accepted word count.
Revisions to papers are allowed
While papers must have originally been written for a class, contest entrants are allowed to revise papers to fit the contest's criteria, particularly the word count and the expectation that the paper will be understandable by an educated, interdisciplinary audience. Students entering into the Plurilingual Prize category may be especially interested in revising a paper in order to engage with codeswitching and translingual writing strategies. Yes, this means you can bring in multiple languages in your paper!
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.
More information about submitting to the writing contest can be found on the Submission Instructions page.