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Excellence in Writing Award

The FYW Program Excellence in Writing Award will be given to up to four outstanding essays written by current undergraduate students in a first-year writing course during the academic year. The award recognizes the writing that is generated out of WRIT 1301: University Writing and WRIT 1401: Writing and Academic Inquiry, the first-year writing courses.

Winners will receive a prize, a certificate, and publication on the First-Year Writing Program's Digital Conservancy page. The award winner will be announced at the First-Year Writing Program Symposium in the spring.

Scott Jacobson

The Scott Jacobson Spirit Award

The Scott Jacobson Spirit Award recognizes one piece of student writing that best embodies the virtues of our beloved colleague Scott Jacobson: vitality, concise wit, and humor.

This award is open to all first-year writing students who have completed or are currently enrolled in WRIT 1301 or 1401 during fall or spring of the current academic year. All submissions collected each semester through the Excellence in First-Year Writing Award process will be considered for the Scott Jacobson Spirit Award. A faculty committee of 3 readers named by the First-Year Writing Program director will review submissions and identify the yearly winner in spring semester.


  • Authors must be an undergraduate student enrolled in either a fall or spring section of WRIT 1301 or 1401 of the current academic year.
  • Original essays must have been written in response to an assignment in WRIT 1301 or 1401.
  • Essays written in any genre for the class are acceptable.
  • Authors must be registered students as of May of the current academic year at the University of Minnesota in order to receive the award.
  • Only one entry per student is eligible for submission.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Fill out the application form. Remember to sign and date it.
  2. Attach a typed, double-spaced, clean copy of your essay. Remove your name, but keep the title.
  3. Attach the writing assignment the essay was written to fulfill. Your application will not be considered without the assignment sheet. See your instructor if you need a copy.
  4. Submit the application form, essay, and writing assignment description to the Department of Writing Studies in person or by email.
    • Materials can be submitted in person at the department's main office in 214 Nolte Center.
    • Materials can be emailed to with the subject line "FYW Writing Award."

Submission Deadline

  • Fall 2015 students must submit materials by 4 p.m. on December 14, 2016.
  • Spring 2016 students must submit materials by 4 p.m. on May 5, 2017.

Late applications will not be accepted. All winners will be notified by May 10, 2017.


Winning submissions are available to read via the University Digital Conservancy.

  • 2014-2015: 
    • Abigail Meyer
    • Sidney Paulson
    • Daniel Picardo
    • Cody Tucholke
  • 2013-2014:
    • Molly Anderson
    • Brady Becker
    • Ivy Johnson
    • Eric Osborn
    • Nathaniel Smith