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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 three 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 electronic application form
  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. Agree to the terms and conditions and submit the application form, essay, and writing assignment description.

Materials may also be submitted in person at the department's main office in 217 Nolte Center. [Printable form]

Please contact Michelle Lubbers with any questions.

Submission Deadline

  • Fall 2018 students must submit materials by 4 p.m. on December 12, 2018.
  • Spring 2019 students must submit materials by 4 p.m. on May 3, 2019.

Late applications will not be accepted. All winners will be notified by May 8, 2019.


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

  • 2017-2018
    • McKenna Dale
    • Anaa Jibicho
    • Michael Staff
    • Charles Bengtson
    • Eesha Irfanullah
    • Angela Rancone
  • 2016-2017
    • Adam Kostanecki - Excellence Award
    • Michael Leehan - Scott Jacobson Spirit Award
    • Julie Yuan - Excellence Award
    • Syreen Bnabilah - Excellence Award
    • Gayatri Narayanan - Scott Jacobson Spirit Award
  • 2015-2016
    • Hayley McCormack - Excellence Award
    • Jordan Sparks - Excellence Award
    • Xochitl Alejandra Villezcas - Excellence Award
    • Benjamin Ogilvie - Excellence Award
    • Sia Thao - Scott Jacobson Spirit Award
  • 2014-2015: 
    • Abigail Meyer
    • Sidney Paulson
    • Daniel Picardo
    • Cody Tucholke
  • 2013-2014:
    • Molly Anderson
    • Brady Becker
    • Ivy Johnson
    • Eric Osborn
    • Nathaniel Smith