Dean's Writing Award Contests

January 2014 - March 2015

The Dean’s office is again offering awards and cash prizes for superior writing by Guilford College students. The submissions must be work completed in courses by Guilford students, though the Poetry and Fiction contests will accept pieces completed outside a Guilford course. We encourage you to revise and polish your piece(s). The submissions will be read by a group of Guilford College faculty and staff members from across campus.

The awards:

  • Dean’s Award for First-Year Writing (cash prize $100)
  • Dean’s Award for Personal/Reflective Writing—for sophomores through seniors (cash prize $50)
  • Dean’s Award for Scholarly/Critical Writing—for sophomores through seniors (cash prize $50)
  • Dean’s Awards for Writing in the Physical and Natural Sciences (two cash prizes of $50 each)
  • The Betty Place Prize in Poetry (cash prize $50)
  • Dean’s Award for Fiction (cash prize $50)

The deadline to submit is 5 p.m., March 15.


First-Year Writing

Submissions may deal with any subject in any field and may range from personal and original response to more conventional scholarly writing. We will judge the essays on clarity, sensitivity and insight—criteria that are as appropriate to an autobiographical essay as to a scholarly work.

Personal/Reflective Writing

We will award first prize to that essay that best fuses voice, style and compositional skill in a non-scholarly context. Suitable essay types include narration, description and reflection. Sophomores through seniors are eligible.

Scholarly/Critical Writing

We will award first prize to that essay from the arts, business and policy studies, humanities or social sciences that explores an academic topic with the greatest originality and insight and the most engaging style. Sophomores through seniors are eligible.

Writing in the Physical and Natural Sciences

One award recognizes excellence in science writing for a general audience. Essays submitted in this category may present issues, controversies, phenomena or experiments. They may take the form of arguments or explanations.

The other award recognizes excellence in reporting a scientific investigation or experiment that the author him/herself has done as a Guilford student. This essay should address a scientifically sophisticated audience. We will judge the essays on suitability for the intended audience, value to the intended audience, clarity and scientific accuracy.

The Sue Keith Prize in Fiction

Fiction is an ancient and difficult art. The Dean’s Award for Fiction will celebrate the writer who best demonstrates a mastery of that art. Please submit one short story or excerpt from a novel (no longer than 20 pages) for consideration.

The Betty Place Prize in Poetry

This prize honors the memory of Betty Place, librarian and lover of words.This award will be presented to the student who demonstrates, with passion and precision, a control of that art. Students must submit three poems.


  • Essay/story entries are limited to one per student per contest. Students entering the poetry contest must submit three (3) poems.
  • Dean’s Award for First-Year Writing is reserved for pieces completed in any course during student’s first academic year.
  • Dean’s Award for Personal/Reflective Writing and Dean’s Award for Scholarly/Critical Writing are limited to sophomores-seniors.
  • All pieces should have been written between January 1, 2014 and March 15, 2015.
  • Essays should be presented in the format appropriate to the academic disciplines in which they were prepared, or in the case of an interdisciplinary essay, in the standard form most appropriate for the essay.
  • There are no length specifications except that the fiction entry must be no longer than 20 pages.
  • The deadline for submissions is 5 pm on March 15.

Dean's Writing Awards Submission Form