Loyola University Chicago

Student Transitions and Outreach

Division of Student Academic Services

Essay Contest

Each year, first-year students are invited to share their reflections on the First-Year Text in what might be their first college essay. This is an opportunity to engage a piece of written work and relate it to the themes that define a Loyola education:

  • Diversity
  • Educating the Whole Person
  • Faith
  • Global Awareness
  • Intellectual Inquiry
  • Men and Women for Others
  • Pursuit of Excellence
  • Seeking God in All Things
  • Service to Humanity
  • Social Justice
  • Values-Based Leadership

Contest Rules

Length & Content

Your Year 1 Essay should be 400–600 words. It is a reflection on the First-Year Text, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, and how it connects to the themes and values of a Loyola education. You may use any of the above values, such as Social Justice, Service to Humanity or Values-Based Leadership. Personal anecdotes and reflections are welcome.


Please submit your essay by Monday, September 19, 2016 at http://www.luc.edu/firstyearexperience/first-yearessaycontest/. Remember to include your name, cell phone number, and email address so we can contact you if you are a finalist in the contest.


Submissions to the Year 1 Essay Contest can be considered for one or both prizes: (1) a book scholarship to cover all text books for the Spring semester, and (2) a speaking engagement with Communities in Conversation to share his/her story with other first-year students.

2015 Essay Contest Winners

  • Emily Blair
  • Olivia Oeff