Loyola University Chicago

Student Transitions and Outreach

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, Showdown by Wil Haygood, 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 18, 2017 11:59pm 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) All essays submitted are eligible for an opportunity to read a portion of their essay at a Loyola University Campus Event  and

(2) Book Scholarship: To be eligible to win a book scholarship to pay for all text books for the spring semester, essay writers can read a portion of their essay to be voted on by fellow students at a September 21st Communities in Conversation event.  The reader receiving the most student votes will be awarded the book scholarship.  To be invited to read at the event, an essay must be submitted by the September 18th deadline.  

Please send any questions to firstyearexperience@luc.edu

2016 Essay Contest Winners

  • Madeline Hudson 

  • Sarah Rybacki