Call for entries: Jessie O’Kelly Student Essay Competition


The Rhetoric and Composition program invites students to submit for the Jessie O’Kelly Student Essay Award, which recognizes U of A undergraduates for writing exemplary essays in first-year composition courses .

Prize money is $500. Submissions are due April 15, 2022.

Criteria for submitting an essay:

  • Student must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and continuing enrollment in fall 2022.
  • The student must have been a first or second year student when taking the composition course.
  • The student must have taken the composition course in 2021, spring, summer or fall.
  • Essays must have been written for a major assignment in Composition 1 or 2, Technical Composition 2, or Composition 1 or 2 with Honors.
  • Essays should be formatted in MLA, APA, or other accepted academic style, incorporate outside sources, and demonstrate skills in originality, organization, argument, and language.
  • Students must include their University ID number with each submission.
  • Students may submit more than one essay.

Submit essays via email to by noon on Friday April 15, and include the student card. The essays will be judged by the teaching staff of the Rhetoric and Composition program, who will select the winners.

The Rhetoric and Composition program is proud to recognize outstanding student writing. Please contact LewEllyn Hallett at 479-575-2248 or if you have any questions.


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