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Undergraduate Writing Symposium: Submissions & Self-Nominations

The Undergraduate Writing Symposium provides an opportunity for Vanderbilt to celebrate the achievements of its undergraduate students.

Call for Self-Nominations and Submissions

Undergraduate Writing Symposium posterWe welcome students’ self-nominations of argumentative essays, research reports, creative pieces (fiction, poetry, etc.) and other writing projects that can be read aloud. We also encourage multimodal compositions that showcase Vanderbilt students producing pieces that stretch how we define “writing” in our digital age. Any piece completed during the 2019 calendar year is welcome to compete for inclusion in the event.

Learn more about the event and our review process for submissions by reading our comprehensive overview of the Undergraduate Writing Symposium.

First-Year Submissions

This year all first-year submissions to the symposium will once again be competing for inclusion in Scaffold: A Showcase of Vanderbilt First-Year Writing a digital collection begun in Spring 2019 as an extension of the symposium.

Following our review process, the authors of the highest scoring submissions will be invited to prepare their pieces for digital publication and to submit a short video or audio reflection on the writing of the piece and what they learned. (Guidelines will be provided to finalists.) All pieces included in the digital showcase will also be eligible for prizes in several categories, which will be announced during an awards ceremony at the symposium’s conclusion.

Submission Guidelines

Complete the Online Anchor Link Submission Form

To nominate your own writing for the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Writing Symposium or to submit a piece nominated by an instructor, please fill out the Undergraduate Writing Symposium 2020 Submission form on Anchor Link.

Please note that the form will ask you to provide some information about your submission including its word count, a brief (2-3 sentence) description of your piece of writing, and a similarly brief self-reflection about writing the piece and what you learned or have taken away from that process.

Word Limit

Please note that there is a 3,500 word limit for papers submitted for consideration. Papers longer than 3,500 words will not be considered for inclusion in the Symposium. If selected for presentation, papers will be need to be edited to 7-8 pages of text or 15 minutes of presentation time. (For multimodal works selected, we will work with students to decide the best way to display or share each piece.)


Submission files should be Word Documents (.docx preferred). Please include your name in the file name, while removing all identifying marks (name, class, professor, etc) from the document and the header.

Digital Compositions Welcome

The submission form includes instructions for submitting multimedia projects. (If removing identifiers from such projects proves difficult or impossible, we understand and will adapt our review process accordingly.)

Two Entries per Student Maximum

Each student may submit up to two of their own papers, which includes both faculty-nominated and self-nominated pieces.

Critical Deadlines and Dates (Spring 2020)

  • Friday, January 10: Deadline for Faculty Nominations
  • Friday, January 17: Deadline for Submissions (applies to faculty- and self-nominated works)
  • Friday, March 27: The Undergraduate Writing Symposium*

(*Please note that you must be available to present in person in order to participate.)

Questions or technical issues?

Please contact Beth Estes, Academic Support Coordinator.