COD’s Annual Student Essay Contest is now accepting entries until March 21 at midnight. Every year, the Illinois Community College Trustees Association encourages students to share their story about how their community college has changed their life for the better. Three winners are chosen at COD; $100.00 for the first prize winner, $50 for the second prize winner, and $25 for the third prize winner.
The first prize winner’s essay is sent to Springfield and is entered in the statewide competition. The state winner receives $500.00 for educational expenses and attends the 2013 Illinois CC Trustees Association’s Awards Luncheon in Chicago on June 7, 2013.
The three in-house winners are also recognized in a Board of Trustees meeting where they receive their monetary awards and framed certificates.
“What stands out about this contest is that any enrolled student is eligible to enter, regardless of GPA,” commented Dean’s Assistant, Bonnie Shalin, who collects the essays and helps spread the word about this annual event.
COD has been running the Student Essay contest since 1990 and the amount of people who participate fluctuates every year. One year there were about 60 entries and Shalin recalls how many students have shared all kinds of emotional and dramatic stories. COD has won the statewide competition in 1993, and in 1999, which was the last time we won.
“Everyone comes here for different reasons and from many unique situations,” added Shalin.
Judges for the contest are a committee of six to eight people including faculty, staff, and students. It is not a formal group of people, many are volunteers, and are from all different educational backgrounds, not just English and writing, which allows for a broad range of perspectives. In the past, Courier editors have been approached to help judge, as well as Prairie Light Review writers.
Essays are judged on writing style, clarity of expression, and relevance to the topic. Special emphasis is placed on correct grammar and punctuation. Entries must be typed and a maximum of 500 words.
The topic “How College of Dupage has Changed My Life” must be addressed, and you may create your own title related to the theme.
In the past there have been honorable mentions, like last year when there were sixteen.
“Every essay is acknowledged and it’s difficult to determine winners when we receive so many amazing stories,” said Shalin.
Anyone interested in being a part of the Annual Student Essay Contest can contact Bonnie Shalin at (630) 942-2485 and firstname.lastname@example.org.