Freshman Writing Award | Webster University

Freshman Writing Award

The purpose of the Freshman Writing Award is to encourage and recognize excellence in student writing and to help foster a culture of writing at Webster University.


The competition is open to students who were first-semester freshmen in the fall term.

Submissions may be in any genre, providing that they are a minimum of 500 words long, were written in the English language, and were written for a class taught by a full-time or adjunct Webster University instructor during the fall semester. Submissions for either 8-week or 16-week courses are eligible.

Submission Requirements

Pieces must be nominated by instructors. However, students may request that an instructor nominate their work for the award. Each instructor may nominate only one piece per student per course.

Each submission should include the following:

  1. A copy of the assignment;
  2. The graded version of the piece returned to the student by the instructor, if available;
  3. A clean (unedited/unmarked) copy of the piece, sent as an attachment to
  4. A short (250-word maximum) author's statement in which the student author tells the story of writing his or her piece.


Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on the fourth Friday of the Spring semester.

(Rolling submissions are accepted; if you have a paper you would like to nominate early in the fall term, please feel free to send it any time before the deadline.)

Submissions should be sent to

Kristin Cobos
Writing Center and Online Writing Center Coordinator
40 Loretto Hall

Judging Criteria

The award-winning works should illustrate the qualities of excellent college-level writing. That is to say, they should: satisfy the demands of the assignment; express a clear and significant central idea; progress by logical and compelling stages; be supported with consistent and relevant detail; demonstrate the use of coherent and unified paragraphs and skillfully constructed sentences; and use consistently correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.

In addition they should, in the opinion of the judges,

  1. Engage the topic in a fresh, original, thought-provoking manner;
  2. Appeal to an audience beyond the instructor or classmates of the author,
    offering value and insight to the general reader;
  3. Be written in language that is clear, powerful, effective, and economical.

Judging Procedures

The panel of judges will be comprised of six to seven members, including instructors from a diverse range of disciplines and a student of senior standing. The Writing Center Coordinator will serve as ex officio member of the committee.

The Writing Center staff will assign a number to each work, and all works will be forwarded without any identifying information to the judges.

Notification of Winners

The authors of the winning works and the instructors who nominated them will be notified in mid March. Submissions will not be returned.

Prizes and Awards Ceremony

Winners receive a plaque and a financial grant applied to their Webster accounts.  A luncheon is held in their honor during the spring term.