Critical Writing Program Prizes


The Samuel P. and Ida S. Mandell Undergraduate Essay Contest

The Samuel P. and Ida S. Mandell Undergraduate Essay Contest recognizes outstanding student writing produced or initiated in a Penn Writing Seminar, particularly writing that has achieved some form of public distinction. Public distinction can include print or digital publication of the work in a professionally-produced newspaper, magazine, or blog; use of the work to create a curated exhibit or installation; incorporation of the work into a longer-term research project; or writing that is of use to a community group or nonprofit organization.

    Eligibility Criteria

  • Submissions must be selected and edited by a veritable and professional editorial board or process;
  • Submissions published in an undergraduate journal also qualify for entry;
  • Submissions must have been published after January 1, 2022.
  • Prizes

  • Prizes for work produced in a Critical Writing Seminar are $750 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for honorable mention.
  • Prizes for work initiated in a Critical Writing Seminar are $750 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for honorable mention.

Winners are also invited to a celebration with the contest chair, the seminar instructor, and Critical Writing administration.

2023 Deadline: Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 11:59 PM.

More details on how to apply are included in the application form: Submit your entry!


The Samuel P. and Ida S. Mandell Prize for Distinguished Research Article in a Penn Undergraduate Publication

Research manuscripts published in Penn undergraduate journals are automatically reviewed each year. Articles demonstrating particular felicity with knowledge domains taught in the Critical Writing Program are selected for the prize.

  • First Place: $750
  • Second Place: $500