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Hopwood Underclassmen Contest

Rules of Eligibility

First and second-year students must be currently enrolled or have taken one of the qualifying courses listed in the Graduate and Undergraduate Hopwood Contest guidelines to be eligible for this competition. Please follow the Graduate and Undergraduate Hopwood Contest link in the column to the left to check the course list.

Certain other writing courses may also be used to qualify. Check with the Hopwood Assistant Director to determine course eligibility at least one week prior to the contest deadline. A contestant may use as a qualifying course one taken in the past two years. Spring/Summer writing courses may also be used for qualification. The rule requiring a writing course is unwaivable. A literature course does not qualify a student.

In this contest three types of writing are eligible: nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. In each of these fields, prizes usually ranging from $500 to $2,000 are awarded. Entries in each of the three fields are limited as follows:

  • The page limits for the poetry division are 10–25 pages.
  • The page limits for the nonfiction and fiction divisions are 15–40 pages. All non-fictional prose, including creative nonfiction, will be considered in the nonfiction division.
  • Pages should be numbered consecutively. The limits are for the TOTAL number of pages in a manuscript. For example, submitting a 6 page story together with a 9 page story would satisfy the short fiction minimum page limit.
  • A student may submit manuscripts in more than one field.
  • No Underclassmen Contest submission may be entered in any other contest, with the exception of the Cowden Fellowship Contest.
  • Only the written portions of mixed-media manuscripts may be submitted.

Entries should be doubled-spaced in 10, 11, or 12 point font, with a left-hand margin of at least one and one-half inches. Poems need not be double-spaced throughout. A contestant must use a pen name--entirely different from his or her real name.  This name should only appear on the title page, nowhere else in the manuscript.  Submissions should be in PDF format. Please make sure the pen name you select in your registration matches the one on your PDF.  The same pen name must be used for all categories.

The PDF must have a title page on which shall appear: 

  • The title
  • The pen name
  • The contest and division entered (e.g., Hopwood UnderclassmenPoetry).

The committee reserves the right to keep on file one copy of each winning manuscript.  The committee will not be held responsible for the safety of any manuscript presented in the contest.

Note about impact on financial aid: If you participate in need-based aid programs, be aware that your award is considered a "resource" and could impact your award package. Contest winners who receive financial aid from the university are strongly advised not to enroll in courses during the spring/summer term when contest honorariums are paid out.

Note about eligibility: A manuscript that has received a prize in the Contest for Underclassmen will not be eligible for any subsequent Hopwood contest. The committee reserves the right to keep on file one copy of each winning manuscript. Winners will be announced at the Hopwood Awards Ceremony on April 6, 2022.