Essay Contest

What: Essay Contest to Celebrate Our Students

Who writes the Essays:  Adult Education Students

Essay Topic: How Will Adult Education Help Me Reach the Next Level?

  • Eligibility: Any adult education student enrolled during the program year of the contest may participate. The student must also agree to attend the award/recognition ceremony and sign a release form for marketing purposes.
  • Length: Essays should be no longer than 750 words. This is a maximum word count; if your response to the prompt can be clearly and powerfully communicated in fewer than 750 words, that is great.
  • Language: Essays should be written in English and represent the student’s original work.  Students are welcome to write their essay in their native language (if not English), but it must be translated into English for submission.
  • Original Work: A teacher can provide pre-writing activities and appropriate review, editing, and translation support.  But the ideas, content, structure, and style of the actual essay MUST come from the student alone.
  • Contest Format:  Each adult education program collects student essays.  Each regional consortium selects 1 to 3 essays for statewide judging.
  • Submission: Essays selected by the consortium for statewide judging should be submitted with the form below by Nov. 18, 2021.
  • Timeline:
  • Oct. 29, 2021.  Essays are due to the Consortium.
  • Nov. 18, 2021.  One to three essays selected by the Consortium are due to the IAACE Executive Director (
  • Nov. 19, 2021.  Executive Director sends essays to judges
  • Dec. 31, 2021.  Judges send results back to Executive Director
  • Jan. 5, 2022.  Executive Director notifies the winner and the winner’s program and invites them to attend Adult Education Day at the Rotunda.
  • Jan. 24, 2022.  The winner and program are recognized at Adult Education Day at the Rotunda.
  • Titling Documents for Submission: To help us organize and manage the significant number of files that are submitted, please use the following guidelines when titling your file prior to submission. Essays that are not saved with this naming format will lose 2 of a total possible 15 points in the review process.
    • Name the file “LastnameFirstname_Essay2021_Region#”. For example, Whitney Retallic – “RetallicWhitney_Essay2021_Region1”.
  • Winners: A panel of judges comprised of legislators will award one Winner and a limited number of Honorable Mentions. The Winner’s essay, as well as the Honorable Mentions, will be featured on our website, alongside a brief profile and picture of the authors. In addition, the Winner and the Honorable Mentions will receive recognition from the Adult Education Day at the Rotunda and will have the opportunity to read his/her essay to the membership.
  • Evaluation Criteria: Essays will be evaluated using the following criteria:
    • INTRODUCTION/THESIS — The essay effectively takes into account, the entirety of the prompt. If an essay does not make an earnest attempt to address the Contest’s prompt, it will not be considered for review.
    • MAIN POINTS/Body Paragraphs — The essay is organized and well-structured.
    • ORGANIZATION Structure Transitions — The thesis/main message is clear and supported throughout.  The essay does not stray from the main message.
    • STYLE Writer’s Voice, Audience Awareness — The essay uses a highly engaging and personal style. The author finds fresh or interesting ways to convey ideas. The author approaches the topic from a unique perspective.
    • MECHANICS — Punctuation, spelling, capitalization are correct.

More details and submission information at

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