Rules and Guidelines

Ferris State University Student Writing Contest, Art Contest, and Mary Kilgallen Award

2022 Rules and Submission Instructions.

The Prism is the annual student writing and art competition at Ferris State University sponsored by the Department of Languages and Literature.  Any current FSU student is eligible.  There are cash prizes in each category, and winners will be honored at an awards banquet in the spring as well as online/in print in The Prism journal published in Fall 2022.

Previously published work is not eligible for the competition.

Please email  with any questions.


In each of the categories below:

  • First Prize:        $150
  • Second Prize:   $75


Note: You must be a freshman or sophomore at the time of your submission to be eligible for the Freshman/Sophomore categories.  Likewise, you must be a junior or senior to be eligible for the Junior/Senior categories.

  1. Freshman/Sophomore Essay Length: 750-1500 words (The Mary Kilgallen Award)
  2. Freshman/Sophomore Research Paper Length: 1500-4000 words
  3. Junior/Senior Essay Length: 750-1500 words
  4. Junior/Senior Research Paper Length: 1500-4000 words
  5. Technical/Professional Writing/Script Writing Length: 6 to 20 page maximum (not including illustrations, appendices, references, etc.)
  6. Short Fiction Length: 2500 word maximum
  7. Poetry Length: 100 lines maximum
  8. Art (see Art Contest Guidelines below; First Prize only)

Note: an essay is a paper written without using formal research, whereas a research paper is written with documented research.

Writing Contest Rules

  1. All current Ferris State University students are eligible.
  2. For the Freshman/Sophomore categories, students must be a freshman or sophomore at the time of entry to be eligible.
  3. For the Junior/Senior categories, students must be a junior or senior at the time of entry to be eligible.
  4. Writing entries must be submitted in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx).
  5. Entries containing research must be documented consistently in APA, MLA, or Chicago style.
  6. Entries must be free from plagiarism. All entries must be the original work of the student with any use of research material documented and properly incorporated.
  7. No previously published work is accepted.
  8. A maximum of one entry per student per category (two entries allowed for poetry).
  9. Submission deadline EXTENDED to April 8, 2022.

How to Submit Writing Entries:

All writing submissions are received through the Submission Manager:

Judging, Awards, and Publication of Writing Entries:

  1. All entries will be judged “blind” by members of The Department of English, Literature, and World Languages.  All author-identifying information will be removed prior to judging.
  2. Entries submitted to the wrong category will be reassigned.
  3. Incomplete entries or entries containing plagiarism will not be considered.
  4. The Prism Committee reserves the right not to award on inadequate submission.
  5. Winners will be announced April, 2022.
  6. The Prism journal will be published in Fall 2022 and will be mailed to all the winners. All entries will be proofread and corrected for minor editing.

Art Contest Rules

  1. All entries must be quality copies of original artwork and may be in any medium including acrylic, oil, water color, pen and ink, etc.  Artwork will not be returned; do not submit original copies.
  2. Photographs and materials published or protected by copyright laws will not be accepted.
  3. Art can be submitted online through the online Submission Manager:
  4. Please scan your work at 300-600 dpi. TIFF is the preferred file format. For JPG files, save as maximum file quality. GIF files are not accepted. If you need help scanning your work, please contact us at
  5. Artwork may also be submitted as a quality paper copy (do not submit originals).  To submit a paper copy:
    1. Artwork may not exceed 11” x 17” in size.
    2. On the back of the artwork, lightly/legibly print the following information:
      1. Complete Legal Name
      2. Student #
      3. Current Address and Phone
      4. Permanent Address
    3. Deliver paper entries to ASC 3080, the Department of English. Literature, and World Languages.
  6. Submission deadline EXTENDED to April 8, 2022.
  7. The Prism Committee reserves the right not to award on inadequate submission.
  8. Winners will be announced in April, 2022, and honored at The College of Arts and Sciences Student Recognition Event.