UW-System’s Liberal Arts Essay Competition

Due: January 31, 2014

The UW System Advisory Group on the Liberal Arts (SAGLA) is pleased to announce the ninth annual Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition.

Award:  Three awards for $2,000 each are available (one to a student from the UW Colleges and two to students from the UW comprehensive and doctoral institutions).

Eligibility:  This year’s competition is open to any UW System undergraduate student in academic good standing.

This Year’s Topic:


In his essay "Only Connect," William Cronon outlines ten qualities that distinguish a liberally educated person.  Describe a moment from your recent education when you have been most vividly aware of the importance of one of these qualities.


You may find the Cronon essay here:  http://www.williamcronon.net/writing/Cronon_Only_Connect.pdf

Strong student essays will invite reader engagement through description and reflection on personal experience, as well as demonstrate careful consideration of the Cronon essay.  To learn more about the goals of a liberal education, you may wish to check the liberal education learning outcomes at


Winning essays from recent years can also be viewed on the contest website:  http://liberaleducation.uwsa.edu/scholarship/.

Submission and Deadline:  All submissions are to be original essays, 1,000-1,250 words in length, typed, double-spaced.  Each essay must include a title page with the following information:  title of essay, student’s name, major, institution, college and home address, e-mail address, telephone number, and the following statement: “I hereby affirm that this is an original essay and my own work.” Submission of material must be done electronically to provost@uwlax.edu as a single .pdf file.  Only electronic submissions will be accepted.  All essays must be accompanied by an unofficial transcript from WINGS.  DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS JANUARY 31, 2014.  

Selection Notification

  • Three essays will be selected by a UW-L review committee for submission to the UW System Advisory Group on the Liberal Arts. Applicants of the three selected essays will be notified by late February.
  • Final selection of winning essays will be determined by a group of judges from the UW System Advisory Group on the Liberal Arts (SAGLA). Recipients will be notified by UW System in spring 2014.

Essays from Previous Winners