NISOD Student Essay Contest

NISOD invites students at NISOD-member colleges to participate in NISOD’s Student Essay Contest!

Students describe in a 500-word (or less) essay a faculty member, staff member, or administrator who encouraged them to complete a course, finish a semester, or graduate from college and how that encouragement helped them reach their goal(s).*

*Only students currently enrolled at NISOD member colleges are eligible. The faculty, staff member, or administrator written about in the essay must currently be employed by the college.

The Prize

Three (3) winning student authors and the faculty members, staff members, or administrators featured in the winning essays will each receive:

  • $1,000 USD
  • Travel to the International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence (May 27-30 in Austin, Texas), which includes:
    • Up to $400 USD toward travel to Austin, Texas;
    • Up to three (3) nights lodging (Saturday, Sunday, Monday nights only);
    • One (1) complimentary conference registration.

(Note: Winning authors will read their essays on stage during the conference’s Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration on Sunday, May 28.)

In addition, each winning student author’s college will receive a complimentary one-year NISOD membership.

Evaluation Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria: Content, originality, clarity, organization, conciseness, and grammar.


  • Contest opens: August 19, 2022
  • Submission deadline: March 3, 2023
  • Winners notified: March 24, 2023
  • Winner acceptance due: March 31, 2023
  • Winners’ photos due: April 7, 2023
  • Prize and essay presentations at NISOD conference: May 28, 2023

Past Student Essay Contest Winners

Liaisons/Staff/Faculty: Use the following flyers to announce the contest at your college: Student Essay Contest | Combined Student Contests

Students: Please review the Criteria and Terms before submitting your essay.

Visit our FAQ page or contact or (512) 471-7545 for more information.