Writing Contest

Every year the Writing Center sponsors a writing contest for DCC students. Fifty-dollar prizes are awarded to the winners in each category. Below are guidelines for students who would like to enter the contest.

All current DCC students may submit one work in any/all of seven categories. Works that have been written to fulfill course requirements are welcome. There are no limitations on subject matter.

Fiction, creative non-fiction, academic, and math/science submissions should be no longer than ten pages. Poetry submissions should be comprised of three to five poems (there are no page limits). Short plays should have an approximate playing time of ten minutes; a ten-minute section of a longer script can be submitted along with a one-paragraph synopsis of the full work. Screenplays (feature or documentary) should be a minimum ten pages.

  • Double spacing is preferred.
  • The manuscript file must be in a Microsoft Word or .txt format.
  • Do not include identifying information on your manuscript pages.

Download the submission form to include with your manuscript in an e-mail to the Writing Center at writingcenter@sunydutchess.edu.

***Electronic submissions are highly encouraged, although paper copies will be accepted in the Writing Center.


Fourteen winners will be chosen from the seven categories.
 However, judges reserve the right not to award prizes in a category. The DCC Student Government Association funds all awards.

Submissions will be judged by faculty from the English department and  the Performing Arts department.

Students are encouraged to visit the Writing Center to work on submissions with our tutors.

Categories and Criteria:

  • Poetry submissions will be judged for their inventive use of language, control of form, and originality of image and metaphor.
  • Creative Non-fiction entries (fact-based writing that encompasses memoir, biography, travel/science/nature literature, and the personal essay) will be judged on their ability to blend factual truth with literary techniques.
  • Fiction entries will be evaluated on originality of language and on their success in creating a fully imagined fictional world.
  • Academic Writing submissions, such as critical analysis, documented essay, and scientific essays, will be judged on quality of form and content.
  • Screenplays, written in screenplay format, should offer original, well-structured stories. Good character development and believable dialogue are key elements. Successful scripts will evoke strong visual images.
  • Play Scripts should offer original, creative, believable, interesting, and playable characters; plot; theme; and setting, including a strong conflict and resolution.
  • Math and Science submissions (analyses, lab reports, reviews) will be judged on the clarity of expression, the quality of research, and, where appropriate, fidelity to scientific method.

If you have further questions, please talk to the Writing Center staff.