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History Essay Contest

The Shepherd University Department of History invites high school juniors and seniors to submit papers to its first annual history essay contest.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Essay Guidelines

Essays need only be history related to be considered. Students do not need teachers to nominate them, but we hope that interested teachers will encourage students to enter. The paper should be between 1000 to 2000 words. Anyone who is eligible for admission to Shepherd may enter the contest. Prizes include scholarships awarded to students who enter as history majors in the 2019-2020 academic year. Students may submit papers via PDF to between January 7 and February 18, 2019. By submitting their papers, students affirm that the paper is the sole, original work of the contestant and not a work completed through a group project or other process. Papers remain the intellectual property of the student authors.

The papers will judged according to the following criteria:

Argument Does the paper contain a clear argument? Is it easy for the reader to determine exactly what the author is trying to say?
Use of evidence Does the paper provide adequate and accurate evidence from a wide variety of sources that convinces the reader to accept the author’s argument? Does the author clearly state the importance of all evidence presented?
Organization Does the paper contain an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion? Does the introduction let the reader know what to expect, and does the conclusion bring everything together and suggest further work?
Clarity, Style, Mechanics Are all sentences grammatically correct and clearly written? Is the author’s choice of vocabulary and tone appropriate for an academic paper? Is the paper free from typographical and other errors?

Essay Contest Celebration

All entrants will be invited to a history department Open House at Shepherd on March 2, when the winners will be announced. This event will be in conjunction with the Shepherd University’s Accepted Students Day event.


Please contact Keith Alexander, Associate Professor of History, at