Our Winner!


Justin Zalewski

Human Health & the Environment

New Hartford, NY -> Saranac Lake, NY

Mixed Martial Arts have been a huge part of my life since my first involvement when I was 12. There was a point where I would go to 3 practices a day. There is no other sport with the same level of sportsmanship and brotherhood. #MVMMA


Justin’s Essay





Choose one prompt as the topic of your essay:

  1. Describe a facet of your identity, background or story that is essential to who you are. For this essay, try finding a part of your identity that will set you apart and highlight the unique perspective you will bring to the college. Try to avoid writing an essay that a school will most likely get a million different times — for example, don’t write an essay about your talent playing a sport or your early love of learning. Think about an aspect of your personality, family or upbringing that is truly special.
  2. Tell us about a time where you challenged your pre-existing worldview. Why? Would you do this again? In this essay, choose a time that you were able to listen to experiences and perspectives contrary to yours with respect and maturity. Demonstrate that you are able to zoom out from your personal worldview and learn from those you may disagree with. This can not only give colleges an idea of your ability to engage in difficult ideological debates, but also your character and humility.
  3. Tell us a topic that you have changed your mind on in the past. For this essay, don’t hesitate to get silly or serious — but make sure you go all the way whichever side you choose! Pick an issue that doesn’t come immediately to mind. Try to pinpoint a specific “a-ha” moment your opinion changed, and make sure to give an example of how your changed perspective has influenced your behavior.

Contest Rules:

  1. Submissions should not exceed a single page (8.5” by 11”) in length.
  2. All submissions should fit one of the assigned prompts and submissions should be labelled with a header that identifies the prompt you have selected.
  3. None of the submissions should include the Author’s name within the document.
  4. All submissions must be written by a currently enrolled Paul Smith’s College student.*
  5. The document must be submitted to the Writing Tutor email at writingcoaches@paulsmiths.edu by midnight November 17, 2019 to be considered.**  Any submissions received after the end date will not be accepted!
  6. All submissions should follow the rules of standard written English.
  7. The piece must be written in Times New Roman 12 pt. font and have a 1” margin.
  8. Any written pieces submitted should follow the rules listed above in order to be considered, otherwise, the piece will be disqualified.
  9. Only one submission per student, sent as an e-mail attachment to the Writing Tutor e-mail (listed above).
  10. Please have Essay Contest in the subject line of the submission e-mail.

Submissions will be judged on: the completeness of the response, the use of appropriate grammar and punctuation, the formatting of the paper, creativity and adherence to the contest rules!

*CACS Writing Tutors are not permitted to enter, since they will be assisting with judging and processing submissions.
**The winner will be announced on December 2, 2019 , have their piece posted on the CACS’s webpage (with their consent) and be eligible for the grand prize! OUR APOLOGIES, DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10.

Grand Prize:

$50 Borracho Taco gift card