Liberal Arts Essay Competition

This annual competition is open to all undergraduates and requires submission of an essay through the WiSH system on a different topic each year related to the liberal arts. There is a $1,000 prize to the winning entry and $500 prize to a runner-up.

Eligible applicants must be enrolled undergraduates from any school or college who are currently enrolled and have a minimum cumulative 2.5 grade point average.

Final selection of winning essays will be determined by University General Education Committee. Recipients will be notified in Spring 2021. Please contact with questions.

Please review this year’s

2020-2021 Liberal Arts Essay Competition Guidelines


Contact the Writing Center to review a draft of your essay


$500 - $1,000
College of Letters and Science
Supplemental Questions
  1. (LAEC) Please review this year's 2021-2022 Liberal Arts Essay Competition Guidelines. I have read the guidelines and understand that my essay must be submitted by upload as a pdf document type by March 4, 2022, at Midnight - Central Time.
  2. Please upload your most up-to-date UW-Madison unofficial transcript here. For instructions on how to do this, go to:

    Request unofficial transcript

  3. (LAEC) University of Wisconsin-Madison requirements encourage students to complete a program of study that is both broad and deep. The General Education Committee sponsors this essay contest because its members are interested in how these requirements help prepare students to lead informed, engaged, and purposeful lives. To that end, please reflect on the question below. (LAE)
  4. (LAEC) Essay Prompt: Imagine that the year is 2035 and you are enjoying a satisfying career working as part of a diverse team. You have been asked to speak to new undergraduate students at your alma mater, UW-Madison. Referencing skills and knowledge you developed in specific courses and experiences you were involved in as a UW student, what advice would you give to help them maximize their preparation for success in a diverse and changing work environment?