The 11th Annual Young Alumni Essay Contest

Author: Notre Dame Magazine

Notre Dame Magazine’s 11th annual Young Alumni Essay Contest is accepting submissions.

The magazine’s editors, who will judge entries for the 2023 Schaal Prize — named in honor of the contest’s founder, retired managing editor Carol Schaal ’91M.A. — are looking for original creative nonfiction essays: evocative first-person works that would appeal to a college-educated audience. For models, they suggest reading CrossCurrents essays, which can be found in each back issue posted at

The Schaal Prize winner will receive $1,000. Second-place winner(s) will receive $500 apiece. The first- and second-place winning essays will appear in the Winter 2023-24 issue of Notre Dame Magazine. Should the judges decide to award one or more honorable mentions, the winner(s) will receive $100 and online publication at in 2024.



The contest is open to those alumni who received a University of Notre Dame bachelor’s degree in the years 2014 through 2023. Only one entry per eligible writer is allowed. Previous winners may enter.


Submission requirements:

Entries must be written in English, submitted in Word format and be the original, previously unpublished work of a sole author. They should range in length from 800 to 1,500 words. Essays longer than 1,500 words will be disqualified. Entries will be accepted now through midnight on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.


Submission procedures:

Because the entries will be read blind, it is imperative that entrants follow these procedures:

Send an email to Include the author’s contact information in the body of the message: name, ND graduation year, postal address, email address and phone number. Make sure to include the title of the submission in this email.

Attach the manuscript of the entry to this email. The manuscript should include the title of the essay but no author-identifying information.

Judges’ decisions are final. Published essays will be subject to editing, and winners will be notified by email in October.