The 9th Annual Young Alumni Essay Contest

Author: Notre Dame Magazine

Notre Dame Magazine’s ninth annual Young Alumni Essay Contest is accepting submissions. The magazine’s editors, who will judge entries for the 2021 Schaal Prize — named in honor of the contest’s founder, retired managing editor Carol Schaal ’91M.A. — are looking for original, previously unpublished, creative nonfiction essays, evocative first-person works that would appeal to a college-educated audience. For models, they suggest reading CrossCurrents essays, which may 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 2021-22 issue of Notre Dame Magazine. Should the judges decide to award one or more honorable mentions, the winner(s) will receive $100 and publication at in 2022.



The contest is open to those alumni who received a University of Notre Dame bachelor’s degree in the years 2012 through 2021. Only one entry per eligible individual is allowed. Previous winners may enter.


Submission requirements:

Entries must be written in English and be original and previously unpublished. They should range from 800 to 1,500 words. Essays longer than 1,500 words will be disqualified. Each submission must be the work of a sole author. Essays must be submitted in Word format, and will be accepted now through midnight on Wednesday, September 8, 2021.


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. Winners’ names will appear in the Winter 2021-22 issue of Notre Dame Magazine and online, and winners will be notified by email.