Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions.

Q. May I submit for more than one award?

A.  Yes, however you must submit a different piece of work for each award.

Q. My essay would qualify for several awards.  May I submit the same piece of work for more than one award to increase my chances of winning?

A. No. Please pick a single award category.

Q. How long should submissions be?

A.  Some awards explicitly mention a page limit, but others do not.  In general, undergraduate awards should not exceed 10 double spaced pages and graduate awards should not exceed 20 double spaced pages.  For non-traditional formats, please consider equivalencies to these guidelines. 

Q: What if my submission is in a non-traditional format (e.g. podcast, mockup, digital essay)

A: If your work was created for an English class and meets the criteria of the specific award you are applying to, then your work is eligible. We encourage you to provide a brief introductory note to contextualize your submission. Please consider length equivalencies in non-traditional submissions (see previous question).  If you are having trouble submitting your work via the online portal, or have questions about your non-traditional format, please contact the Awards Co-Coordinators.

Q. How should I prepare my document for submission?

A. Remove any identifying information including your name (wherever it appears), your instructor’s name, the course name, in-line comments, etc.  Your document should be in PDF or Word format.

Q. Can I make a few minor revisions to my graded work before I submit it?

A. No.  Your essay should be the same version you submitted for the course. 

Q. Can I submit a piece of work that wasn’t for an English course?

A.  Generally, no.  All submissions must be for an English course in the qualifying academic year.   However, there are some exceptions such as co-op work reports and projects completed for an RA role. You are welcome to contact the Awards Co-Coordinators to see if your non-course related project would qualify.  

Q.  How much is [X] award?

A.  Award amounts vary from year to year depending on several factors. You are welcome to contact the Awards Co-Coordinators to find out the amount of an award for the previous year. This will give you some idea of the potential award amount. 

Q. Can I submit a coauthored work?

A. Yes. However, all coauthors must meet eligibility requirements.  For example, if you are submitting to a graduate award, all authors must be graduate students in English at the University of Waterloo; undergraduate or faculty coauthors would not be eligible.  If a coauthored work wins the award, then the amount will be split evenly among the authors. 

Q. My work is longer than the maximum page limit, what should I do? 

A. Select an excerpt from your work that is within the page limit. If needed, you may provide an introductory note of a few lines in order to contextualize the work as a whole.

Q. Can you provide more details about how the awards are adjudicated?  

A. Each year the Awards Co-coordinators ask English faculty to serve as adjudicators.  Care is taken to select judges with expertise in the assigned award category and to avoid any potential conflict of interest.  Adjudicators use the same description published on the website to inform their assessment of whether a submission meets the award’s criteria.

Q. I am a sessional/graduate student instructor, and the online portal will not allow me to submit my student’s work.  What should I do?

A. This is an unfortunate limitation of our online portal.  Please email your submission to and the Department will assist you.