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Submission Guidelines

hank you for your interest in the JASNA Essay Contest.  

Our judges value original insights and clear, correct writing.  Essays should be directed to a well-informed general audience, not a strictly academic one, and should be based primarily on the student's own observations, with adequate support from the Jane Austen work under discussion.  You may assume that the reader is familiar with Jane Austen’s works; plot summaries are unnecessary.

An essay written for coursework may be submitted, but it must be submitted by the student author and in the required format.  If research is used as support, students should rely on no more than five sources and should avoid academic terminology unless terms are clearly defined in the body of the essay.

Reading previous winning essays will give you a very good idea of the sort of essay JASNA is seeking.  Answers to frequently-asked questions are also available.

Contest Rules and Submission Website

  • Entries MUST address the current essay contest topic or they will not be considered. 
  • Entries must be submitted by the student through the official Essay Contest Submission website. The site will be open to accept submissions in mid-February. (Use this link.) Duplicate entries are not allowed. Each submission will be confirmed by e-mail using the address supplied.
  • The student must complete the official online entry form, which includes a stipulation that the essay is the student’s original work and has not been published elsewhere.
  • Entries may include a statement about the student’s mentor; however, a mentor statement is not required.
  • Entries must be submitted before midnight PDT on the published deadline date.
  • Contest judging is conducted anonymously. Personal information about the student, school, and mentor must appear ONLY on the entry form and not in the essay. Make sure your software does not automatically put your name on each page.
  • Your essay and the entry form must be uploaded to the Essay Contest Submission site. If you have difficulties, please contact Meg Levin at essay-contest@jasna.org.

Essay Format

Entries that do not conform to the following requirements or arrive after the deadline will be disqualified.

  • The essay must be written in English.
  • The title of the essay should appear at the top of page one; further pages should be numbered on the top right; the student’s name must not appear on the essay.
  • The essay must be in MLA format (double-spaced and in 12-point type throughout, with one-inch margins on all sides of each page).
  • The essay must be 6-8 pages in length, not including the Works Cited page.
  • The essay must use MLA documentation, including a Works Cited page and parenthetical citations in the body of the text.  Use end notes only for substantive notes.  Source material that is directly quoted, paraphrased, or summarized must be cited. Quotations from the Jane Austen work under discussion should be cited as well.


Please review the Essay Contest FAQs.  If you still have questions, contact Meg Levin at essay-contest@jasna.org.  You must include “JASNA Essay Contest” in the subject line.

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Pride and Prejudice