The Black Mountain Institute, The Intersection, and the MSI Student Council are excited to announce the First-Generation Student Essay Contest. The contest is part of the UNLV 2020 First-Gen Celebration. The deadline to submit is Friday, November 13, 2020.

Details: Any first-generation UNLV student can enter this contest by picking one of these terms and writing a short personal essay inspired by it. Essays should be 500 words long. The essay should address the writer’s life experience in some way. 

Essays will be read and judged by writers and editors connected to the Black Mountain Institute. The winner of the contest will receive a $1,000 scholarship provided by the MSI Student Council and be given the opportunity to work with a professional editor from The Believer magazine to develop the essay and to learn about publication opportunities.


Survival: The hardest moments in our lives often teach us crucial survival skills. From a first-generation perspective, share an example, story, or advice that helped you overcome academic or personal challenges.

Translation: Starting a new phase of your life can make you feel like you have to start translating between two different worlds: who you were then, and who you are now. How do you define first-generation for yourself right now? What does that term “first-generation” mean to you? What does it mean to your family or friends?

Firsts:  What did your first day on a college campus feel like? Share some advice and wisdom that you have acquired for people doing something challenging and exciting for the very first time.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions. More Information