Submission Guidelines

Fresh Writing is a collection of exemplary first-year student writing at the University of Notre Dame. We consider essays—both traditional and multimodal—written by students in their first year of study at Notre Dame. We are especially interested in essays that are argumentative in purpose or inquiry-based in nature, with a clearly defined scope and audience. Specifically, our editorial board reviews and selects essays with the following criteria in mind:

Exemplary of the Genre

The piece successfully displays the essential rhetorical features of the genre. A researched argument, for example, will incorporate a sufficient number of sources and place different arguments in conversation with one another.

Ethical Argument

Rhetorical appeals (ethos, logos, pathos) are appropriately balanced and employed ethically. Reasonable counterarguments are addressed fairly. Evidence for the claims comes from credible sources, and sufficient reasoning is offered to defend each claim.

Rhetorical Virtue

The piece serves as an exemplary model of how college writers can practice intellectual courage, generosity, honesty, humility, knowledge, and wisdom.

Strength of Composition

The purpose of the essay is clear and the content is engaging. The writer establishes a distinct voice, reflecting a sophisticated awareness of language and diction based on the expectations of the intended audience. Attention to structure is evident for the medium, such as effective transitions, an orienting introduction, and a conclusion that provides rhetorical closure.


The essay engages new ideas, proposes creative interpretations, perspectives, or solutions, takes on topics or problems which are understudied and/or extraordinarily relevant in disciplinary or public arenas. In other words, the essay takes some risks in its content or form, and those risks result in a product that should promote valuable discussion or otherwise challenge readers in a productive way.

Note: An essay need not be perfect in all categories. Strengths in one category can sometimes make up for weaknesses in others. Successful submissions will be at least good in all categories and extraordinary in at least one.

AI Policy

Fresh Writing does not accept submissions exclusively generated from AI, machine learning, or similar algorithmic tools. However, submissions authored by a human that contain AI-generated text may be accepted, provided that they include proper citation of the use of AI. See the MLA’s guide for citation of a range of uses of gen AI. All submissions should follow the University of Notre Dame’s general policy.

How to Submit

We are now accepting submissions for the 2024 issue of Fresh Writing. To be considered for the upcoming issue (due to be published in the summer of 2024), essays must have been written by a first-year student during the Spring 2023 or Fall 2023 semesters at Notre Dame. Though submissions are accepted on an ongoing basis, the final deadline for consideration for the next issue is January 12, 2024.

To nominate an essay, instructors should notify students of the instructor's wish to nominate the essay, then submit the essay on the student's behalf.

Students should not submit their essays directly.

File format preferences

  • For text: .doc or .docx.
  • For images: .jpg or .png
  • For audio: .mp3, .wav., or .flac
  • For video: .mp4 or .mov

For initial consideration of multimedia essays, we will allow the submission of a URL to a file housed elsewhere. If the essay is accepted, however, we will need the original file to be housed on our own multimedia accounts on YouTube or SoundCloud.

Plagiarism and Copyright Statement

All submissions should reflect the student writer's original thinking, with any borrowed ideas or material appropriately cited within the text and on a corresponding list of Works Cited (preferably in MLA format, though we will allow other documentation styles).

For submissions involving borrowed images, video, sound files, or other multimedia, we hold the writer responsible for educating themselves on U.S. Copyright Law and Fair Use Doctrine (we recommend visiting the Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center as a starting point). For the purposes of Fresh Writing submissions, we ask that any borrowed material included in the submission meet one of the following criteria:

  1. the borrowed material is the writer's own, original work (e.g., a photograph taken by the student writer)
  2. the borrowed material is in the public domain or otherwise free of copyright
  3. the borrowed material is used with written permission of the copyright owner (must demonstrate this and provide appropriate citation information) or
  4. the borrowed material is used in accordance with Fair Use guidelines (with appropriate citation information still provided).

If you have any questions about submission guidelines for the 2024 volume, please contact the editors, Damian Zurro ( or Whitney Lew James (