Essay Contest 2011

National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest (NPSREC)

This contest, established in 1999 by ACTR, has become a signature Russian language contest for post-secondary students around the country. ​Students taking Russian in accredited colleges and universities are invited to participate in the annual National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest sponsored by the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR). 
Important Dates and Information
  • Deadline for registration is January 29, 2018.
  • Registration fee is $5.00 per student.
  • Codes and essay topic will be emailed by January 31.
  • Essay contest may take place any time, starting from February 1 through 15
  • Judges' results are expected April 1.
  • Certificates will be mailed out by April 15.
  • Instructors must register students through this webpage (see the Registration section).
  • Submissions must be uploaded to Dropbox. Email attachments will not be accepted.
  • No late registrations or submissions will be accepted.
  • At least one instructor per participating institution must be a current ACTR member, with paid dues.
Instructors must register their students through the link below. The deadline for registering students for the 2018 National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest is January 29th. Instructors at an institution with at least one current ACTR member, with paid dues, are qualified to register students. There is a non-refundable $5.00 registration fee for each participating student. No late registrations will be accepted.
​Participating instructors will receive student codes, directions, and the essay topic on January 31. Students should not receive the essay topic until the scheduled time of the contest. All contest participants within the same institution and Russian language course must write their essays in an hour on any day between February 1 and 15, as determined by the participating instructor. Essays must be written legibly on lined paper, the template for which will be emailed along with the directions for administering the contest on January 31. Students are not allowed to consult any books, notes, or outside sources to write their essays, and may not work together. Instructors may not substitute students for those registered. No refunds are available for students who do not show up for the essay contest.
All essays must be submitted as specified here:
  1. Group the essays by Category AND Level, e.g., A1, B3, C2, etc.
  2. Scan the essays in the same group, such as A1, as ONE single PDF file, and save it with a file name exactly like this: A1 Essays_[YOUR INSTITUTION], e.g. A1 Essays_Moscow State University. This file should contain only the A1 essays and no other essays from any other category or level. Do this for each Category-Level of essays that you have.

  3. Sort the "Student Declarations and Waiver" forms into two groups: 1) Students who AGREED to allow their essays to be used for research, organized within by Category-Level and 2) Students who DECLINED, organized within by Category-Level. 

    Scan and save all of the "Student Declarations and Waiver" forms from GROUP 1 as one PDF file with a file name exactly like this: Student Waiver Agreed_[NAME OF YOUR INSTITUTION], e.g.  Student Waiver Agreed_Moscow State University.

    Scan and save all of the "Student Declarations and Waiver" forms from GROUP 2 as a separate PDF file with a file name exactly like this: Student Waiver Declined_[NAME OF YOUR INSTITUTION], e.g. Student Waiver Declined_Moscow State University.

  4. Upload all of the PDF files to a Dropbox folder designated by the contest organizers by no later than February 19.

Only submissions uploaded to Dropbox will be accepted. Failure to use the correct file naming convention or incorrectly filing an essay will result in automatic disqualification of the misfiled essay. 
All essays will be evaluated anonymously; no essay will be identifiable by the name or institution of the student who wrote it. Three judges in Moscow will evaluate essays according to content (the ability to express ideas in Russian and communicate information about the topic) and length, lexicon, syntax, structure (grammatical and orthographic accuracy), and originality or creativity. The judges' results are expected by the beginning of April, and winners will be announced around mid-April in the ACTR Newsletter and on ACTR website. Gold, silver, bronze, and honorable mention certificates will be awarded for the best essays at each Category and Level.
Instructors must place their contest participants into the appropriate CATEGORY and LEVEL
OVERVIEW OF CATEGORIES AND LEVELS
There are three CATEGORIES:
  • Category A: Students with no exposure to any Slavic languages at home;
  • Category B: Heritage speakers of a Slavic language other than Russian AND/OR native speakers of languages of the former Soviet Union with some prior experience with Russian; and
  • Category C: Russian heritage speakers.

The LEVELS for Categories A and B are based on the number of contact hours of formal Russian language instruction at the time of the essay contest, including high school. See below for the criteria.

The LEVELS for Category C are based on the degree of exposure to Russian and contact hours of formal Russian language instruction in college only. ​See below for the criteria.

For study abroad or other immersion programs:
Calculate the number of contact hours of formal language instruction, multiply that number by 2, and use the result as the total number of contact hours.
Category A: Students who do not and did not ever speak Russian or any other Slavic language at home.
Category B:Heritage speakers of a Slavic language other than Russian AND/OR native speakers of languages of the former Soviet Union who have had some prior experience with Russian.
  • Level One (A1, B1): fewer than 100 contact hours of instruction in Russian
  • Level Two (A2, B2): 100-250 contact hours of instruction (2nd-year Russian)
  • Level Three (A3, B3): 250-400 contact hours of instruction (3rd-/4th-year Russian)
  • Level Four (A4, B4): more than 400 contact hours of instruction (4th-/5th-year Russian)​
Category C: Students who were born to Russian speaking families and received most or all of their education in English. These students did not have any formal instruction in Russian before college. 
  • Level One (C1): Students who may or may not speak Russian with their families, and who have NOT attended school in Russia or the former Soviet Union and who had to learn reading and writing skills after emigration. These students have had less than 60 contact hours of Russian instruction in college.
  • Level Two (C2): Students who may or may not speak Russian with their families, and who have NOT attended school in Russia or the former Soviet Union and who had to learn reading and writing skills after emigration. These students have had fewer than 120 contact hours of Russian instruction in college.
  • Level Three (C3): Students who speak Russian with their families, and who attended school for fewer than 5 years in Russia or the former Soviet Union and may have had to relearn reading and writing skills after emigration, and who have had fewer than 60 contact hours of instruction in college.
  • Level Four (C4): Students who speak Russian with their families, and who attended school for 5 or more years in Russia or the former Soviet Union and have not had to relearn reading and writing skills.
Administering the Contest
Submitting the Essays and Student Declarations Forms
Student Categories and Levels
CRITERIA FOR CATEGORIES AND LEVELS
Students other than Russian Heritage Speakers

Students were invited to write an essay and win lunch with the author. All GCC students participating in A Tale for Three Counties were eligible to enter.


Matthew Bilohlavek, Hillary Jordan and Christopher Abdulla March 10, 2011

Students were asked to select one of the following questions for their essay:

  1. Each of the characters in Mudbound is bound by circumstances, the land, traditions, law, and or by their own personal limitations. Which character is most successful at freeing themselves from what binds them and how?

  2. Which character in the book did you identify with most? Describe why and how you identify with this character.

First place winner Christopher Christopher Abdulla – read Christopher’s essay

Second place winner Matthew Bilohlavek – read Matthew’s essay

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