Frequently Asked Questions

What types of papers do you accept?

While the primary emphasis of NUCL is on critical writing, we also invite student poets, fiction writers, and essayists to submit one essay, one short story, or a suite of five to seven poems. We accept the following types of submissions:

  • Analytical/interpretive papers that present a well-supported argument and participate in a critical conversation
  • Original poems
  • Original short stories
  • Original personal essays

What is the selection process?

Each year we receive more than 100 NUCL submissions. Seattle University faculty and the three NUCL interns read submissions anonymously. We then convene and discuss each submission individually given the rankings and comments provided by readers. Generally, accepted papers meet the following criteria:

  • Contains a clear and consistent argument
  • Is well-written
  • Is well-researched but also communicate the author's own argument about the text
  • Is aware of audience (explains terms, provides historical/literary context, etc.)
  • Is no longer than 10 pages

What if I have a paper that is much longer than 10 pages?

We encourage you to revise the paper so it is no longer than 10 pages. You might change the paper from, say, focusing on three texts to just one; or you might simply cut whatever pages are least crucial to the overall argument. You can also append a note to your submission explaining what you cut. Alternatively, you might write a presentation, under 10 pages, that is based on your paper. In other words, if your paper is a 25-page research project, you could develop a 15-minute presentation of some of the highlights of this project and send us the text of that presentation.

What is a faculty sponsor?

Your faculty sponsor is most typically the professor or teacher for whose class you wrote the paper. If you wrote the paper, story, essay, or poems on your own, just ask a faculty member whom you know to serve as your sponsor.

What is the dress code?

There is no official dress code for NUCL. Students typically dress professionally, but comfortably, since the conference goes all day. We would suggest wearing something dressier than jeans and a t-shirt, but not as dressy as a business suit.

How should I prepare? Should I read my paper or present it more informally?

Most students read their papers aloud, but you are also encouraged to consider developing a more audience-friendly presentation of your paper, especially if it is dense and/or theoretical. Whether you read or present more informally, try to be as dynamic as possible. Lastly, if your paper focuses extensively on close reading particular passages or poems, consider providing a handout so that audience members can follow along and perhaps even ask questions related to the text.

When do I find out if my paper is accepted?

We will send out notification of acceptances within 4-6 weeks of the submission deadline.