Applications are invited for 2022 Excellent Minds Essay Competition. The Excellent Minds Essay Competition is a brainchild of the Excellent Minds Social and Youth Empowerment Initiative. It is an annual essay competition for undergraduate students in tertiary institutions. The competition is aimed at promoting critical thinking, harnessing ideas, and developing the talents, abilities, gifts, and skills inherent in the African youth. Over the years, the Excellent Minds Essay Competition has been conducted across Nigerian Universities. Since its official launch, it has inspired innovative and high-impact student projects and ideas aimed at solving Nigeria’s most pressing problems.
This year and onwards, the competition is expanding to tertiary institutions across West Africa, focusing on developmental issues associated with the region. The competition theme for this year’s edition is Partnership for Sustainable Development in West Africa.
When? The timeline for the competition is five months, from 5 March 2022 through 29 July 2022.
Where? All stages, save the grand finale, will be held virtually. The grand finale will be held in a physical location in Lagos, Nigeria.
For Whom? The competition is open to students in all disciplines across tertiary institutions in West Africa.
About Excellent Minds Social and Youth Empowerment Initiative
Excellent Minds Social and Youth Empowerment Initiative is a registered non-profit and youth-led initiative in Nigeria that addresses barriers to developmental equity and empowers young people as catalysts for sustainable development. We are committed to engaging with thousands of youths to drive social progress and inspire innovative solutions to global challenges.
Collaboration has become a necessary tool for the growth and advancement of the West African region. With the establishment of ECOWAS, the African Union, the African Development Bank, Africa Export-Import Bank, and more importantly, the emergence of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, the region is set to experience significant development through the trade sector.
As much as these institutions and their initiatives support and promise development, it is unfortunate that most of the anticipated development is still largely theoretical. Also, West African nations have a duty to their region, which should not negatively affect their commitment to other African regions. Please suggest practical and feasible collaborative steps that West African countries can take to stimulate growth and economic development in the region.
• In not more than 1000 words, identify and describe some of the major challenges facing West Africa, and propose collaborative solutions for West African countries. These solutions should not negatively affect their commitments to other African nations.
• Use 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, 1.5-line spacing, and include page numbers.
• The word count does not include your cover page and references.
• All entries must be in English
Eligibility: The competition is open to students in all disciplines across tertiary institutions in West Africa.
Application deadline: 5th May 2022 at 11:59 PM, West African Time (WAT)
Please note that our adjudicators take plagiarism very seriously. If you are caught plagiarising, you will be disqualified from the competition.
FIRST PRIZE: Apple ipad and a Plaque
SECOND PRIZE: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite and a Plaque
THIRD PRIZE: Kindle 6″ Wifi eBook Reader [10th gen] and a Plaque
The top 5 essays will also be published on our website for unrestricted access by the online community.
5 May 2022: Submission deadline
30 May 2022: Shortlisted semi-finalists notified
6 June 2022 – 17 June 2022: Phone interviews
30 June 2022: Shortlisted finalists notified
29 July 2022: 3-minute essay finals (3MEF) and Award Ceremony
MEANING OF ESSAY WRITTING
Did you know the word ‘essay’ is derived from a Latin word ‘exagium’, which roughly translates to presenting one’s case? So essays are a short piece of writing representing one’s side of the argument or one’s experiences, stories, etc. Essays are very personalized. So let us learn about types of essays, format, and tips for essay-writing.
An essay is generally a short piece of writing outlining the writer’s perspective or story. It is often considered synonymous with a story or a paper or an article. Essays can be formal as well as informal. Formal essays are generally academic in nature and tackle serious topics. We will be focusing on informal essays which are more personal and often have humorous elements.
Types of Essays
The type of essay will depend on what the writer wants to convey to his reader. There are broadly four types of essays. Let us see.
1. Narrative Essays: This is when the writer is narrating an incident or story through the essay. So these are in the first person. The aim when writing narrative essays is to involve the reader in them as if they were right there when it was happening. So make them as vivid and real as possible. One way to make this possible is to follow the principle of ‘show, don’t tell’. So you must involve the reader in the story.
2. Descriptive Essays: Here the writer will describe a place, an object, an event or maybe even a memory. But it is not just plainly describing things. The writer must paint a picture through his words. One clever way to do that is to evoke the senses of the reader. Do not only rely on sight but also involve the other senses of smell, touch, sound etc. A descriptive essay when done well will make the reader feel the emotions the writer was feeling at the moment.
3. Expository Essays: In such an essay a writer presents a balanced study of a topic. To write such an essay, the writer must have real and extensive knowledge about the subject. There is no scope for the writer’s feelings or emotions in an expository essay. It is completely based on facts, statistics, examples etc. There are sub-types here like contrast essays, cause and effect essays etc.
4. Persuasive Essays: Here the purpose of the essay is to get the reader to your side of the argument. A persuasive essay is not just a presentation of facts but an attempt to convince the reader of the writer’s point of view. Both sides of the argument have to presented in these essays. But the ultimate aim is to persuade the readers that the writer’s argument carries more weight.
Format of an Essay
Now there is no rigid format of an essay. It is a creative process so it should not be confined within boundaries. However, there is a basic structure that is generally followed while writing essays. So let us take a look at the general structure of an essay.
This is the first paragraph of your essay. This is where the writer introduces his topic for the very first time. You can give a very brief synopsis of your essay in the introductory paragraph. Some paragraph writing skills can be a help here. Generally, it is not very long, about 4-6 lines.
There is plenty of scopes to get creative in the introduction of essays. This will ensure that you hook the reader, i.e. draw and keep his attention. So to do so you can start with a quote or a proverb. Sometimes you can even start with a definition. Another interesting strategy to engage with your reader is to start with a question.
This is the main crux of your essays. The body is the meat of your essay sandwiched between the introduction and the conclusion. So the most vital and important content of the essay will be here. This need not be confined to one paragraph. It can extend to two or more paragraphs according to the content.
Usually, we have a lot of information to provide in the body. And the mistakes writers generally make is to go about it in a haphazard manner which leaves the reader confused. So it is important to organize your thoughts and content. Write the information in a systematic flow so that the reader can comprehend. So, for example, you were narrating an incident. The best manner to do this would be to go in a chronological order.
This is the last paragraph of the essay. Sometimes a conclusion will just mirror the introductory paragraph but make sure the words and syntax are different. A conclusion is also a great place to sum up a story or an argument. You can round up your essay by providing some moral or wrapping up a story. Make sure you complete your essays with the conclusion, leave no hanging threads
Tips for Essay Writing
• Give your essays an interesting and appropriate title. It will help draw the attention of the reader and pique their curiosity
• Keep it between 300-500 words. This is the ideal length, you can take creative license to increase or decrease it
• Keep your language simple and crisp. Unnecessary complicated and difficult words break the flow of the sentence.
• Do not make grammar mistakes, use correct punctuation and spellings. If this is not done it will distract the reader from the content
• Before beginning the essay organize your thought and plot a rough draft. This way you can ensure the story will flow and not be an unorganized mess.