Saint Louis University

First-Year Summer Reading Essay Contest

The 2014-2015 First-Year Summer Essay Contest has been completed!

***Congratulations to our 2014 Essay Contest Winner, Megan Hammond, a first-year student! Her winning essay submission, entitled The Little Princes of Nepal: My Brothers and Sisters, be read here. Congratulations again to Megan!***

• Free use of your spring semester textbooks
• Invitation to attend dinner with the First-Year Summer Reading author.

2014 Essay Prompt

But in writing it, I realized it was more than just their story. It was the story of how somebody like me, somebody with no relevant skills whatsoever, no deep passion for volunteering, no profound desire to make an impact on anyone's life but his own, found himself sacrificing his comfortable way of life to try to improve the lives of these young children on the other side of the world.

That became perhaps the most important element in the story for me. I am desperate for readers, especially younger readers, to see what getting involved can do. How it can change your life so completely, and in ways you could never imagine. How volunteering, whether it is in an impoverished third world nation or in your hometown, requires only that you show up. Don't worry how little of your time or resources you may have to offer-just offer it, and see what happens.

- "Why I wrote Little Princes," Conor Grennan

Little Princes is an autobiography. It is Conor Grennan's story. Like most autobiographies, Conor Grennan did not sit down to write the story just for himself, or even about himself. Little Princes is as much about the people Grennan imagined reading his book as it is his story, or even the story of the children he helped to reunite with their families.

How does Conor Grennan try and use the changes he went through during (and after) his trips to Nepal to achieve his goal of persuading others to "get involved"? As a Saint Louis University student, should you be persuaded? Why or why not? Does a degree from Saint Louis University enable you to "get involved" in the greater community? You will need to use specific examples to support your argument, and special attention will be paid to those essays that note clear patterns for how Grennan depicts, and uses, his own personal changes.

A successful essay will accomplish the following: 

  • Maintain a clear purpose throughout the entire essay
  • Express a unique perspective
  • Contain a strong, central thesis
  • Use relevant, detailed evidence from the book
  • Show pages numbers for textual references
  • Demonstrate effective paragraphing (coherence and unity among paragraphs)
  • Contain correct grammar and punctuation
  • 750 - 1000 words


  •  Essays must be submitted online by Tuesday, September 30, 2014
  • Click here to submit your essay through SLU Groups

Contact the Student Involvement Center at or 314-977-2805

Student Involvement Center, Academic Support, Barnes and Noble College Bookstore

© 1818 - 2015  SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY   |   Disclaimer   |  Mobile Site
St. Louis   |   Madrid