Unlimited Chances to Win $2000 in Prizes

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

If you have an eye for great photography or a talent for the written word, you can win some $2,000 in prizes up for grabs for talented UCSF students. The Synapse Storytelling Contest invites writers and photographers to submit their best work for a chance to win a dozen prizes each valued between $50 and $250. The deadline for entry is Friday, July 1, 2022.

Check out last year's entries here.


Contest: Synapse: UCSF Student Voices presents The Synapse Storytelling Contest. Any person who is currently enrolled as a student at the University of California San Francisco is eligible to enter up to an unlimited number of submissions in four categories:

  • Nonfiction
  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Photography

Please review contest details below for category expectations.

Prizes: A total of 12 entries will receive gift cards of the winner’s choosing. The winning entry in each of the four categories will receive $250 in gift cards. The second place winners in each of the four categories will receive $75 in gift cards. The third place winners in each of the four categories will receive $50 in gift cards. And all entries that are published throughout the 2021-2022 academic year receive a $25 gift card.

How to Enter and Qualify: To enter and qualify, entrants must be currently enrolled as a student at UCSF, complete and submit an online entry form and produce an original story or photograph that fit within any of the following four categories.

Judging: A committee of journalists, UCSF administrators and UCSF students affiliated with Synapse will review all submissions.

Entries will be judged in three areas: 

  • Quality
  • Creativity
  • Impact

Winner Notification: Winners and honorable mentions will be notified on Friday, August 5, 2022 via email. Winners will be announced to the public in the first September 2021 edition of Synapse: UCSF Student Voices.

Usage rights: By entering the contest, all entrants agree to grant Synapse the non-exclusive right to publish submissions throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, and to republish in the future as needed. Entrants retain the right to submit their work for publication elsewhere.

Any entrants with questions or comments regarding the contest should send an email with the subject line “Synapse Storytelling Contest” to synapse@ucsf.edu.

Category expectations: 

Nonfiction: The winning submissions deliver a compelling narrative revealing true subject matter. You might ponder philosophical questions, offer a personal narrative, or tell a historical, biographical, instructional, or humorous story. Word count 600 to 1,500 submitted in a Microsoft Word file.

Fiction: The winning submissions present fictionalized stories with imagination and inventiveness conveying a deeper message about the human condition. It can be humorous, mythmaking, a fairytale, or a fictionalized personal story. Word count 100 to 1,500 submitted in a Microsoft Word file.

Poetry: The winning submissions combine aesthetic, rhythmic, and symbolic qualities of language to evoke emotion, revelation, insight, and understanding of eternal truths. Make it connect with the reader. Word count 100 to 1,500 submitted in a Microsoft Word file.

Photography: The winning submissions will show any aspect of student life — on holiday, in your work environment, on campus, things you see around the city etc. All photograph submissions must have minimum pixel dimensions of 1000 X 1000 pixels at a resolution of 72 pixels/inch. Submissions must include a caption with a minimum of 100 words.