Guidelines for Students Submitting a Paper

What is Beacon?

Beacon is a one-day, competive conference for students at two-year colleges in the mid-Atlantic United States.

How can I get involved?

Submit a paper!

Look over the research writing that you have done or are doing for your courses. Is there an excellent paper, one that involves original thought, research, and good writing? Is there a faculty member with whom you would like to work to polish the paper or do research that might become a research paper to submit to Beacon? If so, talk to the faculty mentor, check out the submission guidelines and the information on this website, and submit your paper.

If you don't have a paper for this year but might consider one for the future, why not register for the next Beacon Conference and check out what your peers are doing?

Why would I want to participate?

You may already have written an excellent research paper for a course, and Beacon is an opportunity to submit that paper into a competition with other students' papers. If you are chosen as a finalist to present your work as part of a panel, you will have the opportunity to share your research with others by giving an oral presentation of your paper at the conference.

What other benefits are there?

There is a $100 prize for the outstanding paper in each of the academic categories. Panel Award Winners' papers are published in the conference's Proceedings. Also, being a Beacon scholar is a fine addition to your resume.

How do I submit a paper?

First, find a faculty mentor to work with (probably the professor who assigned the paper, but it can be any professor who is willing and with whom you want to work). The paper should be one that involves research and original thinking. Next, work with your mentor to polish the paper and get it ready for submission. Pick a category that fits your paper, and then follow the guidelines to submit.

Can any student submit? Must they be in an honor society or on the Dean's List with a high GPA? Must they have a faculty mentor?

Generally speaking, any student with a worthy paper and a faculty mentor may submit a paper regardless of their grade point average or membership in honor societies. That said, Beacon is a conference sponsored by a coalition of community colleges, and students' participation in the conference is as community college students who are subject to their respective colleges' policies.

Beacon is meant to honor the relationship between instructor and student, so students are encouraged to work with their mentors. Students may take the first step by asking their instructors about submitting, especially since not all instructors are familiar with Beacon, but students should not be submitting work without guidance from a faculty mentor.

Finally, be sure to seek out your college's Beacon Steering Committee Representative(s) to learn more about your college's policies regarding this conference.

Can I see samples of past winning papers?

Yes, all of the winning papers are included in the conference proceedings. You can view past proceedings on the Proceedings page.