Frank Stranzl

With the fall quarter just days away from ending, one more time of hearing the word “essay” may just make any Cal Poly students’ heads explode. But mtvU is hoping there are a few finals-week survivors left up for the challenge to become one of Billboard and mtvU’s featured student voices.

Since mid-November, mtvU, in collaboration with Billboard Magazine, has been promoting one of their most recent contests, “mtvU Student Voice Contest.” Just 450 chracters (not words) or less may land an aspiring music writer a spot as a guest columnist for Billboard Magazine’s “Student Eye” column.

All students have to do is log on to and click on the “Student Voice Contest” hyperlink that will take applicants to a simple online form.

But to give hesitant writers a sneak peek at what kinds of questions Billboard and mtvU will be posing, the first question asks, “You’ve just been given $5 million to start your own record label. How would you do it?”

So if you’re keen to pop culture and all things music, visit for official rules and submissions guidelines. There is no need for any prior music writing experience, just the ability to show off your best prose in less than 500 words.

The top five finalists will have their winning essays published online at Each finalist will also receive a one-year subscription to Billboard Magazine, according to the mtvU Web site.

The deadline to submit a completed online entry form is Jan. 30. Finalists will be announced in February.

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