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Eligibility and Submission Rules

These rules and guidelines apply for the following Learning Network 2020-21 contests and challenges:

  • Personal Narrative Writing Contest
  • Vocabulary Video Contest
  • Review Contest
  • STEM Writing Contest
  • Editorial Contest
  • Podcast Challenge

Eligibility Rules

1. Students ages 11 to 19 who attend middle or high school can participate.

For these six contests, we invite students in middle school or high school to participate.

For students in the United States, we consider middle school to begin in 6th grade. Students in lower grades cannot participate.

For students outside the United States, students must be 11 years old to have their work submitted to a contest.

2. Students who are attending college classes after already graduating from high school cannot participate.

This contest is intended for students who are attending middle or high school. College students cannot submit an entry. However, high school students who are taking one or more college classes can participate, as long as they have not graduated from high school yet. 

3. Students ages 19 or younger who have graduated high school and are taking a gap year, or who have not yet enrolled in college, can still participate.

For the purposes of these contests, we will consider recent high school graduates who have not started college as high school students. However, if you are taking one or more college classes and you have graduated from high school, then you cannot participate.

4. The children and stepchildren of New York Times employees are not eligible to enter this contest.

Nor are students who live in the same household as those employees.

Submission Rules

1. An entry must be the student's own work.

An entry must be your creation. You can have the support or assistance from another student(s) or adult(s). For example, you can receive feedback and technical support. But the ideas, tone, writing or editing decisions must be your own.

2. An entry must be original - and not plagiarized.

Be sure not to take someone else's work as pass it off as your own.

3. An entry must not be published elsewhere at the time of submission.

We want students to be inspired by our contests and have an opportunity to reach a wider audience for their work. If you have already published a piece, then come up with something else to submit. 

In other words, if you have already published your work in a school newspaper, on a radio station’s site or a literary magazine, then do not submit it to our contest.

After you submit to our contest, you are allowed to submit your entry to another publication or contest for possible publication.

4. Only one entry per student. 

You have one shot to win a contest. Do not submit multiple entries.

If you participate as a group, you cannot also participate as an individual.

Please submit your best entry.

5. A student's age and location determine how the student's work should be submitted to a contest.

Middle and high school students ages 13 to 19 years old in the United States and the United Kingdom, and students ages 16 to 19 years old anywhere else in the world, can submit their own entries. Younger students can have an adult submit on their behalf.