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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 in the United States who attend middle or high school can have their work judged.

In the United States, students who attend sixth through twelfth grades can participate — or they can have a teacher or parent submit on their behalf. Students who have graduated from high school in the year (12 months) before the start of the contest, and who have not yet begun taking college or university classes, can also participate, as long as they are 18 or younger at the time of submission. Anywhere else in the world, students must be ages 13-18.

2. The children and stepchildren of New York Times employees are NOT eligible to enter this contest. Nor are teenagers who live in the same household as those employees.

Submission Rules

1. A student's entry must be original, and not be published elsewhere at the time of submission.

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 editing suggestions; technical support. But the ideas, tone, writing or editing decisions must be your own.

A work must not be plagiarized from another work. 

Unpublished: We want students to be inspired by our contests and have an opportunity to reach a wider audience for their work.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.

We do not consider third-party non-selective hosting sites, such as YouTube or SoundCloud, as publishing.

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

2. 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.

Our judging process is already very time consuming and complicated. Please submit your best entry.

Additional Questions

1. What is the “prize”?

Having your work published on The New York Times Learning Network — and, potentially, in print in a Times special section.

2. What if I need to prove to my teacher that I entered this contest?

Within an hour of submitting your editorial, you should receive an email from The New York Times Learning Network with the subject heading “Thank you for your submission to our Editorial Contest.” If you don’t receive the email within an hour, even after checking your spam folder, then you can resubmit your entry.

If, after two attempts and waiting over one full day, you still have not received a confirmation email, you can contact us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com with the email address you used in the contest form. Use the subject heading “Please send me an email confirmation for my Editorial Contest submission.” Be sure to include your name in your email. You may have to wait up to a week for a reply.