Student contests registration and online-entry directions


Advisers and contestants must read all the contest rules relevant to the contests they enter.

The general competition process for online entries

  1. Register students: Advisers register their students in the National Student Media Contests or Junior High/Middle School National Media Contest online at
  2. Enroll students in contests: Advisers designate which students are entered in which contests.
  3. Prepare online submission entries: Contestants prepare their photo or design entries per the contest and design entry requirements.  (The contests that require online submissions are designated "Online submission" in the contest title.)
  4. Upload entries: Advisers or students upload layouts (in PDF format) by the posted deadline.
  5. Judging: Various professionals and advisers will critique the images online.
  6. Critique session: On-site at the convention, contestants are required to attend a two-hour critique session. Winners receive a certificate and are recognized at the awards ceremony. The ratings are Superior, Excellent and Honorable Mention. Superior ratings, which are awarded with a medal, may be given to no more than 10 percent of the entries in any contest. Judges may give as many ratings in Excellent and Honorable Mention as appropriate.
  7. Review critiques: After the convention, students and advisers will be given critique packets for their entries. Critiques for photo entries can also be reviewed online.

Contest registration

Make sure to register students for contests and upload entries, when necessary, by the deadline for each convention. To begin, visit


Entry preparation

For instructions on preparing photo entries, click here.

For instructions on preparing design entries, click here.

For instructions on preparing broadcast/video entries, click here.

Uploading entries


Photo entries

If an image will not upload, start by verifying that the image meets the requirements: JPEG, RGB, image dimensions (both width and height) less than 5000 pixels. Once those requirement are met, re-save the image using Save As… and give the image a different name. That will solve 99% of any problems uploading images.

See Preparing photo entries for directions on how to produce a compliant photo entry.

Metadata (Author credit and caption):  If you try to upload a file with missing author credit or caption, you should get an error message referring to metadata.  Yes, the system does check this.  (And, often a quality caption makes the difference between an award or no award or a higher award.)

Design entries

If you encounter difficulties getting your layout or graphic design entry to upload, or if it seems to upload okay but then doesn't appear as an uploaded entry, please confirm your PDF file is smaller than the 20 MB file size limit.  If it is too large, please see Preparing layout entries for tips on reducing PDF files.

File format

The system will not allow upload of file formats other than JPG for photos, or PDF for layouts and graphic designs.

Call us for help

We are more than happy to assist you if you run into problems, and we will do everything in our power to help you meet your deadline if you run into issues.  But the first thing we will ask you is, have you double-checked that your image meets all the requirements?  So make that your first step to troubleshoot your upload issue.  If you have any questions about the instructions, feel free to call us.  (See the bottom of any page on our website for our number.)

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