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Scholastic Art & Writing Awards - Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

How do I apply for a direct scholarship?

The process for applying for direct scholarships is the same as for regular entries. In the student’s Awards account, there is a step in the work upload process titled Opt In to a Scholarship. Here, the student can click a checkbox indicating which scholarship they want their work to be considered for, and add a personal statement on why they are applying (50 words minimum). The entry deadline for scholarships is the same as the deadline in your region.

What is a Distance Learning Program?

When a student is enrolled at a school but is not required to be physically present to complete their education, we refer to that school as a Distance Learning Program. Examples of Distance Learning Programs include virtual or online schools and home school networks.

Participation in the Awards begins at the regional level with recognition in your local community. Students are automatically assigned to a region based on the location of their primary school. If your school is a Distance Learning Program, then you will be assigned to a region based on your home address in your profile.

Other Educational Programs (OEP) and residence programs like boarding schools are not marked as Distance Learning Programs.

If you believe that you have been assigned to the wrong region, please contact us.

I created my work at a program outside of school. Should I enter the school I attend or the program where my work was created?

Students are required to create an account linking their day school and will be able to add one out of school program as an Other Educational Program (OEP) when entering works. The Awards are not in a position to determine what constitutes an OEP because many of the educational spaces in which students are creating work outside of school are not easily defined.

In our exhibitions, publications, and notifications, we focus on highlighting students’ demographic information (grade, city, and state) along with their school. OEP names will not be listed, but educators from the OEP will still be listed if that is what the student has requested.

Is there a specific theme students have to address?

Young artists and writers are free to explore any and all topics. There are no pre-defined prompts and no work is ever disqualified from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards because of the nature of its content. Some scholarships are presented to students whose work fits a particular theme.

I have an account, but can’t remember my email or password. What do I do?

If you forget your password, click on the “Forgot Password” link on the login page.

The account login is always an email address. If your primary email address does not allow you to retrieve your password, please contact us for assistance.

Can international students apply?

Beginning September 1, 2020, only students residing in the United States, U.S. territories or military bases, or Canada may enter the Awards.

Boarding Schools: Students attending a boarding school located in the United States, U.S. territories or military bases, or Canada will be automatically assigned to a regional program based on the location of their school.

Virtual Schools: Students must reside in the United States, U.S. territories or military bases, or Canada to enter the Awards when enrolled in a virtual school. Students will need a home address in order to apply to a regional program.

Other Educational Programs: Students residing outside of the United States, U.S. territories or military bases, or Canada, are not eligible for the 2021 Scholastic Awards, even if they attend an Other Educational Program in the United States. Other Educational Programs include summer programs, after school clubs or lessons, private tutoring, pre-college programs, and portfolio review courses.

My school isn’t on the list. What do I do?

Search for your school by selecting the State or Province, followed by entering your school’s name or key words. If the school doesn’t appear as an option, click on “I can’t find my school for Advanced School Search. Please be sure to try using different search methods (including by zip code, by city, by name), before clicking on “Still Can’t Find School”. 

Enter your school information into the form that appears on your screen. The system will search for your school once more. If you don’t see it in the final list, click the option to add the new school you entered. After you request a new school, our staff will review the request, which may take 3 to 5 business days. During peak times, it may take longer to process your request. You will receive an email when your request has been accepted. 

Why is a valid email address required for participation in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards?

The Awards will email you important information regarding entry deadlines, award notifications, and additional opportunities. Be sure to enter an email address you check frequently.

How should I select my school if I am enrolled in an online, virtual school, or other distance learning program?

Students enrolled in online, virtual schools, or other distance learning programs, should add the school to their profile just as they would add any other school. If your primary school is a distance learning program, you will be assigned a region based on your home zip code instead of your school zip code. This is because we want students to be recognized first in their local communities.

Can a student enter work without an educator present?

Yes, students can create a profile and upload work on their own as long as they have an educator’s full name and email address designated on each entry.

Beginning this year, educators are no longer required to sign Entry Forms; a parent or guardian’s signature will continue to be required for each work entered into their regional program.

Are educators required to create an account?

We strongly encourage all educators to create a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards account, though they are not required to do so. Educators with accounts have the ability to create, edit, view, and monitor the progress of their students online.

We also use educator accounts to distribute Awards materials, such as certificates, to the educators of National Medalists. You may add a personal address to your educator account, and we will mail your certificate to this address. If you do not include a personal address, we will send any materials to the school address that is linked to your account.

Educators of National Medalists will not be able to reserve National Ceremony tickets or receive their educator award if they do not have an account.

What information will I need to create an account?

To create your account you’ll need:

  • Your Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Your Grade
  • School Zip Code
  • A Valid Email Address

To complete your profile, we’ll ask for:

  • Home Mailing Address
  • Phone Number
  • Parent/Guardian Name and Email

We’ll also ask for some additional information, but these fields are not required.

How do I enter the Awards?

To enter the Awards, follow these steps:

  1. Create an account.
    Visit to create a student or educator account beginning September 1, 2020.
  2. Upload your work.
    Share your best art and writing.
  3. Complete your entry.
    Send a signed entry form and payment or fee waiver form to your regional program.

Guidelines and deadlines vary by region. To find your region’s deadline, visit the My Region page. You may have a different deadline for art and writing entries.

For additional instructions, visit the How to Enter page.

Who can participate in the Scholastic Awards?

To participate in the Awards, you must be a student in grades 7–12, age 13 and up, and residing in the United States, U.S. territories or military bases, or Canada.

Work created in the spring semester of 2020 is eligible for entry, so long as the student hasn’t graduated. Students should enter in their current grade level. Seniors who will graduate mid-term in December 2020 may participate and enter as grade level 12.


How do I choose which works to include in my art or writing portfolio?

Students should enter works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal vision or voice. Please read the category descriptions for specific portfolio entry criteria.

If I created my work with two different media (e.g., pencil and paint), is that considered mixed media?

No, mixed media consists of collage or assemblage where materials protrude from the 2D plane. A work done with two different media should be classified by the dominant media. For example, a drawing completed mostly in pencil with some painted elements should be submitted in the Drawing & Illustration category.

Can I enter both a portfolio and works in individual categories?

Yes, students may enter a work to both portfolio and individual categories. Remember to indicate on your dashboard if a work should be considered portfolio only, or as both a portfolio and individual entry. The Portfolio category is only available to students in grade 12.

Are there word limits for writing?

Yes, word limits vary depending on the category. If your work exceeds the word limit of a category, please submit a shortened version of the work.

Can a portfolio entry include a variety of media (paintings, photographs, video clips) or genre (poetry, short story, personal essay)?

Portfolio entries consist of six works that can come from one category or any combination of multiple categories. Art portfolios may only contain works from art categories, and writing portfolios are limited to writing categories. Students may enter two art portfolios and two writing portfolios, but all works must be unique and the same work cannot be entered in both portfolios.

Expanded Project works cannot be included in portfolio entries.

Can I enter more than one work, enter works to more than one category, or enter both art and writing?

Generally, there is no limit to the number of works you may enter, with the exception of Photography and Portfolio. Each student is allowed to enter 16 works in the Photography category, and two art and two writing portfolios. Please be aware that photos added to portfolios will count toward the 16work limit. The Portfolio category is open to students in grade 12 only. 

Students may enter different works to multiple categories, but are not allowed to enter the same work to more than one category.

Entry guidelines may vary for art and writing in each region. Please visit the My Region page to find your regional webpage with specific guidelines and deadlines.


Why do I grant the Alliance a non-exclusive license to use my work when I enter?

The Alliance is proud to promote the exceptional work of young artists to a wide audience of educators, students, program partners and the general public through exhibitions, special events, print and online publications, and social media. This includes the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Exhibition, displays at the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences in Washington, D.C., and the Art.Write.Now.Tour.

To do these things, we need permission from you. The non-exclusive license allows us to use, copy, change, publish, publicly perform, distribute, exhibit, or add to your work without further permission or approval from you as part of our mission to promote creative self-expression among young people. Students will always be notified if their work is shown in these special exhibitions and all displays or publications will attribute you to your work. This non-exclusive license also means that you can enter the same work you entered to us to other scholarship programs or contests, keep the work in your portfolio, and license it to others for non-exclusive publication.

Do I need to submit a consent form from the subject(s) in my work?

You don’t have to submit a separate consent form. However, you, not the Awards, are responsible for getting any necessary consents or releases from people or for any places or property depicted in your work. By entering work to the Awards, you certify that the work is yours and does not infringe on anyone else’s intellectual property rights.

What is your plagiarism policy?

All work entered into the Awards must be original, meaning you create the work based on your own ideas. By entering work to the Awards, you agree that you created it and did not copy it from any other person, business, school, or organization. Any work that infringes anyone’s intellectual property rights will be disqualified.

For more information about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ Copyright & Plagiarism policy, review the links below.

Participation Terms

Copyright & Plagiarism Guide

Can I enter work that has been previously published, exhibited, or recognized by another program?

If your work has been previously published, exhibited, or recognized by another program, confirm that they do not hold exclusive rights to your work before entering it to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. In the case that your work receives an Award, it must be free to use in our publications or exhibitions under the non-exclusive license described in our participation terms.

Can I enter my Scholastic Art & Writing Awards entry to another program at the same time?

You may enter the same work you entered to us to other scholarship programs or contests or license it to others for non-exclusive publication. If you plan to enter work to another awards program or publication, review their rules first to confirm that they will not hold exclusive rights to your work. In the case that your work receives a Scholastic Art & Writing Award, it must be free to use in our publications or exhibitions under the non-exclusive license described in our participation terms.

Can I re-enter a work that I entered to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in a previous year?

Previously awarded works can be re-entered only as part of a portfolio. Works that did not earn a Regional or National Award in previous years may be re-entered to individual categories if they have been edited significantly.

Work Upload

I mailed my entry form and then made changes to information about my work online. Should I resend the form?

No, there is no need to resend your entry form.

What are the art and writing deadlines for my region?

Entry deadlines range from December to January and vary by region. To find your regional deadline, visit the My Region page.

What size should my image be?

Uploaded images should have a print resolution of 300dpi and the file size should be around 3MB–5MB. If you are unable to provide your file at “Excellent” print quality then upload the best quality you have.

Are there size limitations for entered artwork?

While there are no size limitations for art entries, regional and national exhibitions may not be able to exhibit oversized works. Check your regional program’s webpage for exhibition requirements.

Can work be entered as a group collaboration?

Collaborative entries are accepted in the following categories only: Film & Animation and Expanded Projects. Up to 5 collaborators can be added per entry.

All collaborators must meet all eligibility criteria (see Participation Terms).

One team member creates an account, uploads the work, and lists all collaborators. Collaborators who are not listed will not be recognized.

If the entry receives an Award, each collaborator will receive individual certificates and medals.

Can I make changes to my work after the entry deadline has passed?

No, students and educators can no longer edit works online after the entry deadline.

How do I know which region I’m in? Where do I enter my work?

You will be automatically assigned to a regional program when you create your account at based on your school’s zip code. You may have a different regional program for art entries than for writing entries. 

To find your region, visit the My Region page.

What are the entry fees?

Entry fees are $7.00 per individual entry and $25.00 per portfolio entry.

The Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and its Affiliate Partners. Entry fees support both your local Affiliate and the Alliance to cover the cost of processing, customer service, scholarships, ceremonies, exhibitions, publications, and other general operating costs.

Where do I find the entry forms?

Entry forms will be generated through your Scholastic Art & Writing Awards account after all profile information has been entered and work has been uploaded. Signed forms must be submitted following the directions on the form or form submission page. Entry form instructions may vary from region to region.

I created my work independently. Do I have to list an educator?

Even when works are created independently, students are required to enter their day school and have their entry forms include the information of an educator. The person who is linked on the form can be any teacher or guidance counselor who is familiar with the student’s work. This indicates that this educator has reviewed the work and can attest to the originality and authenticity of the work.

How do I tag my work?

To tag your work, click on the text field within the “Tag your work” section of the student upload process. Type in a word that you feel represents your work, then press enter to add it as a tag. As you type in a word, you’ll notice some suggestions appear in a drop-down menu. You can either keep typing anything you want, or click on one of these suggestions to add it as a tag.

You can add up to five tags per work. If you want to change a tag you’ve added, simply click on one of the tag “balloons” that appears at the top of the section to remove it, then type in a new tag and press enter.

Please note that all completed tags are displayed lowercase and without spaces. For example, if you enter the tag “Political Science”, the tag will display as “politicalscience”.


What are the entry fees?

Entry fees are $7.00 per individual entry and $25.00 per portfolio entry.

The Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and its Affiliate Partners. Entry fees support both your local Affiliate and the Alliance to cover the cost of processing, customer service, scholarships, ceremonies, exhibitions, publications, and other general operating costs.

As an educator, can I waive the entry fees for my class?

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and its Affiliates will waive the entry fee if it presents a significant barrier to participation and if the student submits a Fee Waiver Form. Each student and their family should make this determination for themselves.

Fee Waiver Forms are individual, and we do not accept blanket Fee Waiver Forms for schools or classrooms.

A parent or guardian must sign the Fee Waiver form certifying in good faith that the entry fee presents a barrier to participation. Educators are not required to sign this form.

Some policies may vary by region; visit the My Region page to find your region.

What should I do if I can’t afford the entry fee?

If the entry fee is a barrier to your participation in the Awards, we will waive the entry fee when you submit a Fee Waiver Form. In your account, go to the payment page and check the box indicating you will be submitting a Fee Waiver. A link to a Fee Waiver Form will appear. Complete the form and submit it with your entry form. A parent or guardian must sign the form certifying in good faith that the entry fee presents a barrier to participation.

Entry forms received without payment or the Fee Waiver Form will be considered incomplete and may be disqualified. Some policies may vary by region; visit the My Region page to find your region.

My Regional Award

What is a Scholastic Awards Summer Scholarship?

Scholastic Awards Summer (SAS) scholarships are need- and merit-based tuition scholarships for 7–11 grade students who received a Gold or Silver Key.

Students do not apply for specific summer programs; instead, they apply for a SAS Scholarship and we work with our partners to place students into a program that will work best based on their availability, location, and interests.

Not all students who apply will receive a SAS Scholarship, so we encourage you to also apply to other programs and opportunities when making your summer plans.

Go to our Summer Scholarships page for more information.

When will I find out if I received a regional award?

Regional awards are presented by our Regional Partners in your local region. Notification dates and methods will vary. To find your Affiliate Partner, visit the My Region page.

A list of Gold Key winners will be posted at on January 28, 2021. Log in to your account then to view your Awards certificate.

Is receiving a regional award prestigious to colleges and universities?

Yes! Your Scholastic Art & Writing Award is an achievement, and many colleges will take your Award into consideration when determining admissions and scholarships. Be sure to mention it on your college application or resume.

Are students who earn regional awards eligible to receive scholarships?

Regional scholarship opportunities vary. Check your region’s webpage to learn about potential scholarships or award opportunities.

In addition to regional scholarship opportunities, students in grades 7-11 who receive a Gold or Silver Key may be eligible for a Scholastic Awards Summer (SAS) Scholarship to attend an art or writing program over the summer. Go to our Summer Scholarships page for more information.

Gold Key works are also automatically considered for National Medals and direct scholarships.

If I receive an award at the regional level, will my work be exhibited or published?

Regional programs determine which works are included in their exhibitions and publications. Please contact your regional program for more information.

I received a Gold Key award. What happens to my work now?

Gold Key works automatically advance to national judging. In New York City, renowned creative professionals review Gold Key works from across the country. Jurors select work for national recognition based on three criteria: originality, technical skill, and emergence of a personal vision or voice.

National Awards will be announced on March 17, 2021 at

Which regional awards advance to national judging?

Gold Keys and American Vision & Voices nominees advance to national judging.

What are regional awards?

Gold Key, Silver Key, Honorable Mention, American Visions Nominee, and American Voices Nominee.

My National Award

When will I find out if I received a national award?

National Medals will be announced on National Notification Day, March 17, 2021. Log in to your account on or after this date to see if you received a National Medal.

Why do you hold National Medalist artwork for two years?

The Alliance is dedicated to showcasing student work and raising awareness of the incredible talent, originality, and voice of teens traveling exhibitions and special events. One way we accomplish this is through an extensive calendar of events, which includes the Art.Write.Now.Tour and National Exhibition. The two-year length of time takes into account the timing of these events and the delivery and receipt of the work, as well as its photographing and/or framing. View the comic to see the two-year lifecycle of your work, find out what happens when you ship it to New York City for the National Exhibition, and when to expect your work back.

When will my artwork be returned?

Regional Exhibitions: Please contact your Regional Partner regarding art return from a regional exhibition.

National Exhibition: National Medal works may be requested and held by the national office of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers for up to two years for additional exhibition possibilities. Please notify us if you move because the work will be returned to the student’s home address. Note that if the Alliance is not able to return physical works to a student for any reason, we may hold the work up to three years from the date of the national award notification. If the work is not retrieved, we may continue to store the physical work or destroy it.

View the comic to see the two-year lifecycle of your work, find out what happens when you ship it to New York City for the National Exhibition, and when to expect your work back.

If I earn a National Medal, will my artwork be exhibited?

A selection of works by National Medalists will be included in the National Exhibition in New York City. The exhibition includes works that received American Voices & Visions, Gold Medal Portfolio, Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio, Gold Medal, and direct scholarships. We can’t exhibit works that are oversized or that would be shipped from an international address. Writing submissions will be available on iPads at the exhibition. Due to space limitations, we are not able to exhibit the works of all medalists.

If I earn a National Medal, will my work be published?

Works that receive a National Medal are displayed in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards online gallery.

A selection of National Medalist works will be included in the Awards’ publications, The Best Teen Art and The Best Teen Writing. Students are notified when their work is published and will receive a copy of the publication in which their work appears.

If your work receives a National Medal and you do not want it to be displayed in our gallery or in publications, please contact us and mention the title and category of your work.

How do you determine which students receive scholarships for portfolios?

Portfolios are blindly adjudicated by artists and industry professionals. The top portfolios are then presented to a scholarship committee, which awards sixteen $10,000 Gold Medal Portfolio scholarships (eight writing and eight art). Additional $1,000 scholarships are given to students earning Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolios. The committee consists of Alliance staff, board members, and national partners. The committee will review the personal statements that were submitted in addition to the six works. They consider a number of factors that combine the recognition of talent and the representation of diverse mediums, viewpoints, and backgrounds of Award recipients when selecting scholarship recipients.

Are students who earn National Medals eligible to receive scholarships?

Yes, 16 graduating seniors are chosen to receive the Gold Medal Portfolio Award, which is accompanied by a $10,000 scholarship. Silver Medal Portfolio with Distinction scholarships of $1,000 are also given to select Award recipients as determined by the national portfolio panel. Additional direct scholarships for individual works are also provided annually.

The Alliance also partners with colleges and universities to earmark tuition scholarships for college-bound National Medalists. We send these schools a special announcement with a list of all graduating seniors who received a National Medal. Students who apply to colleges on our list of Scholarship Partners will be considered for tuition scholarships from those schools. You don’t need to call these schools to tell them about your National Medal—we’ve already told them about you!

Please note that not all National Medalists will receive a scholarship.

What do students receive if they earn a National Medal?

National Medalists receive certificates and medals and are considered for national exhibition, publication, and scholarship opportunities. Gold Medalists and most scholarship recipients are also invited to attend the annual National Events week of celebration in New York City.

What are national awards?

National Awards include Gold Medal, Silver Medal, Gold Medal Portfolio, Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio, Silver Medal Portfolio, American Visions & Voices Medal, Best-in-Grade Award, Civic Expression Award, The Herblock Award for Editorial Cartoon, New York Life Award, One Earth Award, and Ray Bradbury Award for Science Fiction & Fantasy.