History Day competitions can be a fun and valuable part of the History Day process. Here is some helpful information to guide you through the steps of contest participation.
Levels of competition
There are generally four levels of competition for History Day students.
- School History Day Fair
Students display their projects at their school, and teachers or judges choose the projects that will advance to the regional competition. Depending on school size, the school fair may be very large or take place within one classroom. You may use the following judge criteria forms for the competition if you choose.
- Regional History Day competitions
Students enter their projects into one of 12 regional competitions throughout the state. Regional events take place throughout March.
- State History Day competitions
Finalists from all 12 regional events enter their projects into the State competition, which takes place at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in late April or early May.
- National History Day competitions
State finalists from Minnesota are awarded the opportunity to compete at the National competition at the University of Maryland-College Park in mid-June.
Participation in Regional Events
More than 30,000 students participate in History Day throughout the state, but each year, due to limits of event space, volunteer assistance and staff capactiy, about 4,500 students participate in the regional events.
In January, each participating school is required to fill out a participation survey. The lead teacher from each school fills out one survey for the entire school, listing the total number of students completing projects in each of the five categories.
When History Day staff receives all school surveys, each school is assigned a certain number of projects it may bring to its particular regional event. Assignments are made on a proportional allotment basis; schools with higher participation are allowed to enter more students into the regional competitions.
For example, if a school has six or seven students completing junior individual exhibits, that school will be allowed to send about three projects to the regional event. Other schools with substantially more participants would be allowed to send more projects to the regional event, depending on event capacity and other schools' participation numbers. Each school is allotted a minimum of three projects per category.
Papers and Websites
Papers and websites do not compete alongside exhibits, documentaries and performances at the regional event due to the length of time needed to view and judge a paper or a website.
Instead, papers and websites are mailed to the state History Day office in early March for a first level of judging. History Day staff sort the papers and websites into judging teams, and mail out the projects to teams of judges. Paper and website judges have about two weeks to review and judge the projects, and then they send their results back to the state History Day office, along with completed judge forms. History Day staff notify paper and website finalists, and finalists are allowed to make changes before submitting a final project back to the History Day office about three weeks before the state competition. These final projects are mailed to new teams of judges. All paper and website finalists are interviewed at the State competition.
Each school may enter as many papers or websites as they would like into the first level of judging. Each school must still complete the participation survey in January for both paper and website projects.
For the 2012 event season, all research papers and websites are due at the Minnesota History Day office on Tues., March 6, 2012. This is not a postmark deadline!