Getting to the Contest

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Getting you and your project to the National History Day Contest can seem like a challenge. We have compiled these resources to help you do both of these things. They are separated into three tabs, one about traveling to the contest, one about shipping items to the contest, and one about funding your journey.

Traveling to the Contest
Shipping Projects to the Contest
Funding Your Trip
Traveling to the Contest

Traveling to the Washington, D.C. area is easy! Numerous forms of transportation are available, including public transportation. Whether traveling by plane, train, automobile, or bus, you can get to the nation's capital. Ground and rail transportation are available from all three Washington-area airports to the University of Maryland. Listed below are various options for traveling from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall, Ronald Reagan National, or Dulles International airports to the University of Maryland. All three airports are served by various shuttle companies and have public transportation options as well.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport - BWI
Ground Transportation - BWI has numerous shuttle companies operating from the lower level of the airport. There is a ground transportation desk located on the baggage claim level. This desk can assist travelers with cabs, private cars, and vans. The BWI website can provide in-depth information. In addition, the B30 bus is an easy solution that runs from BWI to the Greenbelt Metro station. This is one stop away from the College Park-UMD Metro station on the Green line. For the B30 bus details, click here.

Rail Transportation - Travelers can also catch Amtrak or MARC commuter trains from the airport. From the airport, take the train to the New Carrollton station. Exit the train and go to the Metro line at the same train station. Board the Metro and ride the Orange Line toward Vienna. Transfer to the Green Line at L'Enfant Plaza. Take the Green Line toward Greenbelt. Exit the Metro at College Park-UMD. The campus is located 1.5 miles from the metro station. Alternatively, the F6 bus runs from New Carrollton to the UMD campus Monday through Friday. For details and schedule, click here.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport - DCA
Ground Transportation - DCA has different shuttles operating from the lower level. The main company operating from DCA is Super Shuttle. They can be contacted in advance by calling 800-BLUE-VAN or go to the Super Shuttle website. Information can also be obtained through the airport's website.

Rail Transportation - The Washington Metro (subway) stops at DCA. Travelers can board the Metro from the middle level of the airport. Take the Yellow Line toward Gallery Place. You can transfer to the Green Line at either L'Enfant Plaza or Gallery Place. Take the Green Line toward Greenbelt and exit at College Park-UMD. During rush hour (6:30 - 9:00am, 3:30 - 6:00pm) the Yellow Line also serves College Park-UMD. The campus is located 1.5 miles from the metro station. The website for Washington's Metrorail system has system maps and schedules.

Dulles International Airport - IAD
Ground Transportation - Ground transportation from IAD will be slightly more expensive than from BWI or DCA. Transportation can be arranged using the information kiosks on the baggage claim level. For more information, visit the airport's website.

Rail Transportation - The Silver Line Express bus provides service between Dulles and the Metro Silver Line's Wiehle-Reston East station. The schedule for the shuttle can be found here. Board the Silver Line toward Largo Town Center. Then transfer to the Green Line at L'Enfant Plaza. Take the Green Line toward Greenbelt. Exit at College Park-UMD. The campus is located 1.5 miles from the metro station.

Rail and Taxi Service
Amtrak serves the D.C. area. Visit Amtrak's website. The closest station to the University is New Carrollton, where you will need to take a taxi or ride the Metro to the campus. At the New Carrollton Station, board the Metro and ride the Orange Line toward Vienna. Transfer to the Green Line at L'Enfant Plaza. Take the Green Line toward Greenbelt. Exit the Metro at College Park-UMD. The campus is located 1.5 miles from the metro station. Alternatively, you may arrive at Union Station in downtown Washington, D.C., but a taxi would cost more from there. You could take the Metro (see below) from Union Station to College Park-UMD, then take a taxi or a University of Maryland shuttle bus to campus. For detailed directions on how to reach College Park by car, please see the website for Conferences and Visitor Services at the University of Maryland or consult a map for the major roads to reach the Washington Beltway (I-495/I-95).

Metrorail Subway System
There is a Metro (subway) station in College Park. It is located across U.S. Route 1. We have arranged for university shuttles to take National History Day participants, families, and friends to and from the Stamp Student Union and the Metro station. Complete shuttle schedules will be printed in the Contest Program, which will be available in the Stamp Student Union. You can also see the NHD shuttle schedules here. When the NHD shuttle is not operating, you may take the regular university shuttle to the College Park station (104); you can find that schedule here. You may also (1) walk to the station, which is approximately 1.5 miles from the residence halls; (2) drive to the College Park station where you'll find long-term parking on the south side of Paint Branch Parkway; or (3) catch the C8 Metrobus at Stamp Student Union to the College Park station, or the C2 Metrobus to the Greenbelt Metro Station. Check out Metro's website for system maps, schedules and other useful information.

Driving Directions to Campus
From the Beltway, take exit 25B and go south toward College Park on U.S. Route 1 (Baltimore Avenue). If traveling south on 1-95 from the Baltimore/New York area, take exit 27 and follow the signs to U.S. 1 South toward College Park. Turn right onto Campus Drive to enter the university.

If you are driving and need a physical address for a GPS map, the address to Stamp Student Union is: 3972 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20742.
The address to LaPlata Hall (the late check-in dorm) is: 4121 Farm Drive, College Park, MD 20742.

Shipping Projects to the Contest

You can ship anything to the National Contest that cannot travel with you. If you are shipping items to the University of Maryland for the National Contest, you must purchase an NHD handling label for each package.

Handling Labels
If you will be shipping items to the University of Maryland for the contest, you must purchase one NHD handling label per package during online registration. These labels will be generated automatically with the name and address you provide. The $25 fee for each label will be added to your total registration fees. Once payment for your labels has been indicated, you will see the button "Print Handling Labels" in your Order History. From there you will download and print your labels. This is only a handling and storage fee. You are still responsible for arranging and paying for the shipment of your exhibit, equipment, or props to and from the National Contest.

The Stamp Student Union only will accept shipments from June 8 through June 13. Packages received before June 8 will not be accepted. The University of Maryland will not accept any shipments that arrive C.O.D. The Stamp Student Union does not receive USPS packages on Saturdays, so if you plan to use the postal service be sure that your package will arrive on or before Friday, June 12.

The UPS Store in the Stamp Student Union can help you arrange return shipment during the contest. All packages must be out of the student union no later than 5:00 PM Friday, June 19. Any items that remain will be discarded! Please be considerate – if you do not intend to ship your Exhibit entry home, please take it down and dispose of it yourself.

Size Requirements
Due to size limitations, cartons must be able to fit through a standard doorway, approximately 32 inches wide and 79 inches high. Any shipments larger than this limit (over-sized cartons) will be kept at Central Receiving. If you need to retrieve your over-sized item once you arrive on campus, the address of Central Receiving is: University of Maryland Physical Distribution Center, The Severn Building, 5245 Greenbelt Road, Docks 5-10, College Park, MD 20742. The phone number is 301-405-5851. The hours for Central Receiving are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM.

It is the responsibility of the individual shipping the item to transport it to their judging site. Allow ample time for delivery. Delivery takes a minimum of three to five business days.


Funding Your Trip

A trip to Washington, D.C. and the National History Day Contest is an experience that lasts a lifetime. We want every eligible student to participate in this exciting event. However, we realize that sometimes raising the money to cover the cost of travel and registration can seem a bit daunting. There are many funding sources available to help students with the costs of participating in NHD, and many students just like you have had success gaining support from their local communities. Each year more than half of NHD national contest participants raise the funds they need to attend the National Contest from local businesses and from civic community and leadership organizations. As one of the leaders of tomorrow, you are exactly the type of individual these local organizations want to help.

School Funding
The first place you should look for funding assistance is your school. Many school administrations and PTA groups help fund student attendance at the National
Contest. Ask your teacher what types of funding sources may be available from your school district. Most districts have funds set aside to support athletic and academic competitions. Students representing their state at NHD may receive funding the same way a basketball team playing in the state playoffs does. If your school district cannot help support your trip ask them to write a letter of introduction to local businesses; members of the school board might be able to ask a business or organization to sponsor your trip.

Local/State Community Funding
There are plenty of places to find potential sponsors in your area. The local Chamber of Commerce, Visitor's Bureau and similar agencies have free directories and lists of businesses and community organizations in your vicinity. Additionally, Yellow Pages of the phone book offer a quick treasury of local businesses. Organizations like Jaycees, Rotary, Kiwanis Clubs, banks, patriotic groups (such as Veterans of Foreign Wars and Daughters of the American Revolution) and others may help support NHD student projects.

Next Steps
Once you have a list of organizations or businesses that might help you, the next step is to introduce yourself and your NHD project. A letter is a terrific form of introduction. In the letter, clearly state the following: your name, school, phone number, where you live, your grade, and why you are writing. Next state that you are representing your state at the National Contest, explain what NHD is and why you want to attend the National Contest. Finally, state how much money you will need and your desire to meet and discuss this further. Use our sample fundraising letter as a model. Remember, your letter is the only information a potential sponsor has when deciding whether to see you and to give you funding, so be creative and positive. Good fundraising letters convince readers that the request is worthwhile.

Give the potential sponsor information to make the decision. Tell them how much you need and suggest that they may provide all or part of the money. Also, tell them what other businesses and organizations you are soliciting. Important: keep a copy of the letter for your records. An individual or business you have solicited may lose it or ask about it, and you want to be able to send a duplicate and answer their questions confidently. After you receive sponsors be sure to write them a thank you letter and then send them a picture of yourself at the National Contest. You might offer to present your NHD project to the organization or business.

Sample Letter

This is a sample letter you can use when reaching out to organizations to fund your trip.
Sample Letter

This is a sample letter you can use when reaching out to organizations to fund your trip.