What to Expect at the Contest

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The National History Day Contest can seem overwhelming to a participant attending for the first time. To help make students and their families more at ease, we have compiled information to help acquaint you with what you can expect at the National History Day Contest. It is broken down into four tabs, one for the schedule, one for judging, one for student conduct and chaperone expectations, and one for the awards ceremony.

Contest Schedule
Student Conduct & Chaperone Expectations
Awards Ceremony
Contest Judging
Category Specific Instructions
Contest Schedule

The National History Day Contest will take place June 14 - 18, 2020, on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park, just 12 miles from Washington, D.C. National History Day's headquarters will be located in the Stamp Student Union on Campus Drive for the duration of the contest.

Student Check In
Contest check in takes place Sunday, June 14, 2020 from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM in the Stamp Student Union. Information about schedules, judging times, and campus logistics will be available when you check in. Late arrivals for the Junior Division can check in from 8:00 - 9:30 AM on Monday, June 15. Senior Division students can also check in from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Monday and 8:00 - 9:30 AM Tuesday morning. Every student (including each member of a group entry) must check in at registration and pick up his/her own registration packet. Only students may pick up their envelopes.

Teacher Check In
Teachers may pick up their packets at the contest during student check in. All registered teachers will receive tickets for the Teacher Social; those signing up for professional development workshops will also receive information and schedules for the workshops.

Housing Check In
During the contest, housing check in at Stamp Student Union will be available Saturday from 2:00-8:00 PM, Sunday from 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM, and Monday from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. You will receive your room assignment and meal card at this time. (Please note that on site NHD Registration and Housing Check In are two separate processes. Please follow the signs to the appropriate area.)

Late Housing Check In - If you arrive on campus after 8:00 PM, you must go to LaPlata Hall to receive your room assignment and meal card. The telephone number to the LaPlata Hall desk is 301-314-5275. The address is 4121 Farm Drive, College Park, MD 20742.

Student Dance
On Monday evening from 7:30 - 10:30 PM in the Reckord Armory students can join their friends and let loose at the student dance! Dress is casual. Beverages will be provided.

Teacher Social
The teacher social is held on Monday evening from 7:30 - 10:30, at the University of Maryland Edward St. John Learning & Teaching Center. Teachers can meet and relax with fellow educators from around the world. Dress is casual. Hors d'oeuvres will be served and there will be a cash bar. Present the drink tickets you received in your teacher packet.

Wi-Fi On Campus
This summer the University of Maryland College Park will be offering free guest Wi-Fi to all participants for the duration of the program. This service allows you to register up to two devices at a time on the university network. In order to use this Wi-Fi network you will need to register for access and then be verified by an SMS text message enabled device. This network also requires guests to re-register every 24 hours. For more information about using the free guest Wi-Fi please visit: http://go.umd.edu/guest-wifi

Student Conduct & Chaperone Expectations

Students are expected to conduct themselves, both in person and online, in a manner that brings credit to themselves, their schools, and the affiliates they represent. Chaperones are responsible for the behavior of the students in their charge.

NHD Rules and Policies for Participants
Please remember that National History Day is concerned not only for the safety and well-being of students, but also for upholding the wishes of parents, teachers, school principals, and the many supporters who have a vested interest in the students' participation. As guests at the University of Maryland, you are expected to abide by the same rules the University has established for its students. To ensure that your stay is pleasant and trouble-free, you must observe the following rules:

  • You may not physically harm, threaten to harm, or harass any person, including provoking and/or engaging in physical fights or malicious pranks.
  • Alcoholic beverages or other drugs are expressly prohibited except those prescribed by a doctor.
  • Possession of any weapons, firecrackers, or other flammable materials is prohibited.
  • You may not tamper with the fire system or fire safety equipment.
  • You may not set or fuel a fire of any size.
    You are responsible for complying with the requests of all chaperones and University of Maryland officials, including cooperating in cases where you are aware of rules being broken by other students.

    For Students Staying In Dorms

  • Male students are not permitted to visit female students in their dormitory rooms and vice versa. Socializing may take place in the lounges of the residence halls as well as on the rest of the campus.
  • You may not yell from or hang out of room windows. You may not throw or drop objects from room windows.
  • Curfew is midnight every night and will be strictly enforced. That means you should either be in your room or (with the permission of your chaperone) in the lounge on your floor. If any chaperone asks you to go to your room, you should go.
  • You may not enter other students' rooms without their invitation or explicit permission.
  • You may not create excessive noise or disruptions which interfere with History Day activities and/or operation of the dormitories. Quiet hours will be observed from 12 midnight to 7:00 AM every day. During this time, please be especially quiet and considerate to allow others to sleep.
  • You may not bring any animals into the dormitory except when required to assist persons who are physically challenged.
  • You may not cook except in the designated kitchen areas.
  • Students who violate any of these rules will be subject to punishment, up to and including: being asked to leave the dormitories, immediately being sent home at their parents' expense, financial restitution, and disqualification from the National History Day contest.
  • NOTICE: Campus police are advised that all students unaccompanied by an adult must be in the residence halls by midnight each night.

    Expectations of Dorm Chaperones
    The chaperone for a student group staying at the University of Maryland must be familiar with the Rules and Polices for dormitory occupants above.

    Chaperones have the following responsibilities:

  • The chaperone is responsible for the behavior of the students in her/his charge according to the published rules. Hence, chaperones will stay in the same building with her/his students. She/he will be generally available while the students are in the residence halls so that any rule infractions by her/his group can be handled in a timely manner.
  • All chaperones are responsible for enforcement of published rules with any NHD student participant throughout the campus community during their stay.
  • Should the chaperone encounter problems, the first contact will be the Dorm Coordinator designated by NHD (for that particular building). Dorm coordinator information is available at the check-in desk in LaPlata Hall (301-314-5275).
  • The chaperone will act as a liaison between NHD and UMCP Staff. They will be working in cooperation to confront problems as they are encountered in the residence halls.
  • The chaperone will be visible on the floor where her/his students are lodging both at curfew time and afterwards. The Chaperone will make sure that his/her students are in their rooms or in the lounge on their floor at curfew time and afterwards and that they observe "quiet hours" from 12 midnight to 7:00 AM.
  • Chaperones will assist the Dorm Coordinator in clearing the lobby, elevators and stairwells, and other public areas at curfew time. This system will be worked out by the Dorm Coordinator and the chaperones at the start of the groups' stay at UMCP.
  • The chaperone, the Dorm Coordinator and/or UMCP Staff can make a recommendation to the NHD Executive Director for disciplinary action to be taken against any NHD student, including sending a student home.
  • Awards Ceremony

    Awards Ceremony
    The awards ceremony and the presentation of all awards is scheduled for 8:30 AM Thursday morning in the Xfinity Center. A traditional "impromptu" parade made up of NHD participants begins at 8:30 AM. You and your family are encouraged to sit with others in your state delegation. You are welcome to bring banners, flags, or signs. Floats are not permitted.

    Your friends and family can watch the National History Day Contest Awards Ceremony live! Thanks to Skehan Communications, the awards ceremony will be webcast live from the Xfinity Center at the University of Maryland between 8:30 AM – noon ET on June 18, 2020. Tell your friends and family to go to www.nhd.org/webcast to access the live webcast. Your 15 minutes of fame might be coming soon, so tell your friends to tune in!

    Awards, Certificates, and Evaluations
    In addition to monetary prizes for gold, silver, and bronze medalists ($1,000, $500, $250), an outstanding entry from each division for each affiliate and special prizes in certain topic categories will be awarded. All awards, including full and partial scholarships, will be announced at the awards ceremony Thursday morning. Every student will receive a certificate of achievement. The certificates and judges' evaluation sheets will be in packets (one packet per entry, not per student) and will be available for pick-up in the Heritage Hall room at Xfinity Center for ONE HOUR ONLY immediately following the awards ceremony on Thursday, June 18. Certificate pick-up will be organized by category. Students will need to know their entry numbers to pick up their packets. If students forget their entry numbers, they may look up their entry numbers using the NHD Guidebook contest app. Members of group entries should designate one person to pick up the group's packet. ONLY STUDENTS can pick up their packets. Please keep in mind that some affiliate coordinators pick up the packets and distribute them to their students. A list of those affiliates will be announced at the awards ceremony and posted on the doors, as those packets will not be available in the Heritage Hall room. All unclaimed packets will be mailed to the students after the contest. It is very important that your online registration information is accurate and complete to ensure prompt delivery of certificates and evaluation sheets, as we use the address information you provide to return the packets to students. The national office does not keep copies of evaluation sheets.

    Contest Judging

    The first round of judging will take place Monday, June 15, 2020 for the Junior Division and Tuesday, June 16, 2020 for the Senior Division. Each entry will be assigned to a particular room and building for judging. You will receive information when you check in at the contest concerning the time and location your entry will be judged. Maps indicating designated buildings will be available when you check in. Click here for a competition site map. This information will also be available on the NHD contest app.

    If you have an unusual circumstance that requires you to be judged at a specific time, please note your time request during entry registration.

    Judging Student Entries
    Students receive their judging/interview time and location at check in. Students in exhibit, documentary and performance categories should bring four copies of their process paper and bibliography to the contest. Paper entries should bring an extra copy of their paper and bibliography with them when they are judged. No paperwork is required for entrants in the website category, as the process paper and annotated bibliography must be integrated into the site. Report to your assigned room at least fifteen minutes before you are scheduled to be judged.

    Students, teachers, and visitors should leave and enter the room only between performances and documentaries. Everyone waiting outside the competition rooms should be respectful of the presentation in progress and remain quiet. Cell phones should be turned OFF. Performances may be videotaped or photographed ONLY with the permission of the students.

    If a judging issue has come up in your room/with your student, please contact NHD staff immediately. A building monitor (with orange badge) will be stationed around the judging rooms in your building and can get in touch with NHD staff to address the problem.

    Finals for performances and documentaries will take place Tuesday evening, June 16 for the Junior Division and Wednesday morning, June 17 for the Senior Division. The top entry from each judging room will be selected for the final round. The names of the entrants who will take part in the performance and documentary finals will be posted Monday by 7:00 PM for the Junior Division and Tuesday by 7:00 PM for the Senior Division. This finalist information can be viewed on the monitors in the Stamp Student Union, on the NHD website, and on the NHD contest app.

    Please Note: Because all NHD entries must ultimately stand alone, finals judges will not question students after performances or documentaries. Papers, websites, and exhibits in the finals will be judged without student representation and thus are not announced prior to the final round.

    Category Specific Instructions


    Please note the following policies:
    Please do not move, borrow, or take any University of Maryland furniture or other property for use as props/equipment for your project. Some rooms may have a desk or chair that you may use. But, please make sure no furniture leaves any room and is put back in its place within that room after use.

    The use of weapons, real or fake, in any entry is prohibited. Replicas of prohibited items that are obviously not real are permissible. To avoid issues with the University of Maryland campus police, students are advised to keep any replica items resembling a weapon stored and out of sight until their judging time.

    Performances - You must supply all equipment and props used in a performance, including extension cords. All props and equipment should be removed for safekeeping after each presentation because the rooms will be open after judging is completed. You are not permitted to store props and equipment in the various competition buildings - they must be kept in the Prince George's Room in Stamp Student Union, or in your dorm/hotel room.

    Documentaries - A PC computer and an LCD projector will be provided in documentary judging rooms. Please note: there will be fewer technical problems if you bring your project on a flash drive. The recommended file type is mp4.

    Exhibits - If you are shipping your exhibit to the University of Maryland, you must use the handling label purchased within the online registration system. Please remember this is only a handling and storage fee that ensures your exhibit will be delivered to the Prince George's Room in Stamp Student Union. You are still responsible for arranging and paying for the shipment of your exhibit. Electricity will be provided for all exhibits, but please bring your own extension cord. If your exhibit needs floor space, it must fit in a 4ft x 4ft square space. Please note your request for floor space during registration.

    Paper Entries - You will submit your paper and annotated bibliography electronically by uploading the document within registration AND mail in four copies. Download instructions on how to upload your paper. Your paper and annotated bibliography must be uploaded by the registration deadline: 11:59 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020. If you experience difficulties, please contact IT@nhd.org.

    Please note that you are welcome to submit the hard copies of your paper and annotated bibliography printed on both sides to conserve paper. (This is contrary to Rule A3.) Paper hard copies must be received in the NHD office by 11:59 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Please send your paper to: PAPERS, National History Day, 4511 Knox Road, Suite 205, College Park, MD 20740.

    Website Entries - Your process paper and annotated bibliography must be integrated into your website. No paperwork is required. PLEASE NOTE: Websites will be locked for judging beginning 11:59 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Be sure to submit your 8 digit website ID by May 19.

    Download the Contest Schedule

    This is the schedule for the 2019 National Contest.