Applicant Guide - Collegiate Award

Purpose of this guide:

Allow an applicant to :

1.    Understand the overall process of applying for the NCWIT Collegiate Award

2.    Successfully complete the application process by having detailed information about the online application

Guidance and Recommended Approach

WHAT

Select a Technical Project you have worked on, alone or as part of a team, as long as you were a significant contributor. To be competitive, the Technical Project will have solved a problem (technical, social, physical, etc.) by applying a technical solution involving computing. You don’t need to have solved world hunger but you should be able to describe, clearly, why the problem was worthwhile to solve and how you innovated, using computing technology, to solve it. The selection committee will be looking for impact and creativity in your contribution to your project and/or its solution. The project you put forth in your application should be something you worked on within the last year. It is okay to use a project from high school if you’re a college Freshman or something from a class you completed last school year.

HOW

NCWIT recommends that you compile the elements of your application on your own computer, before beginning the online application. There are many elements, outlined below, that you should write or gather before beginning your application online. Please remember to write in complete sentences, use correct grammar and check your spelling. We recommend that you have someone else proofread and help you perfect your written responses - as long as the thoughts are your own!

In order to complete your application, you need to: 

1. Follow these rules 

  • You are (or will become) a member of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Community.
  • You are currently enrolled at an NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) community college, four-year college or university, or other AA higher education institution within the US, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam or on US military bases overseas.
  • You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who resides in the U.S. or is a U.S. citizen residing in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or on a U.S. overseas military base.
  • You are an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a degree in computing.
  • You are NOT an Immediate family member (including spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, and persons residing in the same household) of employees, extended staff, contractors or Board members of NCWIT.
  • You are (or will be) 18 years of age or older on the day you submit your application.
  • You are not a previous NCWIT Collegiate Award Winner (Honorable Mentions may apply again).
  • You agree to the rest of our terms, available here.

2. Submit by the following deadlines

Preliminary Round

Students may apply online, beginning on September 1, 2018 and no later than 8:00 p.m. MDT on Monday, October 15, 2018.

Endorsement from a project advisor is REQUIRED and due no later than 8:00 p.m. MDT on Monday, October 22, 2018.

Finalist Round

Applicants invited to move to the Final Round may apply online, beginning on December 10, 2018 and no later than January 18, 2019.

Click here to view Finalist instructions

Recommendation letter from a project advisor are REQUIRED and due no later than 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time (MT) on Monday, January 25, 2019.

Answer these questions and submit these other pieces of information

Preliminary Round application includes

  • A written Project Description of your Technical Project
  • “Short Answers” to several Questions about you and your Project
  • An Endorsement of your project
  • Technical Project Description:
    • Note that we are not necessarily looking for an academic “Project Abstract” here, but if you have something written in such language, that is likely a good starting place. What we are after is a clear, understandable explanation of what you did, how it works, what was hard or challenging about the problem you solved, and how you overcame the challenges. And we’d appreciate all of that without the need for the reviewers to also need deep expertise in the technical issue solved or used. While our reviewers are ‘technical’ people, they may not know all about the tech area in which your project falls.
    • Title
    • Project Description: In 500 words or less, please provide a thorough description of your project. Imagine you are speaking to someone who may not share your deep level of expertise in this area of technology but you want him or her to fully understand the project. In other words, explain the problem you solved, and how you solved it, without requiring the reader to be an expert with deep background knowledge.
  • “Short Answer” Questions (350 words each):
    • Project Interest/Innovation: Whether you chose the project or were assigned to it, please describe the aspects that interested and inspired you the most.
    • Project Importance/Impact: In your opinion, why is this project important and what impact will it have?
    • Technical Skills: Clearly describe each of the technical skills that you utilized in the creation of this project and explain why each skill was vital to the success of the project.
  • Project Contribution Background
    • Multiple choice questions
      • How did the idea for the project come about? (assigned, out of necessity, own interest...)
      • How much of the overall work was your contribution?
      • How significant was your contribution to the project outcomes?
      • Considering the portion of the project that you worked on, how much supervision and direction were you given?
    • Short Answer questions
      • Referencing your answers above, please describe your individual contribution to this project.
      • Please list names of those who contributed to the project and their role in the project
  • Project Endorsement by Qualified Endorser
    • To aid our application reviewers, we’ll ask you to share with us the contact information for someone who knows about your project and can speak to its technical quality. We need an email address & name for this endorser who may be a Professor, job supervisor, client, investor, etc. We will contact that person and ask them to share a few written thoughts about your project and its level of achievement.
  • School Information
    • GPA; Year in School; Graduation Year
    • Resume upload
  • Acknowledgement and Confirmation
    • Signature
    • Date

Finalist  Round Application includes

  • Technical Project Presentation with Narration
    • Presentation videos will assist Finalist Round judges in assessing your project as a whole including, but not limited to: presentation clarity and effectiveness, the project's technical difficulty, innovation and potential impact.
    • This gives you an opportunity to further explain your Project and your contribution to it. We ask that you create it in a way that doesn’t violate any rules nor introduce any bias - it’s “The Voice” of technical project competitions! For these reasons, the presentation typically takes the form of a slide presentation recorded with a voice-over, because that meets these requirements:
      • An original work, created for this competition’s application
      • Created yourself (though it may be okay to use pre-existing content such as drawings, photos and diagrams if you have the rights to them)
      • No images of people, including yourself
      • No personally identifying information about you or your school (which may introduce the potential for bias)
      • No identifiable images of other people (because you likely don’t have rights to use the likenesses of others and we’re asking you for the rights to share this presentation with our audiences as a requirement of submission)
      • work must not violate any of the terms in the Consent & Release form nor Rules
  • Recommendation Letter from a Professor or Project Advisor.
    • To aid our application reviewers, we’ll ask you to share with us the contact information for someone who knows many of the details about your project and can write a complete explanation recommending you and your project for its technical quality, difficulty and potential impact. We need a name and  email address for this recommender who is likely a Professor (but need not be). We will contact that person and ask them to share a letter of recommendation about you, your project and its level of achievement versus your peers.
    • You may ask the same person who wrote your Preliminary Application endorsement. If this is the case we will work with that person to amend or augment the initial letter of endorsement, if needed.
  • (Optional) Project Updates
    • If significant or material changes have occurred with the project or your contribution to the project after the submission of the Preliminary Application, you may supply additional information.
  • Acknowledgement and Confirmation of all rules, rights, terms and authenticity

3. Finalist Submission Instructions

If you have been notified that you are a Finalist, follow these steps to complete your Finalist submission:

  • Log into your account at college.aspirations.org.
  • All Finalists should see that additional items on their ToDo List are marked in red:
    "Your Award Application is saved as a Draft"
    "Ensure submission of additional Award Application materials"
  • Click on the link to your Award Application to complete the additional materials:
    • Technical Project Presentation
    • Project Updates (optional)
    • Contact for Professor/Manager Recommendation Letter
  • See detailed notes on Finalist application items above
  • Students selected for the Finalist Round will be invited to complete their application online, beginning on December 10, 2018 and no later than January 18, 2019.

    A recommendation letter from a project advisor is REQUIRED and due no later than 8:00 p.m. MST on Monday, January 22, 2019.

 

    4. Understand these details

    • Up to six winners and up to 12 honorable mentions will be selected from all completed Finalist Round applications.
    • Preliminary Round application includes essays, short answer questions, and a project endorsement; Finalist Round application includes a project presentation and letter of recommendation from a project advisor.
    • All applications from the Preliminary and Finalist Rounds will be reviewed by industry technical professionals using a scoring rubric.
    • Applicants must acknowledge all teammates involved with the project.
    • Applicants must be the sole creator of their project presentation.
    • NCWIT requires paperwork including an affidavit and IRS W9. Failure by Awardees to return required paperwork, book travel in the allotted time or attend the Award Ceremony may result in forfeiture of all awards hereunder.
    • NCWIT provides round trip, domestic, economy class airfare, as well as lodging. NCWIT will not be responsible for airline change fees after the initial booking.
    • Use PowerPoint or other presentation software to effectively demonstrate your knowledge and showcase examples of your project. Please remember to speak clearly.The video screencast presentation time limit is 6 minutes. Only Vimeo or YouTube video uploads are accepted.
    • The recommendation letter should be from a professor in your computing major; however, if you are submitting a project you completed at an internship or under the supervision of a different mentor you may submit a letter of recommendation from that technical manager/mentor.
    • Ask the recommender to speak to the technical project and to your technical abilities.
    • Brief the professor/manager about the project and the Award.