The California Science & Engineering Fair strives continually to improve the quality of the event for its participants throughout the State of California. As part of these ongoing efforts the changes listed below will be implemented. Some of these changes were discussed at the last Affiliated Fairs Conference which was held during the 2017 California Science & Engineering Fair.
The California State Science Fair has been renamed the California Science & Engineering Fair. This name change follows several decades of service to the future scientists and engineering of the State of California while being known as the California State Science Fair, the official Science Fair of the State of California.
For 2018 the California Science & Engineering Fair will take place on April 23-24. This is approximately one month earlier than last year. The reason is explained in the following item.
For 2018 the California Science & Engineering Fair has dropped its affiliation with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Students wishing to participate in ISEF have only the option of qualifying through their county or regional science fair.
The CSEF Application Fee is now $45.
This is the first change in the California Science & Engineering Fair’s Application Fee since 2004 when it was set to $30. Associated with this increase, and in recognition of the difficulty this may cause some potential participants, the Application Fee will be waived for students with documented financial hardship. The conditions for this waiver, and the documentation required, are described on the new Application Fee Form itself.
The allocations to affiliated fairs of the number of projects which may be sent to CSEF have been determined. Beginning in 1998, the number of projects which each affiliated fair is allowed to qualify to CSEF has been defined as an explicit limit set by CSEF. Based upon available space (which varies every year), determined needs across the entire State, and discussions with our affiliates, most notably all of those participating in recent Affiliated Fairs Conferences, here are the allocations for 2018. With the exception of the smallest affiliates, whose allocations are already at the minimum of 6, almost all affiliates have been assigned allocations which are smaller than in previous years. This is due to the fact that in 2018 the space available for project displays within the California Science Center is smaller than in previous years owing to temporary exhibits which will be on display in the Science Center during this year’s fair. Some of the spaces which have been used in recent years will likely not be available again in the future.
The California Science & Engineering Fair is affiliated with the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) Competition for 2018.
As a result of this affiliation, all projects in the Junior Division which receive a category award of First or Second Place (and have not already been nominated to the Broadcom MASTERS by their local fair) will be qualified into, and receive entry packages for, the Broadcom MASTERS competition. Depending upon the number of such selected students who have already been qualified into the Broadcom MASTERS by our affiliated fairs, it may be possible for CSEF to qualify Third Place (and even Fourth Place) winners as well. Obviously, this will not be known until the Awards Ceremony.
The Broadcom MASTERS is a nationwide competition for students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. From the total entrant pool, 300 Semifinalists will be selected, including 30 Finalists who win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for themselves and one chaperon, where they will compete for awards and prizes, including the top award of $25,000. For further information on the competition itself see the Broadcom MASTERS web site.
There will be only a single Awards Ceremony for the Fair. This ceremony will be closed to the public.
For many years CSEF has held separate awards ceremonies for the Junior Division and Senior Division. Owing to space limitations the Junior Division Awards Ceremony at 4:00 pm was closed to the public, although the Senior Division Awards Ceremony at 5:30 pm was open to all. Each Junior Division participant was given one ticket at Registration for an accompanying guest to enter the earlier awards ceremony.
For 2017, in order to accommodate families, schools, and county groups with participants in both divisions, these two ceremonies will be merged into a single awards ceremony at 4:00 pm. Owing to space limitations, only participants and presenters will be allowed into the ceremony itself.
However, there will be auxiliary viewing locations elsewhere within the California Science Center. Each participant will be given one division-specific ticket at Registration to enable an accompanying guest to enter the corresponding viewing location. There are no tickets for sale to either location.
Only persons holding a ceremony viewing ticket will be admitted to these viewing locations.
Note Added 2018: This year the Senior Division viewing location will be in the Science Center’s Admin East.
The deadline structure for applications was simplified in 2017. There is now only one deadline, the Submission Deadline. While applications are incomplete until the Application Fee has been paid (along with possibly other documentation depending upon the project), not sending the Application Fee within two days of the application’s Submission Deadline is no longer a reason for rejecting applications. Nevertheless, for qualified projects the Application Fee should still be sent immediately after submitting the application. Alternate projects should continue to wait for the acceptance decision and explicit instruction to send the Application Fee.
History: For many years there have been two deadlines which applications had to satisfy, a Submission Deadline and an Application Fee Deadline. The original motivation for the Application Fee Deadline was abuse by a small number of students who submitted applications to CSEF with no intention of participating, thereby precluding the participation of other students named as alternates. By requiring the Application Fee before announcing acceptances the frequency of such abuse was reduced.
However, given the desire by students and their families for earlier decisions on acceptance, especially those not within driving distance of Los Angeles and therefore needing to make special travel arrangements, CSEF has progressively reduced the gap from the application submission until an acceptance decision was announced. Now, each fair’s Decision Date, when acceptance decisions are announced, is only seven calendar days after its Submission Deadline. Consequently, there is no longer sufficient time for the Application Fee to be mailed, received, and processed before the Decision Date. In recognition of the fact that receipt of the Application Fee can no longer be a condition for acceptance, there is no longer an explicit Appplication Fee Deadline. Nevertheless, the Application Fee is still required of every participant before being allowed to register on site and set up the Project Display. Whether the Application Fee for each application has been received will continue to be published on the CSEF web site.
Clarification on Submission Deadline: Under normal circumstances an affiliate’s Submission Deadline is the date after which any application from a student from that affiliate will not be accepted. However, there are exceptions. More precisely, the Submission Deadline is the last date on which applications for qualified projects from an affiliate retain priority over its alternates. After the Submission Deadline if the total number of acceptable applications received from an affiliate is equal to or larger than that affiliate’s allocation, no further applications from that affiliate will be accepted. All on-time applications from qualified projects that meet the CSEF Eligibility Criteria will be accepted, along with on-time alternates in the priority order specified by the affiliated fair to the extent that doing so does not exceed the affiliate’s allocation. However, if the total number of applications has not filled the affilate’s allocation, then subsequent applications will still be accepted until the allocation has been filled or the Final Submission Deadline (which this year is April 4) on a first-come, first-served basis, without regard for whether the submitted project was named as a qualified or alternate project. Consequently, qualified projects submitted after the Submission Deadline may not be accepted if alternate projects submitted earlier have filled the allocation.
Clarification on Team Projects: Each member of a Team Project must submit his/her own application, along with its associated Application Fee. For purposes of determining when “the project” was submitted, CSEF will use the earliest application submission time by any member of the team. Team members submitting applications after the Submission Deadline will not be rejected simply owing to a late application if another member of the team has already submitted an application on time and the project is otherwise eligible for participation.
All students who have been supported in a professional research environment must submit the new Professional Research Opportunity Support form as part of their application.
Years ago, CSEF required students who had worked in a professional research environment only to have a letter from their research advisor available for inspection by the judges at their project display.
Beginning in 2013, students were required to produce this required letter as part of the application process. No student who had performed all or a substantial part of their project in a professional research environment was permitted to register or set up their project display without having previously produced this letter.
The change in 2016 was that instead of an unstructured letter, students who have enjoyed the support of a professional research environment must have the research director at that institution complete a specific form. This form is considered part of the application so in its absence the application is incomplete and no such student will be permitted to register or set up his/her display. This was formalized in a revised Display Regulation 8:
8. All projects must clearly distinguish between the work of the student participant and the work of others. Students participating in a research opportunity in industry, a university, hospital, or institution other than their school, must display only their research. Such students must have the principal research director complete either the CSEF Professional Research Opportunity Support (PROS) form (which is preferred) or the ISEF Form 1C specifying the assistance received and the role and contributions of others in the project. A copy of this form must be submitted as part of the application. The original must be included in the project notebook at the project display for inspection by the judges.
Although the CSEF PROS form is preferred, students who have participated in a county or regional science fair which is an ISEF affiliate and who already have a completed ISEF Form 1C may use that form instead of needing to generate yet another piece of documentation from their research advisor. Regardless of affiliated fair, students who do not already have a completed ISEF Form 1C, and all students in the Junior Division, are strongly encouraged to utilize the CSEF PROS form.
Further, as stated in the Display Regulations, students should keep the original form with their project, and send only a photocopy (or scan) as part of their application. The original should be kept with the project notebook at the project display for inspection.
Acceptances for students from fairs with early deadlines will receive notice earlier than before. Submission Deadlines for all of CSEF's affiliates are staggered across several weeks, often spanning March and April, with fairs whose Awards Ceremonies are held earliest having the earliest deadlines. Nevertheless, before 2009 all applicants received notice of acceptance (or not) at the same time, the Final Decision Date.
In an effort to allow families more time to make travel plans, beginning in 2009 acceptances were announced progressively over the course of the application period. Acceptances (or rejections) for applicants from each affiliate were announced 14 calendar days after the Submission Deadline for that affiliate, or the Final Decision Date, whichever came earlier.
Beginning in 2016 the Decision Date for each affiliate was changed to either seven (7) calendar days after the affiliate’s Submission Deadline, or the Final Decision Date, whichever comes first.
See also: Changes last year: 2017.Last updated: Tue Mar 6 17:11:34 PST 2018