On May 31, 2016, MIPA will begin accepting entries from your 2016 yearbook for our annual contest.

  • Pay special attention to the directions in each category you enter for information on the format of entries. Most individual contest entries must be subitted in a digital format to our web-based contest submission system. Paper submissions in these categories will not be accepted for any reason. If you no longer have access to your original digital files, you may scan yearbook pages to submit to the contest.
  • You may be able to enter materials produced by your staff into non-yearbook categories. Watch for the Student Media Contest Call for Entries in December.
  • Yearbooks free of prior review may receive their award in the Spartan Critique competition “with Distinction.” This does not affect a student media outlet’s overall Spartan score or rating, but is designed to promote the educational advantages of student-led scholastic media.
  • Please go http://mipamsu.org/contest-central to get all contest information. You can also find all contest information by clicking on the Contests & Awards menu at the top of the page.
  • All awards will be presented at the MIPA Spring Awards & On-Site Contests event in April 2017 at the Lansing Center. If you are unable to attend, you may pay an added postage fee to have awards mailed to you.
  • It’s important to carefully read category descriptions and contest rules. Failure to follow contest directions may result in your entries being disqualified.
  • Save 10 percent on your Yearbook Individual Category Contest entries if you submit by the early deadline.
  • YOU MUST BE A MIPA MEMBER TO ENTER CONTESTS. Membership information, including a member list that is updated weekly, is available at http://mipamsu.org/membership. Membership in MIPA runs the academic year, and all 2015-16 members are eligible to enter for the July Spartan deadline (but we would be happy now to renew your membership for 2016-17).
  • All entries must be submitted by the deadline to be eligible for awards. Entries submitted by mail must be postmarked by the deadline. Entries submitted electronically must be uploaded to MIPA using the contest submission system by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline day. Payment is due by the same deadline.
  • All entries should be uploaded to MIPA’s contest submission system via the adviser’s Submittable account. That’s how we connect those entries with your school. PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW YOUR STUDENTS TO CREATE THEIR OWN ACCOUNTS TO UPLOAD INDIVIDUAL CATEGORY CONTEST ENTRIES TO THE ONLINE CONTEST SUBMISSION SYSTEM!
  • DO NOT RELY ON YOUR SCHOOL OFFICE TO MAIL YOUR CONTEST MATERIALS! It’s best to go to the post office yourself and mail the package! It is too important to you and to your students to risk letting it go through school mail. And to be even more sure (especially if you are mailing it on the deadline day), ask to see the postmark on the package and get a receipt. We also recommend you get a tracking number.
  • Please keep a copy of each of the forms that you send for your records. Also, don’t hesitate to contact the MIPA office if you have questions at 517-353-6761 or [email protected].
  • A Cut Above, MIPA’s compilation of contest winners, is available online at http://acutabove.mipamsu.org. This website features a selection of first-place winners from previous year’s contests.
  • *It is possible to send in Yearbook Spartan contest entries up to one month late (see postmark deadlines above) for an additional $40 fee. Spartan submissions postmarked after the late deadline may receive a critique, but will not be eligible to receive an award ranking. Late entries will not be accepted for the Individual Category Contests.
  • If combining multiple contest fees into a single payment, please provide an itemized statement detailing the contest fees you are paying. You may pay on our contest website via credit card.

Find all contest materials at MIPA Contest Central

Other Important Information

Solve our most common problems by carefully reading category descriptions!

Nearly all problems we ran across in last year’s contest were because entry instructions were not followed.

Carefully check over any entries uploaded into the contest system by students. See the contest how-to guide for information on how to view all of your entries.

While it’s not required, we strongly recommend that you submit original photos AND the final designed pages for photography categories. It helps judges more accurately determine the quality of an image.

Double-check to make sure entries are submitted into the correct category. Entries submitted into the wrong category will be disqualified.

Triple-check how many entries you submit. We had many schools over-pay or under-pay last year because advisers did not accurately count how many entries were submitted. Help us help you so that you only have to deal with your bookkeeper once!

If an entry is one of several similar items on a spread, make sure it is very clear which item should be judged! Last year, judges had a hard time with many entries figuring out which headlines, captions, photos and stories should be judged.

Reminder: Early entry discount

Your yearbooks are done well before MIPA’s regular individual category contest deadline in February — and we want to reward you for getting your entries in early so that we can process them. Submit your yearbook entries by these deadlines to save 10 percent on entry fees:

  • Spring-delivery yearbooks: July 15
  • Fall-delivery yearbooks: Nov. 15


Please contact the MIPA office at 517-353-6761 or [email protected].

What’s New for 2016?

Every year, we try to improve MIPA’s contests to keep up with changing technologies and the world of media. We also are constantly working to make the contests easier to enter and manage. Here are some changes for the 2016-17 MIPA Individual Category Yearbook Contest:

Changes for Middle Schools

Separate division planned for middle school and junior high yearbooks

For many years, middle school yearbooks have had to compete with books created by high school students. This year, we aim to change that.

If at least four middle schools submit entries to the individual category contest, MIPA will create a separate middle school & junior high yearbook division. (Schools with a combined a middle school and high school yearbook typically will be judged among the high school divisions.) We hope this makes the contest more fair, while also keeping things manageable for our volunteer judges.

Middle schools are invited to submit single pages rather than spreads

Some middle school yearbooks, because of their size or other limitations, don’t do many spreads — treating two pages as one for design purposes. Yet all of our design categories ask for a spread (which is the typical practice in high school books). MIPA welcomes individual page OR spread entries from our middle school and junior high members in all visual yearbook categories.

New Category

Y-15. Colophon

A colophon includes technical aspects of the book and printing as well as a listing of the yearbook staff and adviser. It may include press association memberships, previous awards and other information.

Category revisions

Y-16. Advertising Spread

The criteria for this category was expanded to allow sponsorship and proud parent ad pages to be included as part of an entry. Schools may submit up to five advertising spreads as part of a single entry to showcase their overall work. Because entries in this category are expected to be larger and more in-depth, this category is limited to one entry per school to keep it manageable for our volunteer judges.

Y-17. Individual Ad: Business

The description and judging criteria for this category were updated to better reflect advertising standards.

Y-18. Individual Ad: Proud Parent

The description and judging criteria for this category were updated to better reflect advertising standards.

Y-27. Feature Presentation

Criteria for this category was expanded to also include mini-mags, special sections, supplements and other non-traditional content that may not be limited to a single spread.