The NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

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The NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award

In an era where creativity and originality are often overshadowed by the digital landscape, the NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines (REALM) Award serves as a beacon of inspiration and acknowledgment for the incredible work done by high schools and colleges in nurturing artistic talent.

This prestigious accolade, awarded annually by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), not only honors the dedication and hard work of students, teachers, and school administrators but also highlights the impact of literary and art magazines in fostering a vibrant and supportive environment for budding writers and artists.

Group of student working on a table.

The NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award underscores the significance of collaboration and self-expression through writing and art, as these publications provide an unparalleled platform for aspiring individuals to showcase their creative prowess.

By recognizing the efforts and achievements of these publications, the REALM Award sets a benchmark for future generations, encouraging them to pursue their passions, challenge their creative boundaries, and make their mark on the world of literature and art.

What is the NCTE REALM Award?

What is the NCTE REALM Award? The NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award has become an esteemed acknowledgment of the exceptional contributions made by high schools and colleges in the realm of literary and art magazines. Each year, this accolade shines a light on the unwavering commitment, diligence, and inventiveness of students, faculty advisors, and educational institutions in the creation and publication of these outstanding magazines.

To ensure that only the most deserving publications receive this recognition, the NCTE REALM Award program employs a rigorous evaluation process that scrutinizes the content, editing, design, and overall quality of submitted magazines. In assessing content, the program looks for original, engaging, and thought-provoking pieces that showcase the unique talents and perspectives of the students involved.

Editing and proofreading are equally important, as a well-edited publication demonstrates professionalism and care for the written word. The design and layout of the magazine should complement and enhance the content, with careful consideration given to typography, artwork, and overall presentation.

Additionally, the program takes into account the production and distribution of the magazine, valuing professionalism and a connection to the school and the local community. Through this comprehensive evaluation process, the NCTE REALM Award ensures that only the finest art and literary magazines are acknowledged for their excellence, inspiring others to strive for the same level of quality and commitment in their own publications.

What is the Importance of the REALM Award?

What is the importance of the REALM Award? Just like similar awards, the importance of the NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award goes beyond merely recognizing the achievements of outstanding literary and art magazines; it serves as a powerful catalyst for promoting creativity, collaboration, and personal growth within educational settings.

By honoring exceptional publications, the award acknowledges these magazines’ vital role in fostering a supportive environment for young, aspiring writers and artists to hone their skills, express themselves, and gain invaluable experience in their chosen fields.

View of a female student studying in her room.

When students are encouraged to engage in creative pursuits, they experience numerous benefits that contribute to their overall development and well-being. Participation in literary and art magazines allows them to explore their thoughts, emotions, and ideas, leading to enhanced critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Furthermore, the process of creating and collaborating on these publications fosters a strong sense of community, teamwork, and shared purpose among students, teachers, and school administrators. This collaborative effort not only enhances the students’ social and emotional development but also strengthens the bonds within the school community.

The REALM Award also has a lasting impact on the broader educational landscape by setting high standards of excellence and motivating other schools to invest in the creation and support of literary and art magazines. As a result, an increasing number of institutions are inspired to provide their students with similar opportunities for creative expression and collaboration, ultimately contributing to a more vibrant, diverse, and inclusive artistic and literary community.

In essence, the NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award plays a crucial role in promoting the importance of creativity, collaboration, and self-expression within educational settings.

By celebrating the accomplishments of exceptional literary and art magazines, the award inspires students, teachers, and schools alike to continue nurturing the creative spirit, ultimately shaping a brighter and more imaginative future for generations to come.

How Does the REALM Award Selection Process Work?

How does the REALM Award selection process work? The selection process for the REALM Award is designed to be thorough and rigorous, ensuring that only the most deserving publications receive recognition for their exceptional quality and commitment to fostering creativity.

In order to maintain a fair and transparent evaluation process, the NCTE has established a clear set of guidelines and requirements for entry submissions. Interested high schools and colleges must adhere to these guidelines to be considered for the prestigious award.

To participate in the NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award competition, entries will be accepted until July 31. Applicants must follow the steps outlined below to ensure their submission is complete and eligible for evaluation:

Complete the online application form: All applicants must fill out the comprehensive online application form, which includes providing general information about the school and magazine, as well as uploading an electronic copy of the magazine for evaluation.

Submit the $25 entry fee: To cover the costs associated with processing and evaluating the submissions, a nominal entry fee of $25 is required. The fee can be paid online using a credit card, with the payment details available in the submission form. Alternatively, schools can choose to pay by check, in which case an invoice with detailed instructions for the next steps will be emailed within a few days of submitting the form.

Fee waiver for first-time submissions: In an effort to encourage new schools to participate in the REALM Award competition and showcase their commitment to nurturing creativity, the NCTE offers a fee waiver for first-time submissions. Schools applying for the first time should indicate this on the application form, and their entry fee will be waived accordingly.

The evaluation is based on a set of predetermined criteria, which includes:

Content and Quality: The literary and artistic pieces should be original, engaging, and thought-provoking, demonstrating a high level of creativity and skill.

View of a female student talking in front of two people.

Editing and Proofreading: The publication should be well-edited, with attention given to grammar, punctuation, and proper citation of sources.

Design and Layout: The magazine should have an appealing design that is visually engaging and showcases the content effectively. This includes typography, artwork, and overall layout.

Production and Distribution: The publication should be produced professionally, with consideration given to printing quality, binding, and distribution methods.

School and Community Involvement: The publication should demonstrate a connection to the school and local community, with involvement from students, teachers, and administrators.

After the submission deadline, the REALM Award Committee commences the thorough evaluation process, carefully reviewing each entry based on the established criteria. National judges, who possess extensive expertise in the fields of literature and art, complete the first round of judging, ensuring a fair and unbiased assessment. The evaluation employs a point system, with each magazine’s score determining its placement in one of four categories:

  • REALM First Class (93-100 points)
  • Superior (86-92 points)
  • Excellent (71-85 points)
  • Merit (70 or fewer points)

Once the winners have been selected, the REALM Award Committee presents them with a certificate of recognition to honor their accomplishments and acknowledge the hard work and dedication that went into creating their exceptional literary and art magazines.

In addition to the certificate, the winning publications receive well-deserved exposure and publicity through various NCTE channels. They are featured on the NCTE website, allowing educators, students, and literary enthusiasts to access and appreciate the winning magazines. Furthermore, the winners are promoted in other NCTE promotional materials, such as newsletters and conference materials, amplifying their reach and impact within the literary and art community.

Through this meticulous evaluation process and subsequent recognition, the REALM Award continues to inspire schools and students to strive for excellence in their literary and art magazines, fostering a vibrant and supportive environment for the growth and development of future generations of creative talent.


Open to a wide range of educational institutions: The program is open to middle and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities throughout the United States, US territories, Canada, and American schools abroad. To participate, schools must be accredited in the United States.

Publication date requirements: Magazines submitted for consideration must have been published between September of the previous year and June of the entry year, ensuring that the competition remains current and relevant.

Digital submissions: Electronic or online entries are expected, with PDFs, Google links, website links, or third-party platform links accepted. As of 2020, NCTE no longer accepts physical copies through the mail. For assistance with the digital submission process, schools can contact [email protected].

View of college students studying in a room with a table.

One magazine per school: Each school may submit only one issue of their magazine. If more than one magazine is submitted, only one will be reviewed, and the others will be returned.

Elementary school submissions: Magazines from elementary schools are accepted but will be judged using the middle school evaluation rubric.

Exclusions: Newspapers and yearbooks are not eligible for the REALM Award, as the program focuses exclusively on student literary and art magazines.

No plagiarism: Plagiarism is strictly prohibited and will result in the disqualification of a magazine from the competition.

Digital versions welcome: In addition to print editions, digital versions of magazines are accepted and encouraged, allowing for greater accessibility and flexibility in the submission process.

By adhering to these eligibility criteria, the NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award ensures a fair and inclusive competition that celebrates the diverse talents and achievements of student literary and art magazines from various educational institutions, fostering creativity and collaboration in pursuing artistic excellence.

How Does the REALM Award Inspire Future Generations?

How does the REALM Award inspire future generations? The NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award serves not only as a prestigious acknowledgment of outstanding literary and art magazines but also as a powerful catalyst for future generations of writers, artists, and creative thinkers.

By celebrating excellence in these publications, the award motivates students to delve into their passions, hone their skills, and contribute to the world of literature and art in meaningful ways. The recognition also acts as an impetus for schools, urging them to invest in cultivating creative environments and offering opportunities for students to express themselves through writing and art.

Furthermore, the REALM Award winners establish a high standard for future generations to aspire to, demonstrating the remarkable achievements that can be attained through perseverance, collaboration, and dedication to one’s craft.

These exemplary publications not only showcase the talents of their contributors but also serve as invaluable touchstones for young people eager to make their mark in the literary and art world. They inspire students to reach beyond their comfort zones, explore new ideas, and collaborate with peers and mentors in the pursuit of artistic excellence.

Ultimately, the NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of literature and art by inspiring and nurturing the creative potential of young talents. As these award-winning magazines continue to garner recognition and praise, they will act as beacons of inspiration for countless individuals who seek to express their creativity, contribute to the artistic landscape, and leave a lasting impact on the world around them.

The Lasting Impact of the REALM Award

The lasting impact of the REALM Award extends beyond the immediate recognition of outstanding literary and art magazines; it resonates deeply with the students, teachers, and school communities involved, inspiring them to strive for even greater heights in their creative pursuits.

For students who contribute to a REALM Award-winning magazine, the experience can be transformative. The acknowledgment of their talents and hard work serves as a powerful motivator, instilling confidence in their abilities and fueling their passion for the arts.

Three students smiling during an event.

As their achievements garner attention, students may find themselves presented with new opportunities in writing, art, and publishing, potentially shaping their academic and professional trajectories. Furthermore, the award fosters a sense of camaraderie among the contributors, forging lasting connections and friendships based on shared experiences and creative aspirations.

Teachers and faculty advisors also reap the benefits of the REALM Award, as it validates their commitment to nurturing the artistic talents of their students. By guiding and mentoring young artists and writers through the process of creating and publishing these magazines, educators play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of creative minds. The recognition afforded by the REALM Award underscores the value of their work and encourages them to continue fostering creativity and self-expression within their classrooms.

Similar to publication competitions, the impact of the REALM Award on the school community cannot be overstated. A winning magazine is a testament to the institution’s dedication to promoting artistic excellence and providing a supportive environment for creative expression.

This distinction enhances the school’s reputation, attracting talented students and faculty members who share the institution’s commitment to nurturing creativity and innovation. Moreover, the award helps to build a strong sense of pride within the school community, celebrating the collective achievements of students, teachers, and administrators alike.

In essence, the lasting impact of the NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award is felt by all who participate in the creation of these exceptional literary and art magazines. By honoring their achievements and dedication, the award inspires individuals and communities to continue pushing the boundaries of creativity, enriching the world of literature and art for generations to come.


The NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines (REALM) Award plays a vital role in celebrating the creative achievements of high schools and colleges across the United States, Canada, and beyond. By honoring exceptional publications, the award not only acknowledges the collaborative efforts of students, teachers, and school administrators but also underscores the profound importance of self-expression through writing and art in educational settings.

As we look to the future, the REALM Award will undoubtedly continue to serve as an inspirational touchstone for aspiring writers, artists, and creative visionaries. The recognition provided by the award will motivate them to pursue their passions with tenacity, push the limits of their creative boundaries, and leave an indelible mark on the ever-evolving landscape of literature and art. The award also serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of providing young talents with the resources, guidance, and support they need to flourish and reach their full potential.

With each passing year, the NCTE Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines Award winners will carry the torch of creativity forward, illuminating the power of imagination and the importance of fostering a nurturing environment for the next generation of talented individuals. These awards not only honor the present achievements of students and educators but also pave the way for a more vibrant, diverse, and inclusive future in the realms of literature and art.

Are you interested to learn more about getting a college degree in fields such as English, literature, or journalism? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.



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