California State Science Fair
Changes from 2007 - 2008


The California State Science 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 County Coordinators’ Conference which was held during the 2007 California State Science Fair.

 * Application Fees Nonrefundable
 * Application Procedure for Alternates Changed
 * Fair Venue Changed
Annual Update
 * Category Definitions Revised
 * Project Allocations for 2008
Recent Changes (from last year's Fair)
 * Category Awards Structure

Application Fees Nonrefundable

Application Fees will no longer be refunded for rejected or withdrawn student applications. Despite the name, the California State Science Fair has always treated Application Fees effectively as if they were participation fees, requiring them before any student was permitted to set up his/her display, and refunding them whenever an application was rejected by the Fair (for most causes) or withdrawn by the student before project acceptances were announced. However, the accounting office for the California Science Center has instructed the Fair that it will no longer refund application fees to students whose applications are rejected or withdrawn. This change in policy has led the Fair to alter the application process for alternates.

However, the Fair will continue to refund duplicate payments. Some students will have their Application Fees paid by their school, fair, or other organization. Nevertheless, such students are still required to pay the Application Fee by their Application Fee Deadline, and are advised to submit their own payment (which eventually will be “the duplicate payment”) if the organization paying for them cannot be guaranteed of meeting that deadline. If such students do not meet their Application Fee Deadline, their applications are in danger of being rejected in favor of other students (qualified or alternate) from their Fair if their Fair's allocation to CSSF is filled. Students whose Application Fee is paid twice, will have their personal payment refunded, and the payment by the school, fair, or other organization credited to their application.

In making this change, the Application Fee is now truly a fee for the application, not for participation.

Application Procedure for Alternates Changed

While students identified as alternates have the same Submission Deadline as qualified projects, they should not pay their Application Fee until accepted. Many, if not most, students who are named as alternates from their affiliated fair to CSSF will have their applications rejected. In previous years such students were required to pay their application fee by the same Application Fee Deadline as qualified projects. In consequence of the nonrefundable nature of the application fee announced above, students who are identified as alternates are now advised not to pay their Application Fee at the time of application, but instead should wait until they are accepted by CSSF. Alternates who do pay their application fee do not enjoy any extra priority in acceptance (priority among alternates is established by the affiliated fair and is not changed by CSSF), and if they are not accepted, their application fee will not be refunded.

Qualified projects are required to meet their Application Fee Deadline in order to certify that they will attend CSSF if accepted. In this respect, alternates have a simpler application procedure, but this is in recognition of the likelihood that their applications may not be accepted.

Fair Venue Changed

This year the Fair will be moved from the California Science Center to the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, a few hundred yards to the south. This change is the result of temporary exhibits traveling to the Science Center and occupying much of the space needed for the Fair at the same time.

In consequence of this change, several other aspects of the Fair's operation are changed this year:

  1. All ceremonies will be held in the Sports Arena. This includes the Keynote Address on Monday night, Student Orientation on Tuesday morning, and the Awards Ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
  2. There will be a single Awards Ceremony for both divisions, unlike recent years which held a separate ceremony for each division.
  3. The Awards Ceremony schedule has been pushed earlier and will take place from 4:00 pm  - 5:30 pm.
  4. All projects will remain on display until after the end of the Awards Ceremony. Removal of projects during or before the Awards Ceremony would be disruptive of the ceremony. Consequently, all travel plans should be made with the understanding that the projects cannot be removed before approximately 5:30 pm.

We anticipate the Fair venue returning to the Science Center in 2009.

Category Definitions Revised

Category definitions have been revised for the 2008 Fair. The California State Science Fair annually reviews the category definitions and how the division of scientific topics across panels is working to the benefit (or not) of both students and judges. The revisions enacted in 2007 were determined to successfully meet our current needs, with the single exception that the new Product Science category (which exists in the Junior Division only) ended up being severely oversubscribed. For 2008 this single category is being split into two, and the relations to several other categories have been revised.

For reference, here are the 2008 Category Definitions.

Project Allocations for 2008

The allocations to affiliated fairs of the number of projects which may be sent to CSSF have been retained at their 2007 levels. Beginning in 1998, the number of projects which each affiliated fair is allowed to qualify to CSSF has been defined as an explicit limit by CSSF, rather than loose limits determined by each fair independently. Based upon current available space, determined needs across the entire State, and discussions with our affiliates, most notably all of those participating in recent County Coordinators Conferences, here are the allocations for 2008. The change in fair venue was a significant factor in this year's determination.

Category Award Structure

The category award structure revised in 2007 will be retained.

For several decades, Category Awards were named “First Place,” “Second Place,” “Third Place,” and “Honorable Mention.” The Honorable Mention award was distinguished both in name and by the fact that it received no cash award. Honorable Mentions received only a medallion which was presented on stage at the Awards Ceremony.

In 2007 two changes were made to this award structure:

It should be noted that the Fair's long-standing policy of recognizing one and only one project for each Category Award will be continued. In this context, Honorable Mentions are not considered “Category Awards.”

See also: Changes in recent years: 2007 , 2006 , 2005 , 2004 , 2003 , 2002 , 2001 , 2000 , 1999 , 1998 , 1997 .

Last updated: Sat Mar 8 06:09:35 PST 2008
California State Science Fair / Changes for 2008 /