Benefits of Participating in the Science & Engineering Fair

Science & Engineering Fairs provide an opportunity for students, 3rd through 12th grades, who are interested in science and technology to pursue their personal areas of interest and to display their research as a presentation in a public competitive forum. The NC Science and Engineering Fair (NCSEF) works to create enthusiasm in science and technology while encouraging project-based inquiry. Benefits of participation in the NCSEF include:
    • Preparation for college and business and insight into career options
    • Builds confidence
    • Increases organizational and process skills
    • Improves writing and communication skills
    • Requires creativity
    • Improves visual/spatial thinking skills
    • Opportunity to win awards, college scholarships and other prizes

Watch below for one students experience representing North Carolina in the 2019 International Science & Engineering Fair.


How does the NC Science & Engineering Fair work?

Students generally first compete at their own local school (or through homeschool).
    • The schools may or may not require forms to be filled out for the science fair – HOWEVER, if the student wins and advances on to other levels, the official ISEF forms will be required and SOME of those are “supposed” to be filled out BEFORE the student ever even begins work. So, if (s)he advances, it is important to check dates on the forms to make sure the ones that are supposed to be filled out beforehand have an earlier date than the ones about the actual experiment.
If students win at their schools, they advance on to the regional fair. The state is divided into 8 regions.
    • At this point, you must register through an online site called STEMWIZARD. The software will help with figuring out the forms.
If students win a high-enough award at the regional fair, they advance on to the state fair held in Raleigh.
    • You will not have to reload forms – the forms located in the software will be forwarded by the regional fair to that level. The forms are checked at both levels, and you may be contacted to correct something or provide further information.
If students win at the state level, they go on to the highest level of the fair – the ISEF (International Science & Engineering Fair) competition!
    • This is the big leagues! Some amazing scholarship money is handed out for the winners here, along with international recognition.

Where to Start

So you want to do a science or engineering project for the fair?  Great! 

The very first thing you should do is find out if your school holds a science and engineering fair.  If your school doesn't have a fair, contact the director of your regional fair to find out where you can compete.

Once you know where to enter your project it is time to develop a question or choose a problem, and get to work!  Make sure that you follow all the rules and complete the required forms BEFORE you start collecting data. 

We've put together a bunch of other helpful tips and information to get you started and keep you going through competition day.


If you have any questions about participating in the North Carolina Science & Engineering Fair contact the fair director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..