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ISEF
Delaware Valley Science Fairs

Advanced Competition

At this time, further competition for students younger than 6th grade is available only in two or three counties, which also include students in 4th and 5th grade.

Eligible students who wish to compete at the county level (and perhaps even higher) must complete ISEF paperwork prior to beginning their experiments. Instructions and necessary forms are available online. Here's what you need: Get Adobe Acrobat

Please note that participation in GPHSF is not necessary to enter county-level science fairs in PA. More information on PA county and regional science fairs. If you're not participating in the GPHSF, ISEF paperwork should be sent directly to the county science fair directors by their deadline.


Why bother with ISEF paperwork and county science fair?

It is highly recommended that all eligible students complete and submit the ISEF paperwork before beginning their experiments, even if further competition is not anticipated. It is entirely possible that a student may change his or her mind about competing at higher levels after a positive homeschool fair experience. Or that the finished project may be of exceptional quality and capable of advancing and perhaps winning scholarships. In these cases, the projects would be ineligible for competition at county (or higher) levels if the paperwork had not been completed prior to beginning the experiment. Don't risk a missed opportunity; fill out the paperwork ahead of time just in case. (Compared to the work involved in putting together a science fair project, filling out ISEF paperwork is nothing!)


At the county and regional levels, the rules are slightly different.

One main difference is that the student's name, school, or photograph may not appear anywhere on the exhibit (the visual display, the logbook, the project report, etc.) This ensures an unbiased judge, because (at county and regional fairs) your project will be judged on its own, without you (the researcher) present. Judges interview the students at a later time. However, the GPHSF guidelines suggest that you put your name on your logbook and the title page of your project report for the following reasons:

  1. Your logbook is the most valuable part of your science project and cannot be re-created -- don't risk losing it!
  2. During county and regional fairs, your name can be easily covered on your logbook, if necessary, without detracting from its overall appearance; this is not the case with your visual display.
  3. The title page of your project report can be easily reprinted without your name, should you wish to compete further.

Whether or not your name is visible on your display will have no impact on the judging of your project at the GPHSF. However, it could disqualify you at higher levels, so plan ahead! (At the international level, should you make it, you will have earned the right to have your name on everything!)

Another difference is that some fairs (like the Delaware Valley regional fair and some county fairs) require that the abstract be a part of the display board, usually in the upper-left corner.

by Lisa Swieson, GPHSF Director
2001-2015 Greater Philadelphia Homeschool Science Fair.

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Questions? Contact the GPHSF Director. Last modified: 6 November 2015