REALM Eligibility and Guidelines - National Council of Teachers of English

REALM Committee Chair Benjamin Lally recorded a rubric walk-through that judges will receive starting in 2024. The recording is also beneficial for submitting magazines! Watch the recording here.




  • This student literary magazine program is open to all middle and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities, throughout the United States, US territories, Canada, and American schools abroad. Schools must be US accredited to enter.
  • Magazines submitted must have been published between September of the previous year and June of the entry year.
  • Electronic/online entries are expected. PDFs, Google links, website links, or third party platform links are accepted. (As of 2020, we are no longer able to accept physical copies through the mail. Please email if you need assistance with the digital process.)
  • Schools may submit only one issue of a school’s magazine. If a school submits more than one magazine, only one will be reviewed and the other(s) returned.
  • Elementary magazines are accepted but will be judged by the middle school rubric.
  • Newspapers and yearbooks are not eligible.
  • Plagiarism is not acceptable and will disqualify a magazine.
  • Digital versions are accepted and welcomed.


Award Specifics:


To Enter:

Entries will be accepted until July 31.

  1. All applicants must complete the online application form which includes uploading an electronic copy of your magazine.
  2. Submit the $25 entry fee.
  • You may pay by credit card online. Details will be in the submission form.
  • Pay by check. An invoice and with details for next steps will be emailed within a few days of submitting your form.
  • We are waiving the entry fee for first-time submissions. Please indicate if this is the first time your school is applying on the application form.

JUDGING. National judges complete the first round of judging. Judging is based on a point system. The total points awarded to magazines determine placement in one of the following categories:

            • REALM First Class (90-100 points)
            • Superior (82-89 points)
            • Excellent (75-81 points)
            • Distinguished (68-74 points)
            • Honorable Mention (67 or fewer points)


REALM First Class – Magazines scoring 90-100 points based on the scores of national judges will be recommended for REALM First Class. The REALM Advisory Committee determines if a magazine merits the honor of REALM First Class.

Judging is confidential. Critiques of individual magazines are not provided. Scores of the magazines will not be released.

**Updated spring 2023** Evaluation Guide for High School Magazine Judges

**Updated spring 2023** Evaluation Guide for Middle School Magazine Judges

**Updated spring 2023** Evaluation Guide for College and University Magazine Judges


Results are announced in January and posted on the NCTE website. Schools receive a certificate denoting their award, which is sent to the advisor of the school’s literary magazine. In addition, the names of the student editors, literary advisor, and school appear on the NCTE website.


NCTE would like to thank all who volunteered to judge middle school, high school and college/university literary magazines. We appreciate your dedication to students all over the world and your colleagues.

Email for information on judging, or with any questions about this award.