Instructions for New Entry Procedure
Summary of steps
------------ Detailed Instructions for Each Step ---------------
Registering Your Project
Your first step in entering the fair is to register your project.
To register your project, use the
NJRSF Registration Form. (Team projects: note that this
web form is to be executed once for the entire team, and you must put the information for all team members on the
same instance of the form. Do NOT submit this form multiple times!)
Once you have finished this registration, all the other links you need on the NJRSF site will be on your Entry Status Screen (accessible on the navbar under Students, after you login).
you will find a link there for paying your entry fee. (Payments will be processed by PayPal this year, using
either a PayPal account or a major credit card.)
If your school is not paying your fee, then it is a good idea to take care of this
Remember that each team member's fee must be paid to complete entry--either as a group or individually.
One note: for the first time since 2003, we are raising the entry fee this year to $12 per student.
Also on this entry status screen you will see the status of your category assignment.
In executing the Registration Form, you will make a choice yourself, but that will have to
be validated by our judging committee, on the basis of your submitted information, before it
is deemed final. Your Entry Status screen will indicate when this review has been completed.
In addition, shortly prior to the fair (about two weeks) we will make final assignments to the
categories to be used at the fair, which may combine categories listed separately on the
initial registration form. This final category selection will also appear on your Entry Status
Obtaining Adobe Reader
In order to follow the following instructions, you will need to have Adobe Reader version 8 or higher. Almost all PCs, both Intel and Macs, have a version of Adobe Reader installed these days--it is nearly ubiquitous.
It is recognized as a safe and secure mechanism for document sharing. Any of the Reader versions
will enable you to view PDF files, but you need version 8 or higher in order to follow the
instructions about signing (below).
You can check your version number by opening any PDF document, and then clicking on Help->About. This will display a popup screen showing the version of your installation. If it is version 8.x or higher, you should not need to
worry about upgrading.
If you do have an older version, then the upgrade process is simple (and free!).
You simply go to the Adobe.com Reader Download Page and
follow the instructions to get the latest version (currently version 9.3 as of this writing).
Obtaining the PDF ISEF Forms
A complete set of the forms you need is available now on our website.
If you prefer, the ISEF forms required for all projects are available on the webpage of the
Society for Science and the Public.
(Note there are two additional forms for the NJRSF which you will need to obtain from the link above.)
From this page on the SSP website you can do the following:
- Click on "Overview of rules and forms".
This will take you to a page with a brief description of each form, with download links to obtain the PDFs.
If you know what you need, this page is a quick way to download the forms and save them onto your computer.
- If you have ANY questions about what forms to use, then click on the "Rules Wizard" link, and this will take you
through a step-by-step process to determine what you need. At the end you will get links for the forms
you need. Download them and save them on your computer.
- Note: I do NOT recommend that you do the editing inside your browser. You can, but some features (notably signing!) may not be functional. It is a better idea to save the files on your computer, and then open them inside
an independent instance of Adobe Reader.
- You will also need to download a copy of the
NJRSF Entry Form. It is also a PDF form enabled for filling out and signing.
Filling out the Forms
Simply open each form, individually. (It will come up in Adobe Reader if your system is properly configured--if not
you can open Adobe Reader and then open the files from inside that application.)
Click on "highlight fields" if you have to, and then fill out the required information. Save the file.
Signing the Forms
Each of the ISEF forms will need to be signed by the appropriate individuals: some by the student, and some by the teacher, parent, or mentor.
The instructions are the same in each case:
- Make sure all the content in the form is finalized. Any changes after signing will invalidate the signatures.
If you are filling out a form jointly with somebody else, such as your mentor or a team partner, you should trade
the file back and forth to finalize it before either of you sign.
- Click on "Sign", and follow the directions. If you have not signed a document previously, you will have
to establish a digital identity, using your email address and a password. The password will be needed in the
future for signing other documents, so make sure you can remember what it is.
- When the program prompts you, position the signature over the "printed name" line of the
signature block. When the forms are sent to ISEF, we will use the Signature lines for actual signatures,
since ISEF requires the hard-copy signatures. So do not obscure those lines if it can be avoided.
- The signing process includes a save.
- If you find you have to modify a document after it is signed, then this will invalidate all signatures currently on the document.
To update the signature, right click on the signature field, and choose "clear signature." Then click on the
field again, and choose "sign." Give the password for your digital signature, and the Reader will update the field
to show your new signature date and time, and will automatically go into a save operation to save the
- Where multiple people have to sign a given document, that should be done sequentially, by
emailing the document from one person to another.
- When the document is complete and fully signed, save it on your computer.
Preparing a Research Plan
When you fill out ISEF Form 1, most students will find it necessary to prepare a separate
Research Plan document, since the Form 1 has rather limited space for the plan. Since we require
all forms to be uploaded as PDF, in this section we will tell you how to do that.
But first, a word about the plan itself. Note the word "plan"! This is NOT a report on your results. It
is a statement about what you intend to study and how you intend to do it. It should rarely, if ever, exceed
three pages in length, and normally one page should be quite sufficient. The important issues are the procedures
and equipment that will be used, the attendant safety precautions, and the supervision procedures. If you need
to include Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), then upload those separately, as PDF, using the form provided for attachments to
the Research Plan.
(See "Uploading your forms" below.)
You need to get your Research Plan into the form of a PDF document.
If you happen to have Adobe Acrobat on your computer, or one of the very recent Word versions with PDF capability, then you can simply use that. Acrobat interfaces
with word processors such as Word and enables you to save documents as PDF files. If you have this (most of
you will not), then that's all you have to do.
The Adobe Acrobat software is rather expensive and somewhat complex to install. Hence we do not
recommend you obtain it for the purpose of entering the science fair.
Instead, we have provided special forms for the Research Plan Attachment, and we expect most students to use those.
This is just a full-page form, where you can put in text describing your project plan. Remember the cautions given
above about what should (and should not!) be included. Most students put in a large amount of extraneous detail, and we are
trying to discourage that in this new arrangement.
The form can be uploaded a maximum of three times, for the three pages of your attachment.
Submitting your documents to the NJRSF
You are now ready to submit your documents. You should have each ISEF form prepared in its own
PDF file on your computer, with proper, valid signatures, and you will usually have a separate
Research Plan document attachment, prepared as PDF, as outlined in the previous section.
You will also need the NJRSF Entry Form prepared in a similar manner,
and signed by the student and the teacher. Note that the Entry Form (and the ISEF Form 1B) must be submitted separately
by each student on a team project.
After you complete the online registration process and have your documents for the fair ready for upload, you should go to the Entry Status
screen (the link for this is on the navbar under the Student menu). You need to be logged in for
this screen to function properly.
On that screen you will find links for the two screens that enable you to upload the Form 1B and Entry Form (which will have
to be uploaded multiple times, by each individual team member, if yours is a team project),
and the link for uploading the ISEF forms (1, 1A, 1C, and 2+), together with your research plan. Note that all projects, regardless
of the type of project must provide, at a minimum, forms 1, 1A, the research plan, along with the Entry Form and Form 1B for each team member.
The Entry Status screen will show you a complete view of your entry status, including a list of
forms that we think you need, and forms that you have submitted.
(Note that the list of required forms may be changed by SRC action.)
You will find a link there
for uploading your documents. Please be certain that you upload each form in the proper field, since
this controls the labeling, and will lead to confusion if you get it wrong.
You can also use this link for uploading modified documents (but do not do this unless you
really need to, since it will invalidate any previously granted approvals.)
You will also use a link on this screen to submit your
NJRSF Entry Form after you fill it out and sign it, along with
your sponsor. (Both signatures should be electronic, as above.) Note that for a team project the ISEF forms are
to be submitted only once (any team member can do it) and each student must submit a separate Entry Form
and a separate Form 1B.
When you have uploaded all the required documents, the SRC will be notified automatically of the
availability of your project for review. If you think we are requesting unnecessary documents, then
you should email the SRC chair (see the list of contacts) for clarification.
Once the SRC has reviewed your documents they will provide feedback--either as an approval or as notes about what
If there are issues, then you should revise the forms accordingly, and upload them again (they will
replace any that you previously uploaded); then you can notify the SRC again, and enter the approval cycle
Modifying your documentation
Your ISEF forms are required to describe the project you enter in the fair. Accordingly, some
students find it necessary to make modifications after initial approval. Please note that uploading ANY
of your forms, and your research plan, after you have received approval, will negate that approval, and
your forms will have to be reviewed once again with their new content. Any modified forms must also be re-signed
(as described above) in order to have valid signatures on them. You should be aware that this might invalidate
the signing date sequence required by ISEF, and might make you ineligible for the ISEF awards. So please do not
modify your forms unless it is truly necessary.
(A point of clarification: revising your research plan ONLY will trigger a new review by our SRC, but it will
not impact your ISEF eligibility, so long as no ISEF forms need to be modified.)