From zFairs Contest Management
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Congratulations! You've got a project in the upcoming event and you already have a lot on your plate before deadlines loom. Well don't worry because zFairs makes it pretty simple for you to get registered and know what you need to do to get from start to finish.

First off it would be helpful for you to know who and what you will be termed as in zFairs. Whether you are a Student in grades K-12 (or the equivalent grades outside the US), a finalist at a major national competition or simply a contestant from any walk of life, who has found yourself amongst others who share your passions and desire to learn, you are a member of the "Student / Participant" role. This harkens back to zFairs early days when it was created specifically for Science and Engineering fairs but since then it has grown to encompass much more. We help coordinators host events for everything from Art, to History, to Invention Contests, to Teacher of the Year awards. In the end all this role really means is that you are wanting to compete against others and have your entry be reviewed and judged, and whether that is with others on a team or striking out as the lone wolf on your own you are in the right place to get started.


The first step for any Participant, regardless of the event type, is registration.
  • Don't worry if you make a mistake, your fair coordinator or a Staff / Admin user will be able to assist you during the registration process and you will have access to review and adjust information in your profile until the information freeze period goes into effect (if one is configured for your event).
  • Once started you can also continue from where you left off (you'll visit all the same pages but saved information, with the exception of passwords, will still be present in each of the fields)
    • DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT MULTIPLE TIMES FOR THE SAME USER. This will cause confusion for the event Staff & Admin users and make it harder to get you the assistance you might need.

Getting Started

Coordinators will have a wide variety of questions and information they can require from you but there are a few basics you should be prepared with:
  • Your First Name
  • Your Last Name
  • A viable email that you have easy access to
    These pieces of information form your unique identifier in the zFairs system and no other person in your fair will be allowed to have the same combination of those three things. For example, they might have your same last name, your same email but a different first name and that would be allowed but if all three are the same then that's a no go.
After entering the above, indicate that you aren't a robot... unless you are, then don't, as anything else would be lying... and that's bad... I digress, complete the reCAPTCHA information and then click the Create Account button.
Here you'll be required to verify your email. This helps us guarantee that we have at least that piece of information correct so your coordinator can send you emails with helpful and pertinent information as well as find you in the zFairs system to assist with any questions that may arise.
Once you've verified your email you will be taken to a personal information registration page. Here you will be shown, and adjust if needed, your First and Last Name, your email, your Username and you will be given the option to set the password for your application.

Additional Pages & Questions

Depending on your event coordinator you may also be asked for any combination of the following. These can be hidden, asked or asked & required. You must complete all required fields before you will be permitted to complete registration.
  • Middle Name
  • Home Address
  • Phone Number
  • Gender
  • T-shirt size
  • Meal Info
  • Student ID
  • Parent / Guardian Info
    • Name
    • Phone
    • Email
  • Cell Phone (2nd Phone Field)
  • Ethnicity
  • Mentor Info
  • Project/Entry Plan
  • Project/Entry Description
  • Project/Entry Abstract
  • Up to Two Entry Video URLs
  • School
  • Teacher
  • Grade
  • Any number of Custom Questions concerning you or your Project/Entry

Project / Entry

Next you will come to a page where you can enter information about your project. Fill out the fields to the best of your ability and again don't worry as all of this information can be adjusted / fixed / updated later until the Information Freeze Period goes into effect.
Team Projects - You can be connected to your team right from the get go if you acquire the Team Key/ID for your team.
  • If you are the first on your team to register then fill out the Project/Entry information fields as you normally would
  • If you are joining an existing Project/Entry get the Team Key/ID from someone who is already on the Project/Entry and click on the Link / Join Existing Team Project button
    • Your Team Members can find this value during initial registration or after registration in their profile by clicking on their name in the UI, selecting My Profile, and looking for the Project Key field in the right hand column.
    • Team Key/ID and Project Key are the same thing... apparently we need to fix our field labeling to avoid confusion in the future.
    • The Team Key/ID or Project Key will look something like the following: c2a734ff-aa31-40a1-a5a4-c2d86009fbf2
    • Be sure to not include preceding or follow on spaces / non visible characters when entering the key into registration
    • If you forget or don't link to your team's existing project during registration you will need to contact the event Coordinator or a Staff / Admin user for the event to get assistance in getting linked properly

Fees & Swag

At the discretion of your event Coordinator they can adjust the fees required for the event as well as offer discounts or merchandise for sale. If fees are required you will be required to pay the fee prior to completing registration. Depending on the configuration for the event you will be given the option to pay fees in person with cash or check or electronically with a credit card. See your event coordinator with any questions about fees or merchandise that they offer.

Paperwork & Project Dashboard

Paperwork can be a beast to coordinate and figure out. Fortunately for your zFairs gives you an easy way to compile all of your forms into a single location for easy review by the Scientific Review Committee (SRC). Your event coordinator currently has one of two different options that they can enable for you. Here are a few tips on each one to help you get started.
  • Be Aware that the Paperwork Manager and the Project Dashboard do not work together. If you see that both options are enable make sure you verify which one you should be using. If you see only the one then you are good to go.

Paperwork Manager

The Paperwork Manager focuses on giving you both flexibility and ease of use. It is simply a list of files that your event's coordinator has setup for you to review and use as needed. It can include ISEF Paperwork, Event Specific Paperwork and really anything deemed necessary or possibly wanted.
  • It should be noted that you can only upload PDF files and that they have a size limit of 20mb. Please be sure to plan accordingly.
You can access the Paperwork Manager by clicking on the Paperwork menu option in zFairs.
  • This will take you to your profile which you can also access by clicking on your name in the top right, selecting My Profile and then navigating to the Paperwork tab.
Once on the Paperwork tab in your profile, you'll find a list of all the files the event coordinator wanted you to have access to.
  • You'll notice that required files are marked as such. Be sure to pay close attention to these as without them your project may be disqualified from participating in the event.
Select the Upload File option for any of the files you find there to see a modal open up that allows you to upload a file and/or download a blank version of the file you should be uploading
  • Note that having the blank file is optional for the event coordinator so if you aren't sure what to upload and there isn't a file available for download be sure to reach out to your teacher or an event Staff or Admin user for additional clarification on what is needed.
Complete the form(s) as applicable and then upload them to zFairs.

Project Dashboard

The Project Dashboard is a different way of handling paperwork. It is specific to ISEF paperwork and while it can be cumbersome and restrictive at times it does help you know all the different steps to take and when.
  • File size is limited to 20mb here as well.
When you log in you'll find a menu option title Project Dashboard. Click on that to begin.
In there you will see a list of tiles, each corresponding to a different ISEF Form or a questionnaire that you can use to determine which forms you need.
Be sure to fill things out in order, typically top to bottom and right to left to make sure that you don't get stuck during the process.
You'll also want to pay attention to the Next Steps banner at the bottom as it will help walk you through the remaining items until everything is complete.

Day of the Fair

You'll want to be logging in and checking for update regularly as the start of the fair approaches but when it comes to the day of the fair the process should be very straight forward and simple. For in person fairs you won't need to worry about much at all aside from being where you need to be, generally by your display / entry board, when you should be. For Virtual fairs there are the following options for Coordinators to choose from and below is some information about each one.


If your event coordinator has opted to use the AutoPlop feature there are a few things you should know about this Virtual Judging Only feature.
  • There will be no assigned interview times
  • You will log in on the day of the fair at your appointed start time and click the Virtual Contest and then the I'm Ready button
    • Once you click the I'm Ready button don't navigate away from that page. Doing so will remove you from the queue and could prevent you from being judged
    • AutoPlop will pair you with appropriate Judges and the appropriate number of judges and then place you in your Project/Entry Virtual Interview Room (NOTE: You can also manually access your Virtual Interview Room by clicking the Blue Button at the left but only do this if directed to do so by a Staff or Admin user for the event)
    • When AutoPlop places you into a room with judges give it up to a full 60 seconds before being concerned that something didn't connect properly. It won't normally take more than just a few seconds but depending on everyone's connection speeds it could be delayed slightly.

Scheduled Interviews

If your event coordinator has opted to use scheduled interviews you will want to log in and click on Virtual Contest to see your list of interview times.
  • Interview times will be in chronological order
When it is time for you to begin an interview follow these steps to get into your Project / Entry Room
  1. Log In
  2. Click the Virtual Contest menu option
  3. Click the blue Enter Virtual Judging / Interview button
  4. ... well there really isn't a step 4 but I guess if there needed to be one it would be have an awesome interview and do great things!
  5. Click on the red Hang Up or the red Leave buttons to exit your interview when you are done.
If you get the chance to test your video and audio connections prior to the day of the fair please be sure to have two different devices join your room as otherwise you may find that your network is blocking video and audio feeds on the day of the fair when you are just wanting everything to go smoothly.
  • You can log in to your same user on two different devices to see if video and audio works properly.

After the Fair

Congrats you made it through. Depending on your event's configuration you may be able to log in and see your awards as well as print out any associated certificates.