2016 Submission Process & Rules

These rules apply only to the 2016 Congressional App Challenge.

2016 Submission Process

  • Age. There is no age minimum, but students are not allowed to participate after they’ve graduated from high school.

    Location. Students are only allowed to compete in Congressional districts that are participating.

    • First, look up your 9-digit zip code by entering your address, here.
      • Save this number! You’ll need it later.
    • Look up your Member of Congress, here, using your 9-digit zip code.
      • Save the name of your Member, as well as the state and district number.
      • (Zip codes can be represented by multiple Members, so we use the 9-digit zip code to make sure you’re in the right district.)
    • Once you know who your Member of Congress is, look to see if they’re participating in the Congressional App Challenge.
    • Repeat this process for your school address.
    • If your Member of Congress is NOT participating, you can find help, here.

    Teams. Students are allowed to participate as individuals, or as teams of up to four. If you are are participating as part of team:

    • At least two of your teammates must be eligible to participate in the district in which you wish to compete.

    Old Projects. If you created an app for a separate project or program, you are welcome to submit that app, as long as it was created within the last calendar year, and fulfills the rest of the requirements.

  • Once you’ve checked that you are eligible, you must register to participate. Within 3 business days of registering, you will receive an email from [email protected] with your/your team’s Submission ID Number.
    You must save the Submission ID Number.
    You will need it to submit your app. The number will look something like this: AB123-01. The registration process should take about 10 minutes, depending on whether you’re participating as an individual or as a team.

    To register, you’ll need:

    If you have all of that, you’re ready to register:


  • And now the fun part!

    You can create any type of app you like, on any platform you like. In the past, we’ve seen students submit mobile apps web apps, study tools, games, journal apps, and more.

    To get you started, here are some resources you can check out. You can also look for help through various organizations that focus on teaching teen coding. Check out some of our partners, and see if there are any in your neighborhood who might be able to help you out.

    You can also check out advice from some of our #TechTeens, other teenagers who have learned how to code and have shared their experiences.
    Happy Coding!

  • Once your app is ready to go, you have to create your submission. A complete submission includes:

    Demonstration Video (1-3 min)

    Your video should be no more than 3 minutes, and should do the following:

    • Explain the purpose of your app.
    • Explain who your intended audience is.
    • Mention what tools and languages you used to create your app.
    • Show how your app would be used.

    Once you’ve created your video, upload it to youtube, vimeo, or any other video-hosting site. Make sure the video is set to public. If it’s not set to public, the judges won’t be able to see it.

    Note: videos that go over 3 minutes won’t be disqualified, but the judges may penalize you at their own discretion.


    You will also need to answer the following questions before you submit your app:

      1. Short Description: What is your app trying to accomplish and why? (350 characters max.)
      2. What’s a difficulty you faced in programming your app and how did you overcome it? (1500 characters max.)
      3. What improvements would make if you were going to create a version 2.0 of your app?  (750 characters max.)
  • Before you submit your app, you should do a final review of the Submission Checklist. This is just to ensure that you’re all ready to go.


  • Once you’ve reviewed the Submission Checklist, you’ll be ready to submit all your work.

    You’ll need your Submission ID Number, the name of your Member of Congress, the link to your video, and your answers to the questions.

    Teams: You only need to submit your app ONCE, using your team Submission ID Number.


  • After you submit your work, you will be given a link to the Exit Questionnaire on the same page.

    You must complete the Exit Questionnaire. We will collect your contact information and survey answers separately, so your responses will be completely anonymous, but we will be able to identify who has or has not completed the survey.

    Teams: ALL Members of your team must complete the Exit Questionnaire individually. Teammates can use the same link, but must complete the form individually.

The Rules

    1. Students may begin working on their apps as soon as they like, but the “Competition Submission Period” will start at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Daylight Time (“EDT”), JULY 18, 2016.
    2. The “Competition Submission Period” will be closed at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Standard Time (“EST”) NOVEMBER 2, 2016.
      • After the Submission Period has ended, the Submission cannot be modified in any way before the completion of judging.
    3. The Judging Period will last from NOVEMBER 2, 2016 through DECEMBER 2, 2016.
    4. Winners will be announced on or around DECEMBER 5, 2016.

    Note: Administrator’s computer is the official timekeeping device for this Competition.

    1. Members of Congress must have opted-in to participate for their student constituents to be eligible participate in this competition. If a Member does not opt-in, constituents in that district cannot participate.
    2. The Competition is open only to students in high school or below.
    3. The Competition is open only to students who reside in a participating district or who are attending high school in a participating district.
    4. Student Participants may compete individually or in teams of up to 4 students.
    5. If competing as a team, at least two members of the team must be eligible to participate in that district.
    6. Any given student may only submit one app in one district.
    7. The Competition is subject to all applicable United States federal laws and regulations. Participation constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules.
  • Each Contestant will be required to provide the following as part of a complete Submission:

    App Information. Students will be asked to answer a series of questions including:

    1. Title of the app
    2. The coding language used
    3. Description: What they were trying to accomplish and why (350 characters max.)
    4. An explanation of a difficulty they faced in programming the app and how it was overcome. (1500 characters max.)
    5. What improvements the students would make if they were going to create a version 2.0 of their app. (750 characters max.)

    Demonstration Video. Students must create a demonstration video, no more than 1 to 3 minutes.

    • The video must be posted on YouTube, Vimeo, or a similar publicly accessible forum. The video must be accessible to watch online.
    • The student must provide the link on the Congressional App Challenge submission form.
    • Videos that are longer than 3 minutes will not be disqualified, but they will be penalized per the judges’ discretion.
    • Teams: The app only needs to be submitted once by a member of the team.

    App Requirements:

    • All submissions must be in English.
    • An individual may appear on only one entry, either alone or as part of a team.
    • Submissions must not be indecent, defamatory, in obvious bad taste, demonstrate a lack of respect for public morals or conduct or adversely affect the reputation of congressional districts.

    Submissions must not:

    • Be illegal under applicable laws;
    • Depict hatred, defame, threaten a specific community in the society or incite violence;
    • Contain vulgar language or violence; or
    • Contain pornography, obscenity or sexual activity.
    • Violate the Intellectual Property, common law or privacy rights of other parties.

    Submissions must:

    • Be original;
    • Have been created within one calendar year of the closing of the Submission Period, i.e. since NOVEMBER 2, 2015; and
    • Be solely owned by Contestant such that no other party has any rights or interest, whether known or unknown.
    1. Demonstration Videos and Submission Answers will be viewed by District Judges based on the criteria identified below.
    2. The Judges have the right to request access to the Application and source code in person or via any reasonable manner to verify that the Application functions and operates as stated in the Submission. Failure by a Contestant to honor such a request will result in the Submission’s immediate disqualification.
    3. Awards will be judged based on the following criteria:
      • Quality of the idea (including creativity and originality)
      • Implementation of the idea (including user experience and design)
      • Demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.
    4. District Staff reserve the right to substitute or modify the judging panel at anytime for any reason. Judges do have the right to withdrawal without advance notice in the event of extenuating circumstances beyond their control. Judges will be fair and impartial. A judge may elect to recuse him or herself from judging a Submission, if in the judge’s sole discretion it is not appropriate for him or her to judge that particular Submission because of a past or current relationship with that particular Contestant. A Submission will not be at a disadvantage if one or more judge recuses himself or herself.
    5. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible Submissions received and the quality of the Submissions. The approximate dates of judging are between NOVEMBER 2, 2016 and DECEMBER 2, 2016.
  • Q. Will the winning students get any prizes?
    A: Yes. For 2017, the confirmed list of prizes include:

    1. Winning app eligible to be featured in the Capitol Building
    2. Winning app eligible to be put on House.gov  (10 million visitors per year).
    3. Each winner receives $250 in Amazon Web Services (AWS) Credits
    4. Winner(s) invited to #HouseOfCode DC Reception

    Q. What are AWS credits?

    AWS credits can be used for access to AWS products and services.  The credits can be utilized to access computing, storage, database, and many other resources on the AWS platform — in order to: build applications such as websites, mobile applications, blogs, etc; do database work and run analytics; store large and small digital files; and so on.  $1 worth of AWS promotional credits is equal to $1 worth of usage on AWS.

    Other questions:

    1. Each district may provide prizes to district winners. A Member office may provide authorized gifts or awards of nominal value as part of the app competition. Gifts authorized by the Members’ Handbook include certificates, folders, and frames of a nominal value.

    2. If the participating Member decides to host an awards ceremony, finalists will get the chance to present their apps to Judges, Congressional staffers and community leaders. The winning app in each district will be featured on the House.gov website and the CongressionalAppChallenge.us website.

    3. If the winner is not able to attend the district awards ceremony, the prize will be mailed to the winner’s address within 45 days of receipt of the signed affidavit(s) of eligibility and liability/publicity release(s) form(s).

  • By entering, you agree to the following conditions and release:

    Each Contestant agrees to comply with and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Administrators, and/or the Competition judges which are binding and final in all matters relating to this Competition.


  • Except where prohibited, participation in the Competition constitutes winners’ consent to Administrators’ and their agents’ use of winner’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions and/or hometown and state for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.

    Contestants will own the intellectual property rights to their Submission, but will grant to Congress and Administrator a royalty free license to, without limitation:

    • post the Submissions online;
    • Make the winning apps available for presentation for the course of the Competition and 12 months after the conclusion of the Competition Submission Period; and
    • utilize the Submissions for noncommercial purposes for a period of 12 months after the conclusion of the Competition Submission Period
    1. Administrators reserve the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Competition, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures or any other factor beyond Administrator’s reasonable control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Competition, as determined by Administrators in their sole discretion. Administrators reserve the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any individual or Competitor they find to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Competition or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner.
    2. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Competition may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Administrators reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Administrators’ failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.
  •  The Administrators are not responsible for:

    1. Any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Competition;
    2. Technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software;
    3. Unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Competition;
    4. Technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Competition or the processing of entries; or
    5. Any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Competition or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.

    If for any reason an entrant’s Submission is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, entrant’s sole remedy is to provide another Submission.

  • Administrators collect personal information from you when you enter the Competition. The information collected is subject to the privacy policies located at http://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/about-2/privacy-policy/ and http://www.house.gov/content/site_tools/privacy_policy.php

  • For results of the competition check CongressionalAppChallenge.us on or about DECEMBER 5, 2016.

  • (1) Committee on House Administration, 1309 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC 20515; and

    (2) The Internet Education Foundation, 950 15th St. NW #900, Washington, DC, 20005

Please review the process and rules section carefully. If you have an additional question, please check the Student FAQ. If you still can’t find some information you need, please email us at [email protected].