Both competitions are open to all students in grades 9-12 attending UIL member high schools. All entries submitted according to contest guidelines will be evaluated by experienced judges. State finalists will be selected from the entries submitted for each competition. Students selected as state finalists will be considered for state awards and have the opportunity to have their work added to the historical record of the state of Texas. All students selected as state finalists will also become eligible to apply for TILF scholarships; the TILF program provides dozens of scholarship opportunities each year.
All contributions will be evaluated equally according to a specific set of criteria by an independent jury composed of professors, corporate executives, and entrepreneurs. The authors of the best 100 contributions qualify as Leaders of Tomorrow and will be invited by the ISC to the next St. Gallen Symposium. The very best competitors will have the chance to present and discuss their ideas on the symposium's big stage and also in other conferencing formats. The award will be bestowed to the three best competitors, the selection will be based upon the quality of the essays only.