The Miss America Organization’s contestant age eligibility requirements are based on a calendar year, not a pageant cycle, and remains unchanged. In order to be eligible to compete in a local or state competition, a contestant cannot be older than twenty-four (24) years of age on December 31st the year she could be chosen to represent her state in the National Finals.

In order to meet age eligibility requirements to compete in local competitions for the 2016 State Competition, a contestant must be at least 17 years of age and her birth year can be no earlier than 1992.

“I did lots of things. I was a pianist, but not quite good enough to get a music scholarship; an athlete, but I didn’t play a varsity sport; smart, but not smart enough to get an academic scholarship. So competing in the Miss America program was an opportunity to get a scholarship for school.”Kellye Cash, Miss America 1987

You have ideas and plans and goals – so much to offer the world – but how? Each year young women just like you choose to compete in the Miss America system. That’s right! Many of them are just like you – yet they know that the Miss America Organization is the single largest provider of scholarships for young women in the world.

Whether you want to become a doctor or a dancer, an accountant or an architect, the Miss North Carolina Pageant, an official preliminary to the Miss America Organization, has an opportunity that will help bring you closer to achieving your goals. To become Miss America, a contestant must first win a local competition and then compete to represent her state, a process requiring personal commitment, hard work and talent. A woman may compete as a state titleholder only once at the national Miss America competition. More than thirteen thousand young women participate each year in the local and state events, culminating in the selection of 53 national finalists who vie for the Miss America title in Las Vegas. Tens of thousands of volunteers organize the local and state preliminary competitions, promoting community involvement throughout the United States and furthering scholarship and achievement among young women in their communities. Each local titleholder supports the Miss America charity of choice by making a one hundred dollar donation to the Children’s Miracle Network. It does not cost a cent to compete in the Miss America program – all you need is commitment, perseverance, talent and ambition.

Becoming a Contestant Fast Facts

To compete you must:

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 24.
  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Meet residency requirements for competing in a certain town or state.
  • Meet character criteria as set forth by the Miss America Organization.
  • Be in reasonably good health to meet the job requirements.
  • Be able to meet the time commitment and job responsibilities as set forth by the local program in which you compete.

If you are interested in receiving more information about becoming a contestant in the Miss North Carolina pageant, please visit the local pageant you are interested in competing in. Once there you will find contact information for the the local Executive Director.  Or email us at

Did You Know?

* Each year, the Miss America Organization makes available more than $45 million in cash and tuition scholarship assistance. Learn more about Miss America scholarships.

*Patricia Northrup, Miss California 1992, is a commercial overseas pilot and a second lieutenant in the Air National Guard. Thanks to her local and state Miss America scholarships, she attended college and the nation’s top commercial flight school. She was awarded the AECT Commander’s Trophy, Distinguished Graduate Award and the Flying Training Award in 1997 and was the number one officer in a class of 80 at the Academy of Military Sciences in 1996.