The Miss America Organization’s candidate age eligibility requirements are based on a calendar year, not a competition cycle, and remains unchanged. In order to be eligible to compete in a local or state competition, a candidate cannot be older than twenty-five (25) 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 2019 State Competition, a candidate must be at least 17 years of age and her birth year can be no earlier than 1994.

From the Official Candidate Contract:

2.2 Age.

I am currently ______ years of age. I was born on _______________, _____.I understand that, in order to be eligible to compete, I:

(1) Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age as of July 31st in the calendar year of the State Competition in which I compete;

(2) Must be at least a high school graduate or equivalent by July 31st in the calendar year of the State Competition in which I compete; and

(3) Must not be older than twenty-five (25) years of age as of the last day in the calendar year of the State Competition in which I compete (December 31st) I will be _____ years of age on December 31, 2019 and confirm that I will not be olderthan the twenty-five (25) year age requirement. A copy of my birth certificate and a copy of my driver’s license or a government issued identification card are included with Attachment A, the Supplemental Fact Sheet.

For the avoidance of doubt, I cannot turn twenty-six (26) years of age at any time during the calendar year (through December 31st) in which I will compete at state or national.

For the avoidance of doubt, 13 to 17 year old high-school graduates, as well as 18 year old non-graduates as of July 31st, must compete at MAOTeen level.


“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 largest provider of scholarships for young women in the nation.

Whether you want to become a doctor or a dancer, an accountant or an architect, the Miss North Carolina Organization, 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 candidate must first win a local competition and then compete to represent her state, a process requiring personal commitment, hard work and talent. A young woman may compete as a state titleholder only once at the national Miss America competition. Thousands of young women participate each year in the local and state events, culminating in the selection of 51 national finalists who vie for the Miss America title. 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 Candidate Fast Facts

To compete you must:

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 25;
  • Be a United States citizen;
  • Meet residency requirements for competing in a certain city or local area;
  • Meet character criteria as set forth by the Miss America Organization;
  • Be in reasonably good health to meet the job requirements; and
  • Be able to meet the time commitment and job responsibilities as set forth by the local in which you compete.

For more information on becoming a candidate:

If you are interested in receiving more information about becoming a candidate in the Miss North Carolina competition, please visit the local competition you are interested in competing in. Once there you will find contact information for the the local Executive Director.

Benefits of the Program

  • Gain valuable experience and develop life skills that will benefit your everyday life (i.e. interview skills, public speaking, interpersonal communication, social interaction, etc.);
  • Earn quality scholarship funds for college and graduate school, regardless of whether a title is won;
  • Create awareness of your potential strengths and increase your self-confidence;
  • Find new interests and discover new opportunities;
  • Make lifelong friendships and relationships with your peers, as well as other generations;
  • Gain a sense of accomplishment by using your free time in a positive and constructive manner;
  • Learn to set goals, follow them through, and exceed your expectations;
  • Develop a sense of responsibility for helping others;
  • Foster a positive, self-motivated mindset to achieve your goals; and
  • Receive recognition for your efforts in bettering yourself and your community.

*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.


Festival & Collegiate Titleholder Opportunity

The Miss North Carolina Organization allows young women who have been crowned a festival titleholder or a College or University titleholder as a result of a competition the opportunity to participate in the Miss North Carolina Competition.  For more information, please click here:  2018-2019 FESTIVAL-COLLEGE LICENSE AGREEMENT 2