ARBA Queen, Royalty, Management, Acheivement Application Writing Tips

Calling youth exhibitors! The entries for the 2011 ARBA youth contests that will be held at the ARBA convention will be due soon! The ARBA allows you to enter online this year.  Online entries are due September 10th! You can get all the details and enter here: http://arba.net/youth.htm

If you are planning to attend this year’s ARBA convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, (the dates are October 29th- November 2nd 2011) and are under age 19, you should definitely consider participating in the many contests offered for youth members!  They are the highlight of convention for many kids.  In fact, they are the whole reason that many youth even come.

Tips for Writing ARBA Queen, King, Prince, etc and Achievement / Management Applications

The application is a very important part of ARBA royalty.  The contests of Achievement and Management are application-only contests, which means you don’t have to be present at convention to participate or win.

These are just hints and tips I’ve gathered from my experience in completing ARBA applications.  I can’t guarantee them, but they seem to have served me well. (I won senior achievement in 2008 and was twice a runner-up for Queen.)   If you would like me to go over your application with you and make suggestions, I would be happy to do it — just email me at ellyn @ rabbitsmarties.com!    I’ve found it really helpful to have an older youth member review my applications for me!  Now for the tips…

Make sure you are using this year’s application. These are available at www.arba.net , then click on the youth page.   The applications are revised from year to year.  (For example, achievement is numbered differently in 2008 than 2007 – be careful!)

Rewrite your application each year. Granted, the forms are very similar if not identical from year to year.  But it is better not to just copy/paste from last year, for several reasons.  1) The applications do change (e.g. might change something from “list” to “tell about” )  2) You are a year older and your writing will be a year better.  The guidelines say your application should be “age appropriate”.  Why use a 10-year-old’s style when you are 11?  Furthermore, the more often you write something, the better it will be and the more chances you have for good ideas.  The thing to do is to write an answer from scratch, then compare to last year’s answer and use the best ideas out of each.

Get it in on time. The deadline this year is September 10, and there is a 20 pt deduction for lateness.  Writing ahead of time gives you a chance to write it, let it sit for a few weeks, and then proofread with a fresh perspective.

Follow the rules. Pay attention to the guidelines!  Remember to send the picture of a correct size, to stay within the page limit, to send as many copies as directed…that good stuff.

Tell them what to think. They ask you, so tell them!  Be confident!  If you don’t think you should win ARBA royalty, why should they?   They actually give points for being positive.  I think my application that won 2006 District 8 achievement was pretty sparse on actual content, but boy I was positive!  Don’t mean be a stuck-up show off, but if you’re happy with you, the judge is more likely to be, too.  Be honest—for if we aren’t honest there’s no point—but present yourself well.

Be professional. It is very important to be professional and neat.  To use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  Make sure you capitalize breed names.   No abbreviations.  4-H is hyphenated.

Format your document well. Each judge will be reading close to 250 pages of applications.  Make it easy for them to read.  Use bullets and lists when asked.  Use a reader-friendly font and size.  Write the question in boldface (possibly a different color) and write your answer under it.  Make your document attractive, but avoid distracting graphics.  Professionalism again, ya know…

Watch your writing style. I, personally, have a propensity for verbosity, as exhibited by this prolonged sentence…so avoid my mistakes and don’t use too many big words.  Be concise. Use an intelligent style, but make your paragraphs E-Z to follow.  Collect your thoughts.  Rewrite.  They allow points for a “Positive, easy-to-follow narrative.”  Be interesting!

Visual aids are allowed. Pictures and so forth within the document are not required, but it does mention that visual aids are allowed within the page limit.  I never used them, but I imagine they would be especially useful for management applications

Make the most of project achievements. (project achievements being with rabbits as opposed to personal achievements.) This has always been a weak area for me.  But so what if you’ve never won a BIS!  Has your herd improved?  Even if you’ve only won your first BOB, you achieved a goal and that is what matters to them.

Every judge is different. Just helps to keep this in mind when you get your score sheet back.

Ask someone for help if you need it. People aren’t exactly trying to give away their contests secrets, but you will usually find people willing to help coach someone from their state.  People who are experienced in youth contests can make many helpful suggestions!  I know it took me a long time to just figure things out before I really knew how to study.

Study guide coverIt never hurts to enter. Sure, competition to win the ARBA royalty – especially Queen –contests is very stiff, but why not try for the experience?  It’s fun to do, gives you a chance to meet new friends at convention, and you learn a ton about bunnies as you prepare for it.

I’ve got more tips.  GOOD ones.  You can e-mail me.  You can also check out my book,“The Youth Rabbit Project Study Guide,” for breed ID, judging, and royalty study secrets and practice tests and questions.  Do send me an email if you purchase the book.  It comes with free email support for your questions! 🙂  I love royalty and love to be of help.

Work hard and have fun!