Merit Award Program

DECA’s Merit Awards Program (MAP) provides avenues outside the competitive event structure for individual members to engage in a graduated program of competency based self-improvement activities.  The program handbook “maps” a self-directed path for exploring marketing and increasing marketing expertise — from the bronze level (knowledge) through the silver (analysis) to the gold (interpretation).  With MAP, students receive recognition for their accomplishments on the local, state and national levels.

The Merit Award Program (MAP) was designed to strengthen the instructional areas offered in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, and to give each DECA member an opportunity to work on self-improvement activities. MAP recognizes the ability, interest and creativity of the individual DECA member.

The objective of MAP is to increase the employability of the individual in marketing, finance, hospitality and management fields and to develop an awareness of these areas as a career choice. The program is intended to develop a better understanding of the importance of entrepreneurship, product and service knowledge, and customer satisfaction.


Important Dates:

December 9, 2020 – Bronze level names must be submitted on the Google Reporting Form so members can be recognized at the District Conference. (This is entirely optional.)

February 1, 2021 – Names for all levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) must be submitted on the Google Reporting Form in order to be eligible for a certificates after the State Conference.

February TBA, 2021 – A digital copy of all Merit Award Projects must be uploaded to the online Conference Portal. 

February TBA, 2021 – A hard copy of all Merit Award Projects must be delivered/dropped off to the Michigan DECA office for screening.


State Conference submission information:

  1. All students competing at the State Conference MUST be included on the chapter’s registration.
  2. Advisors are responsible to ensure that the written projects are submitted under the correct event and team members paired correctly. If Michigan DECA discovers that an event has been submitted incorrectly (for example, a IMCE project submitted as IMCS), a $25 fee per project will be accessed.
  3. The DECA Written Event Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form (on page 57 of the national DECA Guide), certifying the originality of the work must be signed by the advisor and each student listed on the event before the event is submitted. The Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form must be the first page of each entry. Only those students who signed the Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form and have been included on the chapter’s registration form will be allowed to compete in the event.
  4. All content must be original work of the student(s) that signed the DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form. No part of the written project can be previously entered into competition or submitted in another DECA competitive event. Any events that are found to be plagiarized or previously submitted into competition will be disqualified. Those students will be dropped from the conference, and are not eligible for a refund of the conference registration fee.
  5. Chapter Advisors should review the work of the students and only submit written events that are a positive reflection on their chapter and their school.
  6. Entries must be in the following order: completed and signed DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form, Cover Page, then the actual event following the guidelines set by DECA. (Do not include evaluation forms.)
  7. Any Merit Award Project that receives 30 or more penalty points will not be eligible to compete or attend the State Conference. The registration fee will be refunded at the 50% refund rate.
  8. All entries must be digitally uploaded by Midnight, February TBA, 2021 through the Chapter Registration Portal. Complete instructions on how to upload projects will be provided in January.
  9. Hard copies of all entries must be submitted in the specified DECA folio or binder, which is noted in the event’s guidelines. If it is not in the proper folio/binder, Michigan DECA will place it in a folio/ binder at a charge of five (5) times the current list price. Please note, that if the event is received in an improper folio/binder, that folio/binder will not be returned.
  10. Deadline extended! Hard copies of all entries must be dropped off to the Michigan DECA office by 4:30 p.m. on February TBA, 2021. You may also ship entries, but please note:
    • All shipped packages should be sent to be received by February TBA, 2021. Packages scheduled to be received after this date run the risk of not arriving on time, and not being able to be screened for competition.
    • All USPS (postal service) packages take an extra day to be delivered to our office after delivery to the campus mailroom. We do not receive any USPS deliveries on Friday.  Please plan for this delay. Any packages delivered to the EMU campus mailroom on Thursday or Friday may not reach our office before the deadline for screening.
    • Ship the packages so that you can track them to confirm that they have been delivered.
  11. Michigan DECA staff will upload all entries to to be screened for plagiarism. The entries will be screened by Michigan DECA staff and consultants by the end of February.
  12. The written portion of these events will not be evaluated prior to the State Conference.
  13. Any project that receives penalty points at the State Conference must be corrected prior to being submitted at the International Conference. Projects competing at the International Conference will not be submitted online. They must be printed and placed in the proper folio as per the event’s guidelines, and turned in during the competition’s briefing period.

Competition at the International Conference:

  • Projects receiving less than 75 points at the State Conference, will not advance on to the International Conference.
  • Two copies of ONLY the five gold level activities are to be submitted at the specified time and location at the International Conference. Each copy needs to be in a separate DECA written event folio [Shop DECA SKU: 4WEFOLI], not a binder.
  • If a MAP delegate is elected as an incoming State Officer at the State Conference, they will NOT be allowed to compete in the Merit Award Program at the International Conference.
  • If a MAP delegate qualifies to attend the International Conference in another competitive event, they will NOT be allowed to compete in MAP; the International DECA event has first priority.
  • The page numbers of the Gold level activities do not have to be re-numbered from the State Conference competition.
  • Any project that received penalty points at the State Conference, needs to be corrected prior to being submitted at the International Conference.
  • Each project will be re-examined for penalty points at the International Conference.
  • Two advisors will evaluate each project.
  • Participants will give a 10 minute presentation at the International Career Development Conference. The presentation should cover the five gold level projects. The presentation will be followed by a 5 minute question/answer period.
  • Participants must follow the International Conference Dress Code. This includes wearing a DECA blazer when being judged.
  • The top participants will be recognized as an outstanding project at Michigan DECA’s State Recognition Session at the International Career Development Conference.
  • The decision of the judges is final. Students and advisors are not to ask judges for justification of their scores.

Written Events and the Internet:

Students will not be able to use the convention center internet for their written presentation, because that would involve asking someone else to help them with their equipment. (Refer to the presentation guidelines.)  Students may use an internet aircard or personal hotspot with their computer if the student has one. But we caution that it could be difficult for students to receive and maintain a connection due to so many people using cell phones while at the conference. If they lose connection, they will not be given additional time. Our suggestion is to save anything that they might want to reference directly onto their computer.