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.

Participants will give a 10 minute presentation at the State and International Career Development Conferences. The presentation should cover the five gold level projects. The presentation will be followed by a 5 minute question/answer period.

Bronze level names must be submitted on the Reporting Form by December 13, 2018 so members can be recognized at the District Conference. (This is entirely optional.)

Names for all levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) must be submitted on The Reporting Form by February 1, 2019, in order to be eligible for a certificates.

Written Event Screening

MAP projects must be received at the Michigan DECA office by 10:00 a.m. on the day on Saturday, February 16, 2019. Entries will not be accepted after 10:30 a.m., no matter the reason.

If you are mailing your project, plan on shipping it so it arrives by Wednesday, February 13, 2019. Packages received after this date run the risk of not arriving on time, and not being able to be screened for competition.

  • We recommend using UPS, since they are familiar with our office location and issue a tracking number.
  • All USPS (postal service) packages take an extra day to be delivered to our office after delivery to the campus mailroom.  Please plan for this delay, any packages delivered on Thursday or Friday will not reach our office before screening.
  • Please note, even if you pay additional shipping costs to have the package arrive on a Saturday, our office does not receive ANY mail or deliveries on the weekends.

All chapter advisors submitting Merit Award Projects need to attend and assist with the Written Event Screening. Advisors not assisting with the screening will be charged a screening fee based on the number of written event entries per chapter. Please plan on arriving between 9:30-10:00 a.m. Chapter advisors will review the work and assign penalty points.

Projects not meeting the minimum standard as indicated on the Merit Award Program Checklist will be returned and the student will not be allowed to attend the State Conference as a Gold Merit Award Participant.

Awards will be given to the outstanding projects and will be evaluated using the Gold Project Evaluation form

Projects receiving less than 75 points will not advance on to the International Conference.

If at the State Conference, a Merit Award Program delegate qualifies to attend the International Conference in a competitive event as well as the Merit Award Program, they will not be allowed to compete in both events.  The competitive event will take priority over the Merit Award Program event.

If at the State Conference, a Merit Award Program delegate is elected as a State Officer, they will not be allowed to compete in the Merit Award Program at the International Conference.

Plagiarism Review

All written events (except the Chapter Awards Program) will also need to be uploaded to TurnItIn by the chapter advisor between February 6-15, 2019 so that it can be reviewed for plagiarism.

You must print the confirmation page after uploading to TurnItIn, and this will be required in the written entry.  Projects missing this page will be penalized 10 points.

All written events that have not been submitted to TurnItIn by the deadline will be penalized 10 points, and given 3 days to be submitted. If not submitted within the 3 day extension window, the entry will be disqualified. Complete instructions on how to upload projects will be provided in January.

Do NOT test your chapter’s projects by uploading them to another Turnitin account prior to submitting them to Michigan DECA. Any projects that have been previously submitted will have a high plagiarism rating and could be disqualified!  Disqualified projects will not be eligible to receive a refund of the conference registration.


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.