It’s my first year helping to write the Chairman’s essays for my team and we have decided to go with a different formatting on the executive summaries than in the past. The last couple of years we have just written a short paragraph and were done, but this year we have bullet points and sub-bullet points since it was suggested to do so. This is where my question comes in though, are there bullet points in the submission software or do we need to put in little dashes and, if there is bullet points in the software, do they count towards the character count? Thank you!
Bullet points don’t get translated into software when you submit, you need to put in little dashes. Those do get counted towards character count. To reduce count with line breaks we formated one of the questions like this:
As mentioned above, the software does not include bullet point capabilities. It is a very basic text editor, and you have to be very careful as some characters get turned to “?”. Make sure you reread everything before you hit “submit” to ensure all "?"s are removed. This seems to have gotten better in recent years, but we were always very worried about the stray “?”.
Having read a number of submissions, I think formatting is key. You want to make sure it is easy for the judges to read. Especially at the Regional/District level, the judges are usually busy professionals who are asked to read the essays/questions before the event begins. That’s a huge ask, so be sure to make their job as easy as possible!
Also, just a head’s up, the online submission’s character count is different to Google’s. We always did our submissions on Google Drive, so I don’t know if it differs to Microsoft Word, but either way be prepared to take out another 1-5% of characters.
Thank you so much to both of you! I really appreciate the help. I was worried that when I went to submit everything would be over the character limits because of formatting. A big thank you again and hope you have a great kickoff tomorrow!