Student Pitch Competition – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to participate in the Student Pitch Competition?

You will be asked to provide your contact information and answer a few short questions about yourself and your interest in the competition. In the application, you can select to participate as an individual, as a partially formed team or as a complete team. Teams can range in size from 3 to 5 participants. If you wish to register as a partially or completely formed team, each member of your team must submit an application.

If selected, you will be asked to register for the Round One event at your preferred location. If you do not register within 72 hours of receiving your invitation (sent to the email address you provide in your application) your spot will be offered to another student. You must register to participate at the location indicated in your application.

What do you look for in a successful application?

Any student from any program at any level of study currently enrolled in a postsecondary institution is eligible to participate. HEQCO is looking for students from across disciplines and programs of study.

Applications should demonstrate a clear and thoughtful understanding of the broad issues facing students in postsecondary education, and how and why these issues influenced your decision to participate in this competition.

Is there a fee to participate?

No, there is no fee to participate.

In the event that you are invited to attend the competition but cannot, we kindly ask that you contact as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours prior to Round One. An applicant from our waiting list will be invited to attend in your place if you registered as an individual. If you registered as part of a team, no replacement will be added to your team.

How many applicants will be selected to participate at each site in each round?

In Round One, a maximum of 60 students (approximately 12 teams) will be selected to participate at each site (Toronto and Thunder Bay). The winning teams from each site will be eligible to participate in Round Two.

When will I know if I have been selected to participate in the Student Pitch Competition and how will I be notified?

If your application is successful for Round One, you will be notified by email (sent to the address provided in your application) starting March 12, 2018. You will then have 72 hours to register. If you do not register within that timeframe, you may lose your spot at the competition.

How big should the teams be?

Teams should be between 3 to 5 students.

Can I participate if I don’t have a team?

You may apply as a team or as an individual.

If You Apply as a Team: If you apply as part of a team, all team members must submit an application. In your application, make sure to list each member of your team. If a team is successful and is invited to register for Round One, the whole team will be selected together. Individual team members will not be selected independent of their teammates.

If You Apply as a Partial Team (e.g., 2 members): If you apply as a partial team, HEQCO will complete your team by matching you with other applicants who applied as individuals or as other partial teams. HEQCO will introduce you to your team members over email in advance of the competition so you may get in contact with each other prior to Round One.

If You Apply as an Individual: If you apply as an individual, HEQCO will create a team for you by matching you with other applicants who applied as individuals or in partial teams. You will be introduced to your group members over email in advance of the competition, so you may get in contact with each other prior to Round One. If you apply as an individual, you will be matched with other participants only in the location to which you originally applied.

What if I do not live in one of the locations listed?

Students from anywhere in Ontario may apply to participate. If your application is successful, you will be responsible for finding and paying for the necessary accommodations and travel requirements to attend the Round One competition of your choice. This location should be specified in your application.

If invited to participate in Round One, you must register for the location indicated in your application.

What will the Round One competition day look like?

In your team, you will have approximately four hours to develop your solution to the prompt provided. You will then pitch your idea to the judges in a five minute presentation, followed by a five minute Q&A period. After the presentation period, you will be invited to the participant dinner reception where the winning team will be announced. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided.

How will the competition be judged?

The judges will be leaders from government, public policy organizations and postsecondary institutions. Judges will be announced on our website before Round One. To help you align your pitch to our expectations, you will be provided with a detailed scoring rubric prior to the competition. This will be made available on our Pitch Competition website before Round One.

The same rubric will be used for both rounds. However, the judging panels for Round One and Round Two will be different.

Am I expected to do background research before the competition to support the development of my idea?

HEQCO will provide a list of resources on our Pitch Competition website before Round One. Applicants invited to participate in Round One will receive an email notifying them when these resources become available. While these resources are meant to give you a foundational background on the state of access in postsecondary education in Canada, you are welcome and encouraged to do additional research of your own.

What do I need to bring to Round One of the competition?

It is recommended that at least one member of your group bring a laptop, tablet or device to prepare your presentation. However, if you have been selected to participate and bringing a laptop or tablet is not possible please contact

What should I wear?

Because you will be giving your presentation in front of a panel of judges, it is recommended that you wear business casual attire. A business suit is not required, however, you should look professional.

Will prizes be awarded to successful teams during each round?

Finalists from each Round One location will receive free entry to HEQCO’s Access in Practice Conference to be held April 4-5 in Toronto at the Delta Hotel. Finalists will also have a meet and greet with Rick Hansen. The winning team of Round Two will receive the grand prize.

During Round One, students will be provided breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will be a reception after the presentations to celebrate your hard work!

What prize will be awarded to the successful team in the final round?

As part of the grand prize, the winning team will receive:

  • A $250 gift card for each team member
  • Access to a facilitated networking event to be held after the competition

Will my travel and accommodation expenses be covered if I am selected as a finalist?

Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered if your team is selected to advance to Round Two. This information will be provided by email after Round One.

If I’m on a winning team from Round One, do I need to prepare anything new for Round Two?

Winning teams from Round One are not expected to create something new for Round Two. In the week leading up to Round Two, finalists should revise and refine their presentation, as well as prepare for the Q&A round.

What happens if I cannot participate in Round Two?

If you are a finalist from Round One and find yourself unable to participate in Round Two, your team may still participate as long as it has at least three students available to present on April 4. If an entire team is unable to participate, then the next-place team will participate in its place.

Will there be information sessions taking place about the event on campus?

Some of our institutional partners will be hosting information sessions for students on campus to learn more about HEQCO’s Student Pitch Competition. Check this website regularly for more information on the dates, times and locations of those sessions.

Whom do I contact if I have questions?

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at