The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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This year you can win up to a $1,000 scholarship!

Entry Form

The UTRGV annual Holiday Card Contest is a great way to show your creativity and UTRGV spirit! Keep the tradition alive by sharing your design for the 2023 UTRGV holiday card. 

Don't miss your chance to spread cheer throughout the Rio Grande Valley — and win some scholarship money in the process. Your design can be anything from photographs, paintings, drawings, or computer illustrations and must be submitted digitally.

The contest will consider artwork only; please do not include words or messages in your final submission. In addition, artwork should not reference any specific religious holiday.


UTRGV scholarship


UTRGV scholarship




UTRGV scholarship

Any UTRGV/MSA student in good standing that is currently enrolled in person, online classes or is an SOM student at UTRGV is eligible. Dual-Credit and concurrent students are not eligible to participate.

How to Enter

Artwork must be submitted electronically through the entry form. All entries must have an entry form, or they cannot be considered complete.

Limit one entry per person.

Design Specifications

Finished size: 7" x 5" with a .25” bleed. Safety zone 6.75”x 4.75”.
Below is a link with a safe zone sample: 
Click here to view

Landscape or portrait orientation.

All artwork must be CMYK at 300 dpi.

Must be saved in color mode CMYK.

Accepted formats: PDF, EPS, AI, TIF, JPEG (full quality, uncompressed only). If sending AI or EPS files, convert all text to outlines.

Digital artwork that does not meet the resolution and quality requirements will not be considered.


For additional information or questions about the contest, contact the UTRGV University Marketing and Communications Office at (956) 665-2741 or via email at Include “UTRGV Holiday Card Contest Inquiry” in the subject line of your email.

Reproduction Rights

Who Can Enter

By entering the contest, an entrant: 

(1) Warrants that their artwork is an original concept and constitutes an original work, and does not infringe on the protected rights of other artists or violate any applicable copyright laws. 
(2) Agrees to assign all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the artwork to UTRGV without any fee or compensation (other than the possibility of receiving an award stated above) and has the right to do so. 
(3) Waives any right to royalties or other compensation arising from or related to the use of the artwork. 
(4) Waives any right to inspect and approve any holiday card design, including any editing of the artwork. 
(5) Warrants they have not and will not submit the artwork in any other contest.

UTRGV will give credit to the artist in its use of the artwork.


All entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges. Artwork will be judged on its ability to portray the UTRGV spirit, traditions, creativity, and artistic merit.

Winners will be announced via email in mid-November.


Your submission must be received by 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023, at 5 p.m.



How many entries can be submitted by a competitor? 
The limit is one entry per person. Any other submissions by the same competitor will not be reviewed by the competition committee.

When is the deadline for all submissions? 
The deadline for all submissions is Tuesday, October 31, 2023, at 5 p.m.

Which students are eligible to participate in the UTRGV Holiday Card Contest? 
All current UTRGV/MSA students. This includes all current accelerated online programs and SOM Students.

Can winners from previous Holiday Card Contests participate again?
As long as the student is currently enrolled in classes at UTRGV and follows the guidelines, any previous winners can participate. 

How many runners-up will be awarded?
President and Provost will each select two runners-up.

Scholarship Award

Does the prize money need to be used on UTRGV tuition, or can it be used in any manner? 
Scholarships are applied to a student’s account first. Then, if there is no outstanding debt to the institution, the funds are issued to the student for educational expenses.


Should we include the small details based on the safe zone example provided, or should we submit the 7” x 5” drawing? 
You can submit the artwork set to the size of 7” X 5” but make sure that if you have any text or images that run near the edge, those elements that fall within the 6.75” X 4.75” area will not get cut off. It is good practice to be aware of miscuts and misaligned jobs.

What is CMYK at 300 dpi? 
CMYK stands for the four colors used in printing presses: C- Cyan, M – Magenta, Y – Yellow, and K – Black. 300 dpi is the minimum resolution for print-quality work. Having your image formatted this way makes it print-ready.

If a drawing is done on paper, and then scanned is it acceptable to use paper that is 7” X 10” in, or does it have to be 7” X 5”? 
The final piece that is entered into the competition must be 7.5” X 5.5”. You can work with a paper that is formatted differently as the drawing is in the parameters provided.

What is the .25 bleed for? 
The bleed is the extra amount of paper that is printed before trimming. It is necessary to have it for the cutting process.

This would mean that the .25 bleed is for both digital and scanned artwork.

Does the safe zone sample count for only digital works or does it count for drawings too? 
The safe zone counts for both, digital works and drawings. It is to make sure that you do not place anything “important” outside of that area for the risk of it not being represented fully, or something getting cut off.

Is it possible to have an individual’s completed card reviewed by the committee before it is submitted to make sure all measurements are correct? 
Please make sure to adhere to the design specifications provided on this website. Unfortunately, due to many submissions, the committee is unable to review an entry before it has been submitted. This is to avoid any competitive advantage and to stay fair for everyone participating. Cards can only be submitted once, please make sure the card you submit is the final and only entry.

Design Cont'd

Can the artwork be either landscape or portrait? 
The artwork can be landscape or portrait.

What common software would be best to complete the card? 
Any software can be used to complete your card if you can meet the specifications required. Popular software examples: Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint, or InDesign.

Can PowerPoint be used, and can animation illustrations be added? 
PowerPoint can be used to draw but no animations to be added as the winning card is printed.

Can the UTRGV Mascot be used in the artwork? 
Yes, the mascot can be used in any form you create but only the official mascot.  No alterations can be made as it is a copyrighted mark. We cannot release the official artwork of it since it is reserved solely for university business and promotions. But you can make an illustration based on it.

Can the holiday card artwork depict traditional non-religious holiday items? 
The holiday card can be designed with artwork that includes a holiday theme highlighting UTRGV Spirit and traditions. Artwork should refrain from referencing any specific religious holiday.

Should the white space, dotted line, and blue line shown in the example be shown on the artwork submitted? 
No, those markings are a point of reference for the individuals competing and should not show up on the final copy that will be submitted to the judges.

In the holiday card submission can words like “Happy Holidays be included”? 
No, please do not include any words or messages in the artwork. The rules state that it is artwork only, no words or messages should be included in the final submissions.

Does my competition card need to be done digitally? 
Competition cards can be drawn or painted and scanned. Individuals still need to comply with the artwork meeting the parameters of 7in x 5in and .25 bleed.

If a holiday card is drawn, how can it be submitted? 
It can be scanned and submitted as an attachment to the entry form. Please do not email the competition card because it will not be a qualified entry.

What can the individual do if the entry does not attach because the file is too large? 
Since file submissions tend to vary depending on the medium and format created. We recommend that you upload a High-Res jpg that is at 300 dpi. Also, another format that can help assist with the file attachments is png format. Please remember to always save a copy of your original artwork. If your piece is a finalist, we will need to have the highest-resolution file to send to print. If you continue to struggle with your upload, please send an email to with the issue. Please be aware that no submissions will be accepted via email.

Can I use Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs to help create an original computer illustration? 
Sure, you can use AI as a tool to assist you, but there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, the university needs to be able to own the copyright of any artwork submitted to the competition. AI can't legally hold or transfer copyright, and it's not a student either, so using only AI-generated art won't work. However, if you’re adding your own unique touches that qualify for copyright, you’re good to go! Just make sure to highlight what parts of the artwork are your own creation.

Submit Your Entry

Past Award Winners

Scholarships are awarded by the 

President and the Provost & Sr VP Academic Affairs

1st Place

Two prizes awarded for each!