Competition Application Policies

Know them before you apply to the ICCA, ICHSA, or The Open


The deadline to apply for the 2021 season of the ICCA, ICHSA, and The Open is October 15 at 11:59 pm EST.

Audition Video

In light of the quarantine, your audition video may be a live, unedited recording of your group performing 2-3 songs. You do not need to sing what you intend to sing in competition, nor must you have strong visual presentation.

Recordings may be from the 2019-2020 academic year (for ICCA & ICHSA) (yes, that’s last year!) or any time after March 2019 (for The Open), and accordingly they will include those individuals who were in your group at that time. You may make changes to your roster at any time during the competition season.

Yes, these videos may be from last year’s group — applications for the 2021 season are meant to be easy, as we understand groups cannot convene right now.  The application videos are used to determine potential, so we can attempt to ensure no quarterfinal is more difficult than another within a region.

Songs may be recorded separately, but you must edit them together so that you provide us with only one link to your audition. You may not stop or edit within a song; it must be a truly live performance. There are no constraints on song or set length in your audition.

If you have a produced video similar to what you intend to submit for competition, you may use that in lieu of a live performance; we anticipate that mot groups will *not* have this and will submit a live performance.

Upload your audition to YouTube as an unlisted video. You will be asked to provide the unlisted URL in the online application form.  Your video must be labeled in YouTube with your group name, school name (if applicable), and date of recording.

Entry Fee

There is no entry fee to participate in our 2021 virtual tournament.


ICCA & ICHSA: Groups must consist of permanent, full-time, full-fledged participants who are students enrolled at your school or university. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis and will take into account the academic enrollment status of the member in question as well as the individual school’s policy for participation in registered student organizations. Please contact us with membership questions.

Under no circumstances should groups bring in outside performers for competition. Failure to comply with this regulation may result in disqualification from any and all future competitions.

The Open: Anything goes for your a cappella dream team. Round up your old group for another shot at the championship, pull together the all-stars from your past, call up all the best singers, dancers and beatboxers from your neighborhood, office, book club, and family reunion.

We accept vocal ensembles of all styles, but we are not a choral competition. Groups composed of more than 18 members must understand that our stage dimensions and sound setup (especially when we have all wireless mics) are only adequate for up to 18 members. Groups composed of more than 24 members may not compete. The group-size limit for The Open is 18 members. Groups must be 3 members or larger.

You must notify headquarters of any exceptions or new members not on the original roster included in your application in order for these members to be eligible to compete. Groups who lose members between rounds will not be penalized.

Competition Rules

Please review our competition rules before submitting an application.


Groups will be considered based on the musical aspects of our competition judging criteria and selected by Executive Director Amanda Newman and ICCA Director David Rabizadeh (for ICCA), ICHSA Director Andrea Poole (for ICHSA), or The Open Director Lucy Jacobs (for The Open).

A list of accepted applicants will be posted on our website on November 15, and we will schedule groups into the first round of events shortly thereafter. Virtual quarterfinals will take place in February, semifinals in March, and finals in April.


By sending in an application, your ensemble agrees to participate in any competition to which you advance. Groups who drop out for any unapproved reason will be barred from competition for one year. Applying to compete is considered your commitment to participate in the tournament. Withdrawing creates problems for us, as it determines how and where we present your video, and who judges it. Please do not apply if for any reason you do not believe you will be able to complete a video for competition.


By participating in any event sponsored in whole or in part by Varsity Vocals, your group and each individual group member agree to be bound by Varsity Vocals Terms of UseApplication Policies, and Competition Rules, and you grant Varsity Vocals the right to record you and your group’s performances at any Varsity Vocals event. As a condition of participating, you hereby grant permission for Varsity Vocals and those acting under its authority to use the names, photographs, voices, likenesses, recordings and/or performances of you and your group as included in your group’s entry materials and/or recorded by Varsity Vocals or those acting under its authority at any Varsity Vocals event, for any and all purposes, including for merchandising, resale, advertising, and/or publicity purposes, in any and all media now known or hereinafter invented without territorial or time limitations and without compensation.

You understand that Varsity Vocals reserves the right to waive any of the entry and competition requirements in its reasonable discretion and you agree that Varsity Vocals and Varsity Vocals judges’ decisions are final in all matters relating to any Varsity Vocals contest or event. As a condition of entering, you agree to (a) release to Varsity Vocals its agents, representatives, and contractors and each of their officers, members, directors, employees and agents, from any and all liability, loss, or damage incurred with respect to your group’s participation in any Varsity Vocals event(s), including any travel related thereto; and (b) consent to the jurisdiction and venue of the federal, state, and local courts located in Cook County, Illinois and a choice of Illinois law in any matter relating or concerning a Varsity Vocals contest or event, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules. By participating, you represent and warrant that you are the age of majority in your state or territory of residence (or you have obtained express permission from your parent or legal guardian to participate) and that you and your group’s participation and performances in any Varsity Vocals event will not violate the rights of any third party.

A Final Word

Our goal is to include as many groups as possible. Have a concern about meeting these application policies? Talk to us!

Think you’ve got it? Ready to apply? Let’s do this.