Why the Miss America Organization Should Raise The Age of Eligibility to Compete...Again


Participating in this program has opened doors for women, especially educationally. This is one of the “Four Points of the Crown”: Scholarship. Success. Style. Service. In fact, one of the first things you read on the Miss America 2.0 website is: “MAO was the first competition to offer a talent category and soon after scholarship awards for young women to be able to go to college and further their education.” Generally speaking, this excludes women who are pursuing higher (higher) education - professional or graduate degrees, and if that is MAO’s intention, they should modify their message to specify “women pursuing undergraduate degrees” instead.

In 2018, the Miss America Organization raised the age of eligibility to compete to a whopping 25-years-old. They should consider raising the age again for the following reasons:

1.) The average age of a law school graduate is 27. According to 2017 data, 51% of U.S. law school students are women.

2.) Not being married is one of the requirements of participation. The average age that American women get married is 27. 

3.) The average age of an MBA student is 28.

4.) Generally speaking, a med school graduate is 26. Recent data shows it is even trending towards 28. Women represent almost 50% of individuals who attend medical school in the United States.

5.) While it was generous to raise the age of eligibility in 2018 to 25, several local MAO pageants had already taken place and many young women did not get the opportunity to benefit from the age raise.

6.) The general population often raise an eyebrow when they learn that women who are 24, now 25, “age out” of the Miss America Organization because of their knowledge of the aforementioned points. This leads to negative perceptions of the program in an age where pageant participation is already often misunderstood. 

MAO should update the age of eligibility to reflect our times. As the data above indicates, there is a target market of women between the ages of 25-28 who are unmarried and still pursuing graduate or professional degrees, and the purpose of the Miss America Organization is to help women meet their educational goals. I know I speak for numerous young, ambitious, beautiful, and intelligent women when I say, when we note the average ages above, along with the intent of the Miss America Organization, it is clear that the organization’s age of eligibility to compete should be revisited, revised, and raised.