Congressional App Challenge

Each year, Rep. DeGette hosts a Congressional App Challenge for middle and high school students in Colorado’s First Congressional District. The Congressional App Challenge is a nationwide app-creation competition sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The competition is open to any student who lives in, or goes to school in, Colorado’s First Congressional District can register. Students who enter the competition will compete against other students in the First Congressional District to create the most unique, creative and user-friendly new app.

Students can enter individually, or as a team, and can use any programming language (C/C++, Java, JavaScript, etc.) and any platform (desktop, web, tablet, mobile, etc.) they choose to create their app.

One winner from the First Congressional District will be chosen to compete against the winners chosen from each of the other participating Congressional districts across the country.


The 2019 App Challenge has concluded. Please check back for information on the 2020 challenge at a later date.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can enter?

  • Any student who lives in, or goes to school in, Colorado’s First Congressional District can register

How do I enter?

What are the judging criteria?

  • Your app will be judged on three main aspects.
    1. Quality of the app
      • How creative is the app?
      • How original is it?
      • Does the app address a problem?
      • If so, how creative is the solution?
    2. Implementation of the idea
      • Did the student consider the user experience?
      • Did the student give thought to the app design?
    3. Demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills
      • Did the student display understanding of the tools they were using?
      • Did the student demonstrate they had learned how to code?

What kind of App should I create?

  • The app you create can be about any topic you’d like, but they must:
    • Be original
    • Be appropriate
    • Have been created during the calendar year of the competition. 

Do I have to present my app to an audience?

  • No.  All apps and demonstration videos will be submitted online.
  • Judges will be viewing your Application Demonstration Videos only.

What do I need to submit?

  • In addition to your completed app, you must submit a 1-3 minute Demonstration Video, outlining:
    • What your app does
    • What tools you used to create your app
    • How your app works

Please note that your entry may be judged in its entirety based on this video. It is important to demonstrate the scope and quality of your application in this video. The video should be no more than four minutes in length.

Can I work with a team?

  • Yes, teams of up to 4 students are allowed. 
  • If you are competing in a team, at least two of the students in your team must reside or attend school in Colorado’s First Congressional District.

What if I live in CO-01 but attend school outside of it?

  • You may compete in either district, but not both.
  • Students may submit only one app per year for the Congressional App Challenge.

Is there an age requirement?

  • There is no age requirement.
  • Students must be attending either middle school and high school eligible at the time of entry. Students who have graduated high school are not eligible.

What language or platform must I use?

  • You can use any programming language or platform that you prefer. 

What if I already created an app in the past – can I submit that?

  • No. The app you submit must be created within the calendar year of the competition.
    • Note: You may submit an app that was submitted to last year’s competition if significant changes have been made to improve the app.  You will be expected to explain these changes in the submission video.

Who are the judges?

  • The apps will be judged by a panel comprised of local individuals with interest and expertise in various related fields (tech, entrepreneurship, government, etc.). 

I don’t know how to code.  How can I participate?

  • If you don’t know how to code, this is a great chance to learn. Below is a list of helpful resources that can help you learn all you need to know to get started.
  • Another non-coding way to participate is to join a team and focus on the non-technical aspects such as user experience, design, and project management.

Who am I competing against?

  • You will be competing against students in Colorado’s First Congressional District.  We will select one winner to present their app in Washington, D.C.

Will my app be published anywhere?

  • Contestants will own the intellectual property rights to their submission, but will grant Congress a royalty free license to, without limitation:
    • Post the submissions online
    • Make the winners available for the course of the competition and 1 month after the conclusion of the competition submission period
    • Utilize the submissions for noncommercial purposes for a period of 12 months after the conclusion of the competition submission period

Who can I contact for more help?

  • For additional questions, please contact our Rep. DeGette’s District Office at 303-844-4988.

Additional Resources