QUESTION #1: I recognize the fact that there are two contests--one specifically for students, and the other just a 'writing contest'. I am interested in entering the regular writing contest, because the young writers one does not include book-length prose. There didn't appear to be any guidelines against me entering the regular contest, but I wanted to be sure before I submitted anything, just in case.
ANSWER #1: You are right: there are no rules against student-aged humans entering the regular "adult" contest. Students are welcome to do so, but should remember that they'll be competing with adult writers some of whom have quite a bit of experience. Unlike the New Mountain Voices Student Contest, which is free, the adult contest does come with fees. And whereas we notify the student winners in advance of the awards banquet at our Summer Conference so they can attend if the wish, the earliest that winners of the adult contest will learn of their win is at the awards banquet itself (June 11, 2016). Which brings me to...
QUESTION #2: In order to enter, must you be positive that you will be at the awards banquet?
ANSWER #2: You do not have to attend the awards banquet to win. I'd say probably half of the winners do attend, but it is certainly not required. We mail out certificates and prize money to the winners early in the week following the awards banquet. And we try to have the winners listed on our website and via email to entrants by Sunday night of that weekend. Last year we had them listed immediately following the awards banquet.