The hallmark of NSAL is its National Career Awards Competition, which is held each year in one of the following categories: art (visual), dance, drama, literature, music, and musical theatre. (Note: The 2012 competition will be in musical theatre.) Participants in the National Career Awards Competition compete at the Local Chapter level for a series of monetary awards. First-place winners of the Local Chapter Competitions are sent to the NSAL National Competition, which is held each spring during the Society’s annual meeting. Participants in the National Competition compete for a first place award of $10,000, and a series of other awards that can total another $10,000 or more.
A second important activity of NSAL is the annual Winston Scholarship Program for visual artists and vocalists. Each year, scholarships totaling $18,000 - $20,000 are awarded to artists in these fields who are sixteen to twenty-two years of age. Supported by a generous endowment from Shirley Rabb Winston, these scholarships are used for special study in the recipient’s field. In most years as many as eight to ten scholarships are awarded in varying amounts.