The Rookies Platform for Schools: Everything You Need to Get Started
Getting Started

The Rookies Platform for Schools: Everything You Need to Get Started

We have created this article to help you leverage the power of our community and our team, to help showcase your students and school to the best of your ability.

Main image courtesy of Caecilia-Isabella Glaas

The Rookies is the leading platform for connecting students with the very best training institutes for creative media and entertainment in the world, and if you're visiting this page, chances are, you are one of those very institutes!

We have created this article to help you leverage the power of our community and our team, to help showcase your students and school to the best of your ability.


  1. Get your students creating portfolios
  2. Get your students and staff on The Rookies Discord server
  3. Sign up for our regular webinars
  4. How to get your students' work featured
  5. Sign up for The Rookies Educator Newsletter
  6. Enter contests
  7. The Rookie Awards
  8. How to feature in The Rookies World School Rankings
  9. Get on our School Directory
  10. Get Your School Certified
  11. Advertising on The Rookies

1. Get your students creating portfolios

Why is this important? Consider a Rookies portfolio to be the very start of The Rookies journey. By adding projects to their free portfolio your students are:

  • Sharing their artwork without having to compete with professionals for attention;
  • Challenging themselves by entering regular contests and improving their skills;
  • Earning badges for sharing work, entering that work into contests, and for helping other members;
  • Connecting with fellow creatives and benchmarking their work alongside their peers;
  • Being invited to create content on a globally recognised platform;
  • Getting recognised by recruiters and industry professionals;
  • Taking their passion for creative media and turning it into a successful career.

Direct your students here to sign up. When they are ready to build their first project, this is a great step by step video.  

N.B. It is extremely important, whether creating a portfolio for the first time or a Rookie Awards entry, that your students enter your school name correctly. The easiest thing to do is check the school directory for your school, find the name, copy it, and enter it!

2. Get your students and staff on The Rookies Discord server

The Rookies Discord is a place for your students to meet like-minded artists, get notified about contests and events, and even receive valuable feedback on projects from our industry friends.

It is also a place for your staff to engage with The Rookies team and learn about career opportunities that are available to your students.

3. Sign up for our regular webinars

We host regular webinars featuring the team at The Rookies which covers how to build a portfolio, share your work, and create a winning Rookie Awards entry. We cover all the benefits of The Rookies journey and will also share recent success stories.

There will be time for a Q&A session at the end so come prepared with your questions!

Each week our social media team is scouting new projects to share on our channels. Encourage your students to get their work out there! There is a chance we will share their work and even ask them to contribute to our blog on Discover.

5. Sign up for The Rookies Educator Newsletter

Sign up for our Educator Newsletter. We will use this newsletter to communicate key dates and events throughout the year, starting with announcements about upcoming webinars and the Rookie Awards 2023. We don't want to bombard your inbox, so please register and let us send you some good news from time to time!

6. Enter contests

Now that your students are familiar with creating projects, they can confidently enter the regular contests we run on the site.

By entering contests, your students are:

  • Creating portfolio pieces;
  • Sharing their work with industry heavyweights and influencers;
  • Receiving badges and certificates;
  • Becoming familiar with meeting deadlines as you would find in the industry;
  • Connecting with other young artists;
  • Potentially launching their creative careers!

7. The Rookie Awards

The Rookie Awards is our annual marquee contest for aspiring creatives in games, animation, visual effects, immersive media, motion graphics, and 3d visualisation.

It's important to get your students creating portfolios ahead of the Awards (see step 1!) so that they are familiar with our page builder when creating an entry for the Rookie Awards.

Contest Site: Rookie Awards 2023 is hosted at (link coming soon): https://www.therookies.co/rookieawards2023

Social Media & Hashtags:

Facebook: TheRookiesCo‌
Twitter: TheRookiesCo‌
Instagram: therookiesco‌
YouTube: therookiesco‌
LinkedIn: therookiesco

#rookieawards2023‌ is the official hashtag for the Rookie Awards 2023. To help us track engagement, please remember to include this in any posts or announcements.‌

Download official posters from here.

Key Dates: For each social media announcement we make there is official collateral you can use when sharing key dates with your students. You can download the images from here.

Tip: Please make sure to use the official hashtag #rookieawards2023 with all social media posts and to tag us where appropriate. It really helps us reply to comments and build engagement for everyone involved.

Know which category to enter: Everything you need to know about each category will be explained on the contest page however you can also read more here:

The Rules: Sometimes rules suck, but in this case, they may just get your students the job of their dreams! Read the rules and make sure students are eligible to enter the Awards, and that they are eligible for the career opportunities being offered. For example, did you know that recent graduates are still eligible to enter if they have graduated within 12 months of March 7th, 2023?? Read the rules!!

Entering the Awards: Everything your students need to know about creating an entry can be found in this handy playlist on our YouTube channel.

How to create a winning entry: Rankings really do come down to how many students are winners, runner-ups, finalists, and highly commended. These are the small bonus points that really shake things up each year. We have found that there isn't any correlation between a higher number of students entering, and ranking higher overall, it is about the quality of the entry.

The most basic brief is to "show us what you are going to show a recruiter". This means we want entrants to create an entry page with ALL their best work suitable for the category they are entering into.

Entrants are getting really creative and using sub-headings to split out their diverse projects, and are showing lots of great breakdowns, and supporting information. Here is a great example.

Consider these two entries vying for finalist nomination: Both entrants have an insane character project of mind-blowing proportions, but...

Entrant A has no additional examples of work.

Entrant B includes 1 x prop project, 1 x environment project, and a few good supporting drawings or similar work.

Entrant B will always get a better score from the judges and have a better chance of getting nominated as a finalist, or even winner.

Another good tip is that some students should actually enter 2 categories. Take for example a student that has some cool Gaming style projects, and then some cool stylised characters that would work for a 3D Animated Feature. They should enter Game Development and also 3D Animation, making sure they build 2 x different entry pages that are adapted to the different industries.

8.  How to feature in The Rookies World School Rankings

We feel that traditional school rankings – that include peer and employer reviews, faculty-to-student ratio, citations, and other data – are not adequate when ranking creative schools. This might work in industries with more traditional career paths, but when it comes to technical and creative roles things are much more complicated, and we need to take a different approach.

Our answer to this is quite arduous but very accurate. The process involves reviewing thousands of digital portfolios from graduating students. These portfolios are the equivalent of a final exam for traditional industries and provide an incredibly accurate dataset of how well the university or college has prepared their students for industry-level skills. Learn more about how we rank schools.

Understanding why you have dropped in the rankings?

There are several factors that can attribute to a shift in your place in The Rookies World School Rankings each year:

  • The number of entries from your school is lower than the year before;
  • Each year students from over 500 schools enter the awards. The more schools that are represented, the more the competition;
  • There may be fewer entries from your school featured in the "winners' pool". Remember, points are awarded for the following accolades: Being a Finalist, Runner-Up, selected for The Draft, and being an overall category winner.
  • Students confusing a portfolio piece for an entry. Creating and uploading a "project" to a portfolio is very different to entering a piece of work into a contest.
  • Overall standard across the board has changed. We can't say it enough: Students should enter their best work! Check our YouTube Channel for advice on what our judges are looking for.

9. Get on our School Directory

Choosing a school to learn creative media is a massive decision. Getting it wrong can cost time, money and future happiness. Prospective students use our search to find schools that interest them and speak to a team that can help.

By joining our school directory, you will leverage the power of our community, and our team, to help attract the right students to your school.

Everything you need to know about creating a Microsite on The Rookies can be found here.

10. Get Your School Certified

There are thousands of creative media schools in the world. We want to help make your school stand out from the crowd. To help, we award the very best schools with Rookies Certified Schools accolade. The accolade is a quality mark which identifies the schools that are best suited to prepare artists for a career in the Creative Industries.

We believe it's important for artists to know the school they're applying for will give them the skills they actually need to succeed in industry. There are too many schools not delivering on this objective and it's our goal to help artists boost their employability by making sure they attend a certified school.

Contact [email protected] for more information.

11. Advertising on The Rookies

The Rookies is a much needed support network for artists during their journey from novice through to the early stages of their professional career. This is their journey, and it is our responsibility to connect them with trusted companies, studios and schools that will help them become the artist we know they can be.

We run targeted and successful campaigns for the schools we partner with, which may be of interest for you too. If you have special news to share or put a spotlight on your school and students, please reach out to us at [email protected] or via this form here.