Yes, although they are encouraged to find teammates from their school. Individual students and teams of two are also eligible for registration discounts as detailed here. If a school qualifies a whole team for the National Championships but only one or two students can go, then they are still welcome to represent the entire school at Nationals.
In the US Academic Bee (as well as in the National Science Bee and the National Humanities Bee), students in 6th grade or younger are required to compete in the Elementary School Division (even if they attend a middle school). The only exception to this is if fewer than 4 students in 6th grade or younger compete at any one regional site, though this is unlikely.
In the US Academic Bowl, any team that is composed entirely of students in 6th grade or younger can compete as an Elementary Division team (though is not technically required to). Students in 6th grade or younger (if they attend the same school) can compete on a team with 7th and/or 8th graders in the Bowl. Most tournaments will have a separate Elementary Division; if a tournament has fewer than 4 such teams, then they might need to play certain Middle School Division teams. If this happens, though, only matches against other Elementary Division teams will count officially, though.
The questions used are different at Regionals, but not at Nationals.
You do not need any prior experience, though you are recommended to review the rules and sample packets, at a minimum. You do not need any formal approval from your school to compete, and if this is an issue, we are happy to let your team play under a pseudonymous name, although USABB does need to know what school you are with when you register.
At the regional level, all teams in the Academic Bowl, including solo teams, need to plan on bringing a reader. Schools bringing multiple teams need to bring one reader for every two teams or fraction of that (e.g. 2 readers for 3 or 4 teams; 3 readers for 5 or 6 teams, etc.). Teams that fail to do so will incur a $50 penalty per reader required. Readers do not need prior experience, but must be at least 16 years old and be able to speak English clearly. Students who are coming on their own for the Bee are exempt from this requirement.
No, but you can possibly apply to receive a discount on the registration fees for the Academic Bowl if you do. The level of the discount will depend on the experience level/ability of the reader/scorekeeper, for which events they are able to read/scorekeep, and our staffing needs.
Tournament registration for both the Bee and the Bowl will typically close 8 days prior to an event (i.e. on the Friday, a week and a day before a Saturday tournament), but some tournaments may have field size caps – you can check the Regional Sites page to see if these apply. If those are hit, then registration may close earlier.
Each team itself is limited to 6 students at the regional level (though only 4 can play at one time; the others may substitute in during the breaks), but beyond that, there is no limit to the number of teams or students that one school can bring to a regional competition. At the National Championships, for teams that have qualified, there is no limit on team size.
No, all students are welcome, including students entirely new to academic competition. There is no intramural or online component to either competition.
No, you’re perfectly welcome to come for just one or the other, at both the Regional level and the National Championships (provided you qualified).