I read about two GIS/geography competitions recently. One is hosted by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, URISA. It has undergrad/grad students submit papers and community college/certificate students submit posters. The other is from the Royal Geographical Society and has older students submit essays (which can include graphics) and younger ones submit map or diagrams.
Why? Why are the four year degree folks and older students expected to write and the two year/certificate folks and younger students expected to create graphics? Could they all write essays? Sure. Could they all create graphics? Sure. So, why the dividing line?