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10 Best Computer Science Competitions for High School Students

Feeling up for a challenge and want to put your computer science skills to the test? We have a list of the best CS competitions which will push you to innovate, solve compelling problems - all the while giving you a great platform to showcase your skills. Competitions are a great way to gain recognition in high school - see how you stack up against your peers nationally or globally!


They also look really good on your college applications (whether you win or not).


Thanks, but no thanks? Check out our piece outlining some of the best CS summer programs for high school students.


You can also check out our research programs which build key skills to help you perform your best in competitions and customize your learning pathway so that you can produce stellar research projects through mentorship by top PhDsLumiere – which had 2100 students apply this past year. Over 100 students do computer science research with us!


10 Best Computer Science Programs for High School Students

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: Must be a middle or high school student in a participating congressional district and must also be residents of such district. Teams may not have more than 4 members.

Prize: Winning apps are eligible to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building and featured on the House of Representatives' website. Winners are also invited to attend a reception on Capitol Hill and may be awarded additional sponsor prizes.

Registration: Open now for 2022. Register here.

Competition dates: Competition deadline is November 1, 2022


Members of the U.S. House of Representatives host this district-wide Congressional App Challenge for middle school and high school students. The idea of this competition is to encourage students to problem-solve for real-world challenges through coding.


Location: Virtual

Eligibility: Must be an elementary, middle or high school student. Please check if your school has registered for the competition.

Prize: Certificates and cash prizes (amount not disclosed).

Registration deadline: ACSL is now accepting registrations for the 2022-2023

contest year. The registration deadline is December 31, 2022.

During registration, contestants have the option to purchase previous year’s study materials.

Competition dates: There are multiple rounds of competitions. The current round closes March 5, 2023, at 11:59pm EST.


ACSL organizes computer programming and computer science contests for K-12 schools, organizations and local groups. Last year, over 700 teams in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia participated. ACSL offers multiple divisions, providing an appropriate challenge for students of varying ages and abilities. Each season is divided into four contests, testing students on fundamental concepts in computer science, ranging from Number Systems to Boolean Algebra to Digital Electronics. In the upper divisions, each contest also includes a problem to solve by programming using Python, C++ or Java.


Location: Virtual / to be announced.

Eligibility: Must be a high school student.

Prize: Opportunity to advance to IOI and other international olympiads.

Registration deadline: To be announced. Please go through the training opportunities.

Competition dates: Between March 25, 2023 and March 28, 2023 (tentatively, based on previous year’s schedule). To refer to the 2021-2022 competition schedule, please visit here.

This is the national round for the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). The IOI is one of five international science olympiads. The primary goal of the IOI is to stimulate interest in informatics (computing science) and information technology. UNESCO and IFIP are patrons.

The contest consists of 2 days of computer programming/coding and problem-solving of algorithmic nature. The International Olympiad in Informatics is one of the most prestigious computer science competitions in the world.

USA teams attending the IOI have shown steady and consistent improvement in their performance over the years, and the USA now regularly places among the top countries attending the IOI.

Note: Winners from this and other, similar national rounds attend the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI).


Location: Maryland

Eligibility: Must be a middle school or high school student. Students in JROTC programs each have their own division.

Prize: Scholarship money (exact amount varies). Top teams will have all expenses covered for the final round in Maryland.

Registration: Registration for 2022-2023 has closed on October 5, 2022. For 2023-24, registration will open in April 2023.

There is a registration fee of $205 for Open Division high school teams with discounts for early registration by July 1, 2023.

Competition dates: From October 2022 to March 2023. Please see the schedule here.


CyberPatriot's National Youth Cyber Defense Competition is the world's largest cybersecurity competition and is open to all schools and approved youth organizations.

The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Through a series of online competition rounds, teams are given a set of virtual operating systems and are tasked with finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities while maintaining critical services.


Location: Virtual

Eligibility: Must identify as female and be between 8 and 18 years old (there are divisions for different age groups). All students must identify as female, trans, nonbinary or gender nonconforming. Students who are assigned male at birth and self-identify as male cannot enter the competition. Teams are composed of 1 to 5 students. Students can only join 1 team. There is no limit on the number of mentors per team.

Prize: Awards of up to $30,000 are available in cash and prizes.

Registration:Registration: Opened on October 11, 2022, and the deadline is March 22, 2023. Register here.

Competition dates: Submission deadline is April 18, 2023. Please see the schedule here.


Every year, girls across the globe step up to solve problems in their community with technology through Technovation Girls. More than 39,000 girls from over 100 countries have created apps to solve community problems.


Location: Hosted in different cities every year.

Eligibility: Must be living in the U.S. and attending their last year of secondary school (regardless of citizenship). Students who are U.S. citizens living abroad may also qualify.

Prize: Scholarships and prizes of close to $3.1 million.

Registration: 2023 Application closed on November 9, 2022. The 2024 application will open June 1, 2023, and close in early November 2023.

Competition dates: March 8, 2023, to March 15, 2023. For the entire schedule, please see here.


Regeneron STS is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science competition for high school seniors, providing an important forum for original research that is recognized and reviewed by a national jury of professional scientists. The competition is for individual participants only.


Location: Hosted in different cities every year.

Eligibility: Must be in grades 9-12 or equivalent must compete in an Intel ISEF affiliated science fairs around the world and win the right to attend the Intel ISEF.

Prize: Scholarships and prizes of close to $5 million are available for winning teams in 22 science categories.

Registration: Different deadlines depending on the target affiliated fair. Please find the list here. Registration for 2023 may not have opened.

Competition dates: May 2023 (tentatively, based on 2022 schedule)

ISEF is a program of Society for Science & the Public (the Society) and is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Only about 1,800 students qualify from over 10,000 applicants from over 75 countries. Contestants are selected from regional, district, and state ISEF affiliated fairs. Related to computer science, the competition categories include: Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Engineering Mechanics (Mechanical Engineering), Mathematics, and Earth and Environmental Sciences.


Location: Germany (for 2023)

Eligibility: Age group 1: 10 - 13; Age group 2: 14-20. A team consists of two to four members. For detailed eligibility criteria, please see here.

Prize: Varying amounts of prize money.

Registration: Deadline to register for 2023 is November 14, 2023. Register here.

Competition dates: June 24, 2023 - June 25, 2023. Detailed schedule is available here.


RoboRAVE is an international competition in which self-designed robots made by students compete against each other. This event focuses on having fun while learning, sharing and teamwork. It is an international competition with participation open not just for groups from the region but from the entire world. Founded in Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA), RoboRAVE is hosted in many countries on five different continents.


Location: Virtual

Eligibility: Only high school students living in the U.S.

Prize: $1,000 prize money to implement the project. Additionally, if the situation permits, finalists are invited to a four-day all-expenses paid trip to MIT's campus, where they tour labs, present their research to MIT students and faculty, and hang out with members of the THINK team.

Registration:Registration: Registrations for 2023 are open now and close by January 01, 2023.

Competition dates: January 2023. For the entire schedule, please visit here.


Rather than requiring students to have completed a research project before applying, THINK caters to students who have done extensive research on the background of a potential research project and are looking for additional guidance in the early stages of their project. The program is organized by a group of undergraduates at MIT.


Location: Hosted in different cities every year.

Eligibility: Must be in grades 7 to 12. Detailed eligibility criteria are provided here.

Prize: Trophies and certificates. Details of any other prizes are not known.

Registration: To be announced for 2023-24.

Competition dates: To be announced for 2023-24.


The Technology Student Association invites middle and high school students who have a proven aptitude in STEM to participate in various challenges. Activities include coding, data science and analytics, virtual reality and game design - to name a few.



If you are really feeling up for a challenge, brace yourself for the next competition because you’ll be up against a lot of college students for this one!


Location: Virtual

Eligibility: Must be 16 or older. You’re welcome to imagine any solution that you’re passionate about but must include a Microsoft Azure component and take into consideration diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. Maximum four (4) members per team

Prize: Each winning team is awarded $100,000, as well as mentorship from Microsoft experts and grant money.

Registration + submission deadline: December 2022, please register here.

Be sure to complete the student-focused trainings to help you through the competition!

Competition dates: After the submission, there are multiple rounds. The schedule is available here.


The Imagine Must be in grades 7 to 12. Detailed eligibility criteria are provided competition seeks to honor the most innovative, accessible, ground-breaking, and appealing software built with Microsoft tools and technology.


The Competition may be structured differently based on the country/region you are

representing. Please make sure to read your local country/region competition rules.


If you're looking for a real-world internship that can help boost your resume while applying to college, we recommend Ladder Internships!

Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! 

The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas. The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 

The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism and more.

You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!


Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!


Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience.


Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 


The AI Fellowship program will have students pursue their own independent AI research project. Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the field of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here


Location: Virtual

Cost

  • $1,790 for the 10-week AI Scholars program

  • $4,900 for the 12-15 week AI Fellowship 

  • $4,700 for both

  • Need-based financial aid is available. You can apply here

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. Applications for fall cohort have closed September 3, 2023. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort

Program selectivity: Moderately selective

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 


Another excellent complement to competitions – Lumiere Research Scholar Program


Competitions go hand-in-hand with great research skills and projects. Great research skills often groom you to problem-solve during competitions and, they both look really good on college applications for entirely different reasons!


If you are passionate about research, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.




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