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The National High School Data Science Competition - Should You Participate?

If you’re a high school student interested in AI & data science, you should consider participating in competitions. They are a great way to build and showcase your skills, network with like-minded peers and industry experts, and gain recognition for your talents. Data Science competitions add value to your college applications and show your willingness to go beyond classroom learnings.

One such competition that can be a great value add and is designed specifically for high school students with an interest in AI and data science is The National High School Data Science Competition (NDSC). We have covered this competition in detail to help you understand if it is a good fit for you and how you can take part! 

What is The National High School Data Science Competition (NDSC)?

The National High School Data Science Competition is one of the world’s largest AI & data science competitions for high school students created and presented by organizations like Veritas AI and Harvard Undergraduate Open Data Project. Through the competition, you can submit projects that showcase your data science skills and compete on an international platform!

How is the competition structured?

NDSC offers two competition tracks - Data Science Track and AI Project Track. Here is what you need to know about them: 

  1. Data Science Track - The objective of this track is to analyze a dataset to predict the ‘college happiness score’ as accurately as possible by creating a model based on the data provided here. You will also need to submit a write-up explaining how you created your model. Students will be evaluated on the basis of the code they submit, how accurate the predictions are, and how explanatory and concise their write-up is. You can find more guidelines here Cost: Free  Location: Virtual Eligibility: High school students Note - this track only allows individual participants and teams cannot participate. 

  2. AI Project Track - This is an open category, where you can submit a project of your choice (research paper, model, software etc) that you have created/implemented using AI (either technical or not). Your submission must be in one of the categories: 

  • AI & Art: You can focus on a range of topics that mix AI with creative processes like art generation, music, fashion, content writing, social media, and more.

  • AI & Social Impact: You can focus on socially relevant topics in different fields like environment, education, politics, mental health, and more.

  • AI & Business: Leveraging AI to explore innovations in finance, start-up opportunities, and more.

  • AI & Healthcare/Biology: Leveraging AI for medicine, healthcare, or at the intersection of computational biology.

  • AI & Gaming: Leveraging AI to create games, creating responsive and adaptive character behavior, analyzing chances of winning, and more. For this track, you can only submit one project for any of the categories mentioned. Students will be evaluated based on the originality of the project, relevancy to the category they are competing in, potential for real-world impact, and use of AI and its concepts. You can find more details on the submission guidelines here Cost: Free Location: Virtual

Can I participate if I am a beginner? 

Yes! The competition is open to high school students who are beginners and do not have any prior experience with data science or AI. The competition recommends having either statistics or coding experience to make it easier, but it is not a requirement. 

What are some skills that I will get to shape as a participant?

As a participant in the National High School Data Science Competition, you will work on projects that help you build data science and AI skills. Some of the things you will learn are: 

  • Training and testing models using sample datasets 

  • Creating predictive models 

  • Creating softwares/models/research papers from scratch

  • Writing short reports that substantiate your findings and learnings

What are some prizes up for grabs? 

The National Data Science Competition has prizes starting from the third place (for each of the competition tracks). Winners in the AI project track will be for each category. While there is no exact number given, there are prizes up to $10,000 in data science scholarships available, including enrolment in a Veritas AI program and working with the Harvard Undergraduate Open Data Project on a publishable research project. 

What is the competition timeline? 

The competition application is now open for students to submit their projects. The last day to send in your submission is January 19, 2024. Shortlisted students across the tracks and categories will be notified on 7 February and invited to present their work live to a panel of judges from Harvard, Columbia, Yale, and MIT on 21 February, 2024.

Timeline of the National High School Data Science Competition
Timeline of the National High School Data Science Competition

Should you participate in the  National High School Data Science Competition?

If you are interested in AI & data science and are keen on building projects from scratch, you should definitely consider applying to NDSC. 

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider participating in this competition! 

  1. It’s completely free of cost: The competition is completely free to participate in, making it within reach of students from all backgrounds. Given that it is completely virtual, there are no additional costs involved either. 

  2. You will gain early exposure to real-world projects: Participating in the NDSC gives you a chance to work on impactful, real-world projects whether it’s the data science track or the AI project track. You also get to work on projects (in the AI track) that align with your larger interests! 

  3. The competition is a huge value add for college applications: Showcasing these projects on your college applications, whether you win or not, shows your passion for the field and ability to pursue it. 

  4. There are lots of prizes up for grabs: The competition offers prizes up to $10,000 in data science scholarships and publishing opportunities with the Harvard Undergraduate Open Data Project for winners. This opens up many opportunities for you and allows you to further your interests in AI & data science under the guidance of experienced mentors and professionals. 

  5. You will gain access to networking opportunities: The competition is created and structured by data science organizations, including Veritas AI and Harvard Undergraduate Open Data Project. This gives you a chance to network with an impressive panel of judges who study/work in the field and can help you gain exposure. 

If you are interested in working on 1-1 AI & data science projects, consider applying to Veritas AI! 

VAI logo
VAI logo

Veritas AI is founded by Harvard graduate students. Through the programs, you get a chance to work 1-1 with mentors from universities like Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and more to create unique, personalized projects. In the past year, we had over 1000 students learn AI & ML with us. You can apply here!

Manas is a publication strategy associate at Lumiere Education. He studied public policy and interactive media at NYU and has experience in education consulting.

Image Source - Veritas AI Logo



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