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international high school competitions

Infographic: High School Competitions to Boost Your Profile

Achievement in academics through participating in high school competitions is an essential part of college applications. In this article, we will discuss timeline of all competitions around the world, and details about their eligibility and deadlines.

High school competitions are a great way to stand out in the application pool! In the college admission process, if your standardized test scores are entry passes to enter the college’s door, extracurricular activities are what make you stand out to the admissions officer. And more importantly, some extracurricular activities will make a stronger impression than the rest.

For example, a student who received an international prize in Physics will stand out more than a student who won a regional prize in a physics competition. In terms of extracurricular activities, Aralia Education believes participating in academic competitions is an advantage for every student. Participation and recognition showcase a student’s academic excellence, contest selection reflects their passion as well as their soft and/or hard skills.  

At Aralia Education Technology, we keep track of all international prestigious high school competitions and stay updated with deadlines and information. With our help, we want parents and students can easily navigate through the world of competitions and be able to make the best judgments on which competitions to attend. For students who want more practice and improvement in certain subjects as preparation for competitions, we also offer multiple courses from instructors and professors who are experts in similar fields.  

Feel free to save the infographic at the end of the article to keep track of all competitions for high school students happening throughout the year. Please keep in mind that the infographic provides a deadline for competitions; however, the actual preparation time can range longer, from 2 weeks to several months. If you want to quickly read through some of the top competitions internationally, keep reading.  

High School Competitions: Writing Competitions

New York Times Magazine has announced their high school competitions for the academic year 2020-2021. All competitions welcome middle school and high school students from across the world. Tens of thousands of students from around the world participate in their contests each year, from creating podcasts, writing editorials, to responding to the news. Since Aralia Education is only providing information about competitions for this year, here is a list of competitions that New York Times Magazine is having in 2021:  

STEM Writing Contest allows a student to choose an issue or question in science, technology, engineering, math, or health, then write an engaging 500-word explanation about the issue and why the issue is important to people.  

Editorial Contest invites students to write a concise editorial (450 words or fewer) about a topic that they care about using evidence from sources (both within and outside The New York Times)  

Podcast Challenge invites students to submit a podcast of five minutes or less about any topics they prefer 

Summer Reading Contest invites students to choose something in The Times that has sparked their interest, then tell us why. At the end of every week, judges from the Times newsroom pick their favorite responses, and the winner’s work will be published in NY Times.  

Deadline: January 31, 2023

In connection with the Library of Congress, River of Words invites students aged 5-19 to participate in an international poetry and art contest. River of Words is an international poetry and art contest for kindergarten through twelfth-grade students. The contest promotes awareness and appreciation of the natural world and encourages young people to express their thoughts and feelings about the environment through art and poetry. The contest is held annually and is open to students from around the world. It is organized by the Center for Environmental Literacy and the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, in partnership with the Library of Congress. Winners’ and finalists’ art and poetry will be published in our annual River of Words anthology and on our Web page.

Deadline: Early January – Early March, 2023

The Annual DNA Day Essay Contest is an annual competition organized by the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG). It is held in celebration of DNA Day, commemorating the DNA structure’s discovery in 1953 and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. The contest is open to high school students in the United States and worldwide. It aims to encourage students to learn about and think critically about the field of genetics and its potential to impact society.

2023 Prompt: 

In 2023, The American Society of Human Genetics celebrates its 75th anniversary! We want to kick off the festivities with you, the next generation of human geneticists. The theme of our celebrations is “One Humanity, Many Genomes.” In your essay, explain what “one humanity, many genomes” means to you. Please be sure to include:

  • Two examples of what makes our genomes unique
  • How advances in understanding our genomes impact our lives, such as current and future research into medical treatments.
STEM Competitions

In this category, we’ll point out some of the top national science competitions within STEM. For the full list of all competitions, please refer to the 8 best STEM high school competitions for students

Deadline: AMC 10 and AMC 12’s deadlines vary

Since first taking place in 1950, AMC has now become the leader in strengthening the mathematical capabilities of the next generation’s problem-solvers worldwide. There are dozens of participating countries, including nearly 3,000 schools in Canada, Britain, France, Singapore, South Korea, India, Belgium, Finland, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. 350,000 students and 6,000 schools register for the competition in the United States every year.

Local Exam: March 1-31, 2023

The American Chemistry Olympiad has been organized by the American Chemical Society (ACS) since 1984. It is an influential high school chemistry competition in the United States. It aims to stimulate and cultivate a new generation of young students’ passion for pursuing chemistry in higher education. As one of the top competitions in the United States, nearly 1,600 American young scientists participate every year. 

Competition Date: February 27, 2023

The Physics Bowl American High School Physics Competition is organized by the American Physics Teachers Association, the only academic institution in the U.S. specializing in popularizing and improving physics education. The association provides the latest physics frontier ideas and the richest physics education resources for American universities and high schools through conferences, forums, and competitions every year.  

First Contest: Dec 16-19

The USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) is a computer science competition for high school students in the United States. It is organized by the Computing Olympiad Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes computer science education and provides competitive programming opportunities for students. The USACO holds a series of online and on-site contests throughout the year, with the top performers eligible to participate in the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). The contests are designed to challenge students’ problem-solving and programming skills, and they cover a range of topics in computer science, including algorithms, data structures, and computational thinking.

The Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology (BEST) Robotics Competition is a annual robotics competition for middle and high school students in the United States. It is organized by BEST, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and inspire students to pursue careers in these fields. The competition challenges teams of students to design, build, and test robots to perform specific tasks, such as moving objects or navigating through an obstacle course. The teams are judged on the performance of their robots, as well as their engineering design process and presentation skills.

Business Competitions

Deadline: January 8, 2023

The Diamond Challenge is a global entrepreneurship competition for high school students. The Diamond Challenge provides a unique opportunity for 10,000+ teens to learn about entrepreneurship while putting their problem-solving ideas into action. High school students participate in a year-long program and develop ideas to address pressing challenges they’ve identified. They will work in teams to develop business ideas and plans. 

Deadline: June 5, 2023 – TBD

The Knowledge@Wharton High School (KWHS) Global Investment Competition is a virtual investing competition for high school students worldwide. It is organized by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is designed to teach students about financial markets, investment strategies, and business fundamentals. The competition is open to teams of students, and each team is given a virtual portfolio of $100,000 to invest in a simulated stock market. The teams are judged on the performance of their portfolios, and the winning team is the one with the highest returns. 

Deadline: February 15, 2023

The High School Fed Challenge is an educational program that promotes interest in economics among students in grades 9-12, regardless of their prior knowledge of economics. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York designates the competition theme and teams can choose any topic related to the theme for academic research. Bank judges select submissions for publication in the Journal of Future Economists, and all entering teams receive recognition. The competition encourages team collaboration and helps students develop critical thinking, creativity, writing, time management, and research skills to prepare them for academic success and future careers.

The 2022 – 2023 competition theme is Economics of Globalization

Social Science Competitions

Deadline: Early Bird: Jan 9 – Jan 31, 2023

The International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) is an annual competition for high school students interested in linguistics, the scientific study of language. It is organized by the International Linguistics Olympiad Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes linguistic education and research. The IOL is held in a different country each year and is open to teams of students from around the world. The competition challenges students to solve problems related to the structure, history, and diversity of human language. These problems may involve analyzing data, constructing grammars, or creating translations. The winners of the competition are recognized for their outstanding achievements in linguistic analysis and are eligible to receive cash prizes and other awards. In addition to the annual competition, the IOL also offers a range of resources and materials for students, including training programs and practice problems, to help them prepare for the competition.

Programming Competitions

Deadline: March 12 2023, 02:00 (UTC)

Google invites students to participate in Code Jam, a long-running global coding competition, where programmers of all levels put their skills to the test. The competition consists of a series of online rounds, with the top performers eligible to advance to the final round, which is held in person at Google’s headquarters. To participate in the competition, contestants must solve a series of algorithmic problems within a specified time limit, using a programming language of their choice.

Deadline: Varies

Kaggle Competition invites students to find and publish data sets, explore and build models in a web-based data-science environment. Students will work with other data scientists and machine learning engineers, and enter competitions to solve data science challenges. The winners of Kaggle competitions are recognized for their expertise and are often eligible to receive cash prizes and other awards. 

Dec 16-19: First Contest
Jan 27-30: Second Contest
Feb 24-27: Third Contest
Mar 24-27: US Open
May 25-June 3: Training Camp
Jul 15-21: EGOI 2023 (Sweden)
Aug 28-Sep 4: IOI 2023 (Hungary)

The competition consists of four increasingly difficult online exams, test students on algorithmic programming and problem-solving skills. You must score high enough on each exam to advance to the next level. Top-performing students are invited to participate in the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) training camp. They receive intensive instruction and a chance to compete for a spot on the USA International Olympiad in Informatics team.

Debate Competitions

Deadline: Varies

NSAD invites middle and high school students around the world to participate in the largest academic competition in the world to debate current events, voice their views, and share their stories. The NSDA national competition is held annually and is open to middle and high school students who are members of the NSDA. The competition includes various events, such as public speaking, original oratory, and extemporaneous speaking. Winners will be crowned champions in front of a live audience of thousands and tens of thousands more streaming the events online. 

Registration Deadline: February 11, 2023

The Harvard National High School Invitational Forensics Tournament, held in Cambridge each Presidents’ Day Weekend, is the largest and most prestigious high school speech and debate tournament in the country, providing opportunities for students to compete in Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Student Congress, and a variety of individual and duo speech events. In addition to in-person tournaments, the program also offers online tournaments in Middle School Congress, Beginner Public Forum, Open Public Forum, and Debate en Español. There is a total of 21 tournaments happening during the tournament date. Further details can be found in the Harvard Tabroom.

Tournament Date: February 18-20, 2023

Multidisciplinary Competitions

Deadline: October – November

International Academic Competitions organizes team and individual competitions in history, geography, science, the humanities, and other subjects for primary and secondary students of all ages. Their events are held in the United States, Asia, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other areas across the globe.  

The U.S. Academic Decathlon is a national educational program that promotes learning and academic excellence among high school students of all academic backgrounds. The program consists of ten academic events, including tests in art, economics, literature, mathematics, music, science, and social science, as well as speech, interview, and essay components. Each high school enters a team of nine students: 3 Honor students (3.80 – 4.00 GPA), 3 Scholastic students (3.20 – 3.799 GPA), and 3 Varsity students (0.00 – 3.199 GPA).

2023–2024 Academic Decathlon Theme: Technology and Humanity

The full subject area outlines will be posted on the U.S. Academic Decathlon website
on May 1

international high school competitions

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