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.
What will be covered in the article?
High School Competitions: Writing Competition
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 (Feb 2 – March 9, 2022)
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 (March 2 – April 13, 2022)
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 (April 6 to May 18, 2022)
Podcast Challenge invites students to submit a podcast of five minutes or less about any topics they prefer
- Summer Reading Contest (June 10 to August 19)
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 favorite responses, and the winner’s work will be published on NY Times.
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.
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, which commemorates the discovery of the structure of DNA 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Every year, 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.
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 dedicated to promoting computer science education and providing 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.
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.
The Knowledge@Wharton High School (KWHS) Global Investment Competition is a virtual investing competition for high school students around the world. 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.
Social Science Competitions
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.
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.
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.
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.
International Academic Competitions organizes the 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.