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stem competitions for high school students

11 STEM Competitions for High School Students

For high school students who're pursuing STEM fields for college, participating in STEM competitions is crucial for college application. Among many international and American STEM competitions, what are the ones worth paying attention to?

University applications are getting more and more competitive for students, especially those aiming for the best universities in the US. Furthermore, with the prevalence of the “test-optional” policy this year across all universities, standardized test results have been gradually used less when evaluating an application. Therefore, many students are concerned about how to leverage their strengths and express their potential through other application materials.    

For students who’re interested in pursuing STEM majors in college, Aralia Education suggests students consider participating in STEM competitions such as: mathematics, physics, and chemistry competitions because those not only give you a door to further learn about your topics of interest, but also add extra points to your application achievements.  

Among many international and American competitions, what are the ones worth paying attention to? Let us take a look today! 


Since having first taken place in 1950, AMC has now become the leader in strengthening the mathematical capabilities of the next generation’s problem-solvers around the world. 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. 

There are 350,000 students and 6,000 schools that register for the competition in the United States every year. 

AMC 8:

  • Last day to register: Jan 11, 2024
  • Competition: Jan 18 – 24, 2024

AMC 10 and AMC 12:

  • Last day to register: Nov 3, 2024 (10/12 A) – Nov 9, 2024 (10/12 B) (based on last year’s deadline)
  • Competition: Nov 8, 2024 (A) – Nov 14, 2024 (B) (based on last year’s deadline)

Official website: https://www.maa.org/math-competitions 

Read The Comprehensive Guide to AMC on our website for more information about the competition and deadlines.

HiMCM is an international mathematics competition organized by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP). Contestants work in teams to use applied mathematics knowledge and provide solutions to real problems through modeling. The competition aims to provide students with opportunities to use their strengths in competitions as team members and improve their problem-solving and writing skills. 

Official website: https://www.comap.com/highschool/contests/himcm/index.html 

Competition Date:November 1-14, 2024

Registration Date: November 1, 2024 at 2:00 pm EST (based on last year’s deadline) 

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students and is held annually in a different country each year. Among all the competitions, IMO has the highest entry threshold and is the most difficult, since it attracts the most intelligent students worldwide. If students want to apply to the top 30 American universities, it will be very beneficial to have a national competition award in their application. 

Competition Date: July 10-22, 2024


The American Chemistry Olympiad has been organized by the American ChemicaI 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 students participate every year.

Registration Deadline: January 19, 2024

2024 USNCO Program Schedule:

  • Mar 1-24 Local Exam
  • April 13-21 National Exam
  • June 2-14 Study Camp
  • July 22-31 International Chemistry Olympiad

UKChO is hosted by the Royal Society of Chemistry, one of the most influential chemical academic organizations globally, and UKChO has a recorded history of 50 years. Under RSC’s leadership, a 175-year-old non-profit organization, UKChO has developed into the UK’s leading, historical, and influential high school chemistry competition. 

Registration Timeline: September 20, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Formerly known as the Australian National Chemistry Quiz (ANCQ) is organized by the Royal Australian Institute of Chemistry (RACI). The ANCQ aims to promote interest in chemistry and the role of chemists in our society. The competition is open internationally for students interested in the exciting and stimulating chemistry process.

There are four age levels at which students can compete:

  • Junior – Years 7 & 8
  • Intermediate – Years 9 & 10
  • Senior – Year 11
  • Final – Year 12

Contest Time: August 20-22, 2024


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. 

Registration Deadline: February 26, 2024.


Imagine Cup is an annual competition hosted by Microsoft, inviting student developers from around the world to submit their original technology solutions in different categories. In 2021, the categories are Earth, Education, Healthcare, and Lifestyle. Examples of winning entries are prototype applications to monitor blood glucose for Type 1 diabetes, and mixed reality innovation that allows engineers worldwide to be holographically “teleported” into a workspace when needed.

Deadline: January 24, 2024

Swift Student Challenge is created by Apple. Apple invites young coders around the world to create an interactive scene in a Swift playground (Swift is a programming language developed by Apple) that can be experienced within 3 minutes. 

Official website: https://developer.apple.com/wwdc23/swift-student-challenge/

Deadline: April 19, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline) 

In this competition, students are invited to code and build an app of their choice. Students are allowed to use any programming language and platform, but the app must have some degree of functionality to be
competitive. Students can register as individuals or teams, but no more than 4 students per team. Students must register and submit their app by November 1st.

Official website: https://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/students/rules/

Deadline: November 1, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline)


For students who want to participate in the stem competitions, especially math competitions, we will provide practice exams for the American Mathematical Competition AMC and the American Chemistry Olympiad with real questions and answers from prior year tests. 

If you need additional classes outside of regular class time to practice, consider signing up for one of Aralia Education’s AMC 10 and AMC 12 Preparation Programs. The AMC 10 program provides a total of 10 lessons, 90 minutes per lesson, and 1 lesson/week. The AMC 12 program provides a total of 9 lessons, 90 minutes per lesson, and 1 lesson/week. Our teacher has a master’s degree in mathematics from Tufts University, specializing in mathematical analysis, abstract algebra, geometry, and topology. During his time in university, he was admitted as an honor student by MIT and participated in many conceptual mathematic lectures and linguistics seminars at MIT.   

Due to high demand, our class only admits 4-7 students. Qualified students who show passion and potential in mathematics should register to take the course. If this sounds like you, please read more information about course registration below.   

AMC10 AMC 12 Preparation Class


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