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12 Top Computer Science Competitions for High School Students

12 Top Computer Science Competitions for High School Students

Throughout high school students’ academic journey, participating in various competitions is crucial to stand out in college applications. For computer science enthusiasts, there are global and national-level computer science competitions to help students hone their skills, gain recognition, and even earn scholarships. Here are twelve top computer science competitions for high school students-- complete with dates, deadlines, and eligibility information.

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Our students consistently place in top competitions, achieving outstanding results. In 2024 alone, Aralia team ranks in the Top 10% worldwide, advances to the Final, and wins Gold Medal in the American Computer Science League competition!
1. American Computer Science League

The American Computer Science League, a non-profit organization that helps students in and outside the U.S. learn computer science, hosts an online contest for K-12 graders to test their computer science and programming skills! Four 2-month long ‘seasons’ are scattered throughout every school year between November and May. Each season has one contest with different topics.

Contest Topics:

  • Contest #1: computer number systems, recursive functions, ‘what does this program do?’
  • Contest #2: prefix/infix/postfix notation, bit-string flicking, LISP
  • Contest #3: Boolean algebra, data structures, FSAs, regular expressions
  • Contest #4: graph theory, digital electronics, assembly language

Eligibility: Elementary to High School Students


  • Contest #1: available Nov. 1, 2023; closes Sunday, January 14, 2024, @ 11:59 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time)
  • Contest #2: available Jan. 2, 2024; closes Sunday March 3, 2024 @ 11:59pm EST (Eastern Standard Time)
  • Contest #3: available Feb. 5, 2024; closes Sunday April 14, 2024 @ 11:59pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
  • Contest #4: available March 11, 2024; closes Sunday May 19, 2024 @ 11:59pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
2. USACO (USA Computer Olympiad)

Date: Dec 15-18, 2023

Eligibility: High School Students

The USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) 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.

3. Imagine Cup Junior 2024

Eligibility: Students aged 5-18

Registration Deadline: January 10, 2024 to May 10, 2024

Competition Link: https://imaginecup.microsoft.com/en-us/junior

Imagine Cup Junior is a global competition hosted by Microsoft designed to empower students to develop their technology skills and create solutions for real-world problems. Students work in teams to design an AI-based solution to a chosen challenge. This year, there are two categories for students to participate in:

  • Imagine Cup Junior: AI for Good – for students from ages 13 to 18 years old
  • Imagine Cup Junior: Tech for Good – for students from ages 5 to 12 years old.
4. Davidson Institute Fellows Scholarship

Eligibility: Profoundly gifted students under 18 who are also U.S. citizens residing in the United States, Permanent Resident of the United States residing in the United States, or stationed overseas due to active U. S. military duty.

Registration Date: February 14, 2024

The Davidson Institute Fellows Scholarship is a competition for profoundly gifted students under 18. It recognizes and awards students for their extraordinary accomplishments in various fields, including computer science. Upon submitting their research, two nominators with whom the student shares a professional relationship (i.e., not family or friends) and are familiar with the student’s work must also submit a nomination form.

5. IOI Informatics

Eligibility: Middle school and high school students around the world

Dates: September 1-8, 2024

Official Website: https://ioinformatics.org/page/contests/10

The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) is one of the world’s most prestigious computer science competitions. It involves students from multiple countries competing to solve complex algorithmic problems. Students must be selected from their country’s national computing contests to qualify for this international competition.

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6. Lockheed Martin Code Quest®

Eligibility: High School Students

Code Quest Competition Date: Feb 24, 2024

APAC Competition: March 23, 2024

Website Link: https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/who-we-are/communities/codequest.html

Lockheed Martin Code Quest® is an annual coding competition in which teams of high school students solve problems using programming languages such as Java, Python, C#, and/or C++ to complete a quest. Teams can participate in a virtual or in-person competition.

7. CyberPatriot

Eligibility: Middle and High School Students

Dates: To be announced

Website Link: https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, which aims to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other STEM disciplines. Teams of high school students compete to find and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities in virtual operating systems. Students can participate in one of the three divisions:

  • Open Division: High school students from schools, scouting units, Boys and Girls Clubs, home school programs, STEM programs, etc.
  • All Service Division: High school students in JROTC Programs / Civil Air Patrol units / Naval Sea Cadet Corps units
  • Middle School Division: Middle school students from schools, scouting units, Boys and Girls Clubs, STEM programs, etc.
8. Kaggle

Eligibility: Open to all, with specific competitions for students

Dates: Varies by competition

Website Link: https://www.kaggle.com/competitions

Kaggle is a platform for predictive modeling and analytics competitions. While many competitions are open to all; high school students can participate in those that allow open eligibility or focus on student participants.

9. PicoCTF

Eligibility: Middle and High School Students

Dates: Spring 2024

Website Link: https://picoctf.org/competitions/2024-spring.html

PicoCTF is a computer security game for middle and high school students. It consists of a series of challenges centered around a unique story that guides students through computer security concepts.

10. Congressional App Challenge

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

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

Every year, for the Congressional App Challenge, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives invite students to submit their original applications for a chance to win. Students can 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 with no more than four students per team. Students must register and submit their app by November 1st. Each winning app may be put on display in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year.

11. Swift Student Challenge

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

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

The Swift Student Challenge is created by Apple. Apple invites young coders worldwide to create an interactive scene in a Swift playground (Swift is a programming language developed by Apple) that can be experienced within 3 minutes. The competition is an opportunity to showcase their creativity and coding capabilities through app playgrounds, and earn real-world skills.

12. Stanford ACM ProCo

Eligibility: High School students in the Bay Area

Dates: 9 AM on May 4, 2024

Deadline to Sign Up: Wednesday, May 1

Website Link: https://www.stanfordacm.org/proco

Stanford ACM ProCo is a programming competition hosted by Stanford University in the style of the college-level ACM-ICPC. It is designed for high school students in the Bay Area to solve challenging programming problems within a set time frame.

These competitions provide excellent opportunities for students to enhance their coding skills, network with peers, and gain recognition in computer science. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced programmer, there’s a competition that can help you grow and showcase your talents!

13. Prepare for ACSL with Aralia Education

Aralia Education offers tailored courses and training programs to help students prepare for the ACSL contests. Our programs provide comprehensive coverage of the topics tested in ACSL, practice problems, and expert guidance to ensure students are well-prepared to excel in the competition.

Aralia's Courses
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ACSL Competition Prep

The program begins with two weeks of dedicated programming practice to provide participants with an opportunity to enhance their skills. Subsequently, each of the 12 ACSL topics is allocated a two-week period, allowing ample time for in-depth exploration and understanding. Prior to each contest, participants are presented with two programming problems that are intentionally unrelated to the current topics. These problems are designed to enhance the coder’s skills and foster comfort in tackling diverse challenges. 

American Computer Science League


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