Computer Science Competitions for High School Students

Computer Science Competitions for High School Students

Computer Science Competitions for high school students

Competition for selective university admissions in the US and UK is fierce. Participating in international computer science competitions is undoubtedly an effective way to add points to your resume. Having experience in these recognized competitions show future admissions officers that you can work in a team, solve complicated problems with excellent critical thinking skills and you have good time management.

There are several computer science competitions for high school students and here we have picked out some of the highly recognized ones.



Kaggle is the world’s largest machine learning community, with more than 1 million registered users from 194 countries. It was founded in Melbourne in 2010 and later acquired by Google.

Kaggle started out as a Data Mining platform to solve the toughest problems quickly and efficiently. Most of the competitions are published by companies or researchers, who initiate these competitions in the hope to update data, problems and collect solutions from the world in the form of competition and rewards. For the competition organizer, he can easily review the most effective solutions to his problems, and for the participants, it is not only a test of their own abilities, but also a practical experience. 

For high school students interested in computer science competitions, Kaggle provides a unique opportunity to not only test their abilities but also gain practical experience by participating in real-world problem-solving challenges and potentially earning recognition for their solutions.


Why join Kaggle?

For high school students applying to a data science related major, Kaggle provides real-world scenarios problems for students to solve.

In addition to providing a variety of high-quality computer science competitions for high school students, there are also community discussions under each competition (including information sharing, Q&A, and post-match top solution sharing), where everyone has the opportunity to participate in the project, no matter your background. Whatever it is, you can find something you have the knowledge and choose a suitable project to participate in. Make use of your professional advantages, make contributions to the entire team, enrich your resume and lay a good foundation for your future study.


Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)

“Intel International Science and Engineering Competition” (Intel ISEF), known as the “World Cup” of the global youth science competition, is the world’s largest science and technology competition for high school students in grades 9-12. Tens of thousands of students from all over the world apply to the competition every year. But only about 1,800 students from more than 75 countries are qualified. They compete to win scholarships and prizes totaling nearly $5 million in 22 science categories and 1 team project category.

For high school students interested in computer science competitions, ISEF offer categories in: Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Engineering Mechanics (Mechanical Engineering), Mathematics, and Earth and Environmental Sciences.


Why join ISEF?

For both science and social science students, ISEF is the most valuable international competition. For the winners, in addition to the high prize money, they can also participate in the Nobel Prize Ceremony of that year. Records in the past few years have shown that the winners of ISEF awards mostly end up in the top universities such as Harvard, MIT, Caltech and Stanford.

ISEF is suitable for students who are confident in the level of their work and can withstand the pressure. It is called the “Olympics” of the science competition for middle school students.


The United States of America Computing Olympiad (USACO)

USACO (American Informatics Olympiad) is a computer programming competition for middle school students in the United States, first held in 1992. The competition accepts Python, Java, C++, Pascal and C as the participating programming languages.


Why join USACO?

USACO is a rare learning opportunity. Through pre-competition preparation, students can greatly enhance their ability to use their programming skills to solve complicated problems. In addition, USACO allows you to participate online, and it also allows participants to participate multiple times a year, and the level that has been achieved can also be retained and become the starting point for future competitions.

At present, USACO is a very popular competition in the United States and it attracts students from all over the world.


The Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS)

The STS, known as the “Little Nobel Prize”, started in 1942. It is the oldest and most prestigious science competition in the United States, offering high school students the opportunity to share their original research with a national jury of professional scientists.

Every year, more than 1,800 high school seniors from all over the world come here to take part in the competition in Science, Mathematics or Engineering. Participants need to complete experiments and reports independently to qualify in the Regeneron STS competition, competing for nearly $3.1 million in prize money.


Why join STS?

Many of the students who have participated in the competition have made extraordinary contributions to science and have received a number of the world’s most distinguished Science and Mathematics honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes. Students who receive this honor not only manage to showcase their talents, but also gain the opportunity to be favored by top universities in the future.

The top 40 students will have the opportunity to present their work to the public and, at the same time, engage in face-to-face interactions with renowned scientists and government leaders.

The only limiting factor that will deter someone from joining is that STS is only open to American students or students studying in American schools.


Microsoft Imagine Cup

The Imagine Cup is an annual computer science competition sponsored and hosted by Microsoft and is considered the top competition in technology and software design. Since 2003, the scale of the competition has gradually expanded. Today, more than 1.75 million students from 190 countries and regions have participated. It is an an excellent opportunity for high school students interested in computer science competitions.

This computer science competition is divided into two categories – Software Design and Game Design. Participants in software design are required to use Microsoft tools and techniques to create an application that solves one of today’s most intractable problems. Game design contestants were asked to create a game to illustrate the theme of the Imagination Cup.


Why join Microsoft Imagine Cup?

First, it’s a global student technology competition. Here, you can get to know those peers who share the same vision and hobbies as you. Second, this is a technically and business-oriented competition. Through the competition, everyone can showcase their innovation and hands-on ability to potential universities in the US.

The best students can get out of this competition – Winners get a chance to receive training and mentorship from Microsoft experts!



Next, you may be interested in a case study on one of our computer science students who got accepted to Northwestern University.

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