Competition Free? Difficulty Team/Individual Location Date Prizes
USACO Yes Easy - Advanced Individual Online December - March No
ACSL No Medium Individual At School December - May Yes
UNCA HSPC No Easy - Medium Team Asheville April 14th, 2018 Yes
CofC HSPC Yes Medium - Advanced Team Charleston February 23rd, 2018 Yes
ACM@UVa No Medium - Advanced Team Charlottesville March or April 2018 Yes
Virginia Tech HSPC Yes Advanced Team Online December 9th, 2017 Yes
Google Code-In Yes Easy - Advanced Individual Online November 28th, 2017 - January 17th, 2018 Yes
Google Code Jam Yes Advanced Individual Online March 2018 Cash!
Kaggle Yes Advanced Individual Online Varies Cash!
RTP HSPC Yes Easy Team Cary May 26th, 2018 Yes


As one of the most well-known free individual online programming competitions in the nation, USA Computing Olympiad is the contest that we will focus on throughout the year. It offers four divisions for different skill levels: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The bronze division typically does not require any knowledge of algorithms; a basic understanding of programming is sufficient. Problems in higher division gradually increase in difficulty and often demand a strong understanding of algorithms to solve. Four contests are held between December and March, and the top performing contestants will be offered an opportunity to participate in the summer training camp (from which the US Team for the IOI is selected).


The American Computer Science League is also a widely-recognized competition. Each school can send a team for each of its four divisions (Senior, Intermediate, Junior, Classroom). The competition consists of short answer tests and programming problems. The short answer test will be administered here at the school while a 72-hour window is given to complete the programming problems at home. Top scoring schools will be invited to the All-Star Contest (prizes include: software subscriptions, Kindles, e-books/books, and even 100 Chromebooks). Note that this competition is paid based on the number of divisions a school registers for.

UNC Asheville HSPC

UNC Asheville will be holding its second annual high school competition this year. Teams can include up to 4 people. Last year, Panther Creek placed 1st in the competition (and this is what inspired us to form the programming team).

Their website is not updated yet, but here is last year's page. Poster.


The College of Charleston High School Programming Competition is an annual contest hosted by College of Charleston. It has attracted high schools around the Carolinas region and is relatively well-known. Each school can send an unlimited number of 3-people teams. Registration is free, and travel grants of up to $250 are offered. Only Python and Java are allowed in this contest.


The University of Virginia High School Programming Competition claims to be the largest in the mid-Atlantic region. Each school can send three teams of four for $40 per team. Prizes for last year include Raspberry Pi's, board games, and quadcopters.

Virginia Tech HSPC

The Virginia Tech High School Programming Contest is a highly competitive online team contest in its 4th year of operation. Each team will need to find a place to meet to compete. The competition is five hours long, and prizes may be given to the top three teams.

Google Code-In

Google Code-In is a pretty special contest that gives participants a chance to take on real-world open source projects from organizations like Wikimedia and Ubuntu. Registration is free and the contest lasts from November 28th to January 17th. T-shirts and hoodies are typical prizes and two top finalists earn a grand prize trip to Google Headquarters.

Google Code Jam

Probably the most competitive and famous programming contest in the world, the Google Code Jam is a competition by Google to search for talented programmers to hire (adults can participate too). Although it is virtually impossible for high schoolers to win, it is a good experience nonetheless. Top prize is $15,000 and limited edition Code Jam t-shirts are given out to the top 1,000 people.


Kaggle hosts advanced data science and machine learning competitions for a generous amount of cash prize (ranging from $5,000 to $1,500,000!). The contests are often sponsored by companies. However, these competitions opens to adults as well and are highly competitive.

RTP High School Programming Competition

See this page for details.

Got another competition?

If you know another competition suitable for high school students, please let us know! Email