Competition Free? Difficulty Team/Individual Location Date Prizes
USACO Yes Medium - Hard Individual Online December, 2018 - March, 2019 No
UNCA HSPC No Easy - Medium Team Asheville April 6, 2019 Yes
CofC HSPC Yes Easy - Medium Team Charleston February 22, 2019 Yes
ACM@UVa No Easy - Hard Team Charlottesville April 13, 2019 Yes
Virginia Tech HSPC Yes Medium - Hard Team Online December 8, 2018 Yes
Google Code-In Yes Easy - Hard Individual Online October - December, 2018 Yes
Google Code Jam Yes Easy - Hard Individual Online March 2019 Cash!
picoCTF Yes Easy - Hard Team Online September 28 - October 12, 2018 Cash!
RTP HSPC Yes Easy - Medium Team Cary 2019 No


As one of the most well-known free individual online programming competitions in the nation, USA Computing Olympiad has became more and more popular in the past several years (and unfortunately, harder and harder). It offers four divisions of different difficulties: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum, and each participant starts out in bronze and proceed their way up. 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).

UNC Asheville HSPC

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

2018 and 2017 problems


The College of Charleston High School Programming Competition is an annual contest hosted by College of Charleston (and this is their 37th contest!). 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. Panther Creek placed 4th in last year's competition, but was promoted to 3rd since NCSSM placed both 1st and 3rd.


The University of Virginia High School Programming Competition claims to be the largest in the mid-Atlantic region.

Virginia Tech HSPC

The Virginia Tech High School Programming Contest is a highly competitive online team contest in its 4th year of operation. The competition is five hours long, and prizes are given to the top three teams.

Google Code-In

Google Code-In is an interesting 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 October to December. T-shirts and hoodies are typical prizes, and top finalists also earn a grand prize trip to Google Headquarters.

Google Code Jam

Perhaps the most competitive and famous programming contest in the world, the Google Code Jam is a competition hosted by Google to search for talented programmers to hire (participants are mostly adults). Top prize is $15,000, and limited edition Code Jam t-shirts are given out to the top 1,000 people.


pico Capture the Flag (picoCTF) is an annual online competition held by Carnegie Mellon. The competition is highly competitive and involves all areas of computing, ranging from image decoding to web exploitations. Each school can send an unlimited number of 1-5 people teams. Top prize is $5000 and a trip to Carnegie Mellon, and top ten get rewards.


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 such as Google, Zillow, and even the Department of Homeland Security. 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