5 Academic Competitions to Help Your Student Get the Job of Their Dreams

Posted March 4, 2022 by Miranda Marshall

We’ve long known that participating in academic competitions helps students build knowledge and skills that they can carry with them long after they’ve graduated. Competing in a challenge can inspire a sense of internal motivation, teach young people how to better cope with stress and fear of failure, and introduce them to new passions and interests they never knew they had.

Additionally, there are many academic competitions that offer awards like scholarships, internships, and networking resources to help students land their dream career, start their own business, or pursue higher education opportunities.

With so many varied personal and professional benefits, we have compiled this list of five different academic competitions that can help set your student up for a life of professional fulfillment and success.



Ages 15-17

Free to Apply

Rise is an academic competition built to support community and globally minded students as they pursue a future in social entrepreneurship or activism. The program is open to high school students around the world.

Rise’s Global Winners receive comprehensive, personalized, lifetime support, although anyone who simply applies is automatically able join the Rise global network, which connects students to global leaders, career opportunities, and free online courses.

Awards for Global Winners include a fully funded, three-week residential summit, mentoring and career support, virtual and in-person leadership and educational courses, a four-year scholarship to any accredited university, and a technology package. The lifelong nature of Rise support also enables Global Winners to access graduate-level scholarships, program and internship matching services, and ongoing funding opportunities!


YouthBiz Stars Business Competition

Ages 6-21 in the state of Colorado

The YouthBiz Stars Business Competition is a Colorado-specific competition for young entrepreneurs. Students compete in age brackets: ages 6-11, ages 12-15, and ages 16-21, for the chance to win up to $5,000 and a partnership with a leading business owner from the Colorado community!

This local entrepreneurship competition is an amazing way for students to get an early start at running their own businesses, as well as learn from experienced entrepreneurs in their home state.

Conrad Challenge

Ages 13-18

The Conrad Challenge is a competition centered around purpose-driven innovation. This challenge calls upon students to use their creative and entrepreneurial abilities and apply science and technology concepts to help solve global issues.

Perfect for students with STEM-related interests, the Conrad Challenge provides step-by-step guidance and support from industry experts to help students build the essential collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills they will need in their careers.

The Conrad Challenge is comprised of three rounds: the investor pitch, the business plan, and the Innovation Summit and virtual finals. Teams must consist of two to five students; however, teammates can collaborate virtually and do not have to live in the same area – allowing students to make new friends with peers that share their academic interests!

All finalists are invited to the Innovation Summit event, where they can take part in workshops, tours, community sessions, live pitching, and other unique events. Winning teams receive scholarships, patent assistance, and other services to fine-tune their innovations and create companies or license their IP.


Modeling the Future Challenge

High School Math Students

Free to Register

The Modeling the Future Challenge combines math modeling, risk analysis, and data analysis into an academic competition – challenging students to predict the future!

Devised by The Actuarial Foundation, The Modeling the Future Challenge offers semi-finalist teams the opportunity to take part in mentoring with a professional actuary and gain firsthand experience with the Actuarial Process. Students with an interest in mathematics, finance, economics, or statistics may find the challenge particularly helpful in introducing them to new career options.

Winners take home their share of the $60,000 scholarship pool, and all finalist teams leave with lasting connections in the actuarial career field – which boasts a six-figure median pay and a projected job growth of 24% over the next decade!



High School Students – with Some Challenges and Events Open to College Students.

Nationally recognized for their alignment with US Curriculum Standards, DECA runs competitive events in the career clusters of marketing, business management and administration, finance, and hospitality and tourism.

DECA’s evaluates students with both a written component, such as an exam or report, and an interactive component with an industry professional serving as a judge. With a central goal of motivating students to achieve career and college readiness, DECA is a great fit for achievers in all business sectors.

DECA runs various challenges with different objectives and awards, so you can find the best fit for your student. Scholarships are also available through DECA.