What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

4 Biology Academic Competitions for High Schoolers

Do you have a plan for applying to college?

With our free chancing engine, admissions timeline, and personalized recommendations, our free guidance platform gives you a clear idea of what you need to be doing right now and in the future.

Traditionally, many students pursue a college degree in Biology to become a doctor or do research in the biological sciences. Recently, Biology majors have been prime candidates for biotech companies. Regardless of which career direction you choose, if you’re thinking about pursuing a degree in biology in college, it might be helpful to show some demonstrated interest in the subject while you’re still in high school.


Why Should You Enter a Biology Academic Competition?


Academic Competitions centered around biology are a great way for students to show their interest in biology and demonstrate their mastery in biological subjects to colleges, which could really make you stand out in your college applications. In addition, you could gain valuable team-building and teamwork skills.


To learn more about biology academic competitions that high schoolers can enter, keep reading.


Biology Academic Competitions for High Schoolers


1. National Ocean Sciences Bowl


Oceanic and Aquatic Sciences are a less popular field in the biological sciences, especially on the high school level. The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is a competition that was formed to bridge this gap in STEM education for public school students. This competition allows high school students to gain exposure to oceanic and aquatic sciences and train them for ocean-related STEM careers.


To compete in this competition, high school students can form a team and compete on a regional level. If a team wins at the regional level, they go on to compete at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl’s National Competition. Any registered high school student can form a team and compete.




2. Neuroscience for Kids Competitions


This series of competitions is unique in that it combines both STEM and creative skills. The Neuroscience for Kids Competitions is a series of drawing and poetry competitions that invites students to creatively think about various topics in neuroscience. It’s a great way to learn about various STEM fields while also showing your creative skills to college. It’s also a less intensive competition in that you don’t need to form a team or create a unique invention that is going to change biological sciences. Plus, it’s humorous in nature, so you’ll have a lot of fun creating your submission!




3. The Coleopterists Society- Youth Incentive Award


The Coleopterists Society is an international organization of individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, who are dedicated to the study of beetles. This national competition and its prizes are designed to get young people interested in this the study of beetles. As long as you are a registered high school student, you are more than welcome to enroll, fulfill the requirements, and engage yourself in those curious bugs!


To compete, you may submit an original research report or study that relates to beetles and their natural habitat. Each of the two award winners receives a monetary grant of $200 and $400, respectively, and a matching equipment credit from the BioQuip Products catalog for $200 and $400. Award recipients will also receive a one-year subscription to the society journal, The Coleopterists Bulletin.


The obvious benefits of winning this competition are the monetary prizes. In addition, you could gain valuable research experience by participating in this competition along with a great writing sample/research paper to talk about in your college applications. Lastly, you will gain access to many adult mentors that are apart of the Coleopterists Society, widening your connections and your professional network.


Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

4. USA Brain Bee


Neuroscience is becoming a hot topic both in the scientific and the corporate world. More and more, people are looking to neuroscientists to become doctors, psychologists, and even do research and implement strategies in Business and Marketing. The USA Brain Bee is a worldwide neuroscience competition for high school students. There are over 200 local competitions around the country.


Brain Bee’s test each student’s mastery of concepts in topics such as intelligence, emotions, memory, sleep, vision, hearing, sensations, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, addictions and brain research. Students who score the highest in their local competitions advance to regionals, and those winners advance to a national USA Brain Bee competition. All registered high school students are encouraged to apply.


This competition would be a great way for you to explore topics in neuroscience and see if this specialization is right for you. In addition, as you advance through the competition, you are likely to meet other students like yourself who share the same interests. You’d make friends and broaden your professional network.



How To Find The Best Biology Academic Competitions For You


It’s not always clear which academic competitions are worth entering and which ones you should pass on. To help you in your competition search, here are some quick rules of thumb to follow:


Find competitions in topics that you are interested in. If you’re interested in neuroscience, don’t look at competitions that focus on botany. Many competitions specialize in a certain STEM field, so this could narrow down your options considerably.


Be realistic about what you can and can’t handle. Some competitions require you to submit a simple essay, whereas some require you to build your own invention and prototype. Be honest about how advanced your skillset is and what you have time for as a student. There’s no use in signing up for a competition only to drop later or submit a product that is not your best work.


Talk to your counseling office. Many high school counselors or college advisors have a repository of interesting opportunities for their students, including academic competitions. Go to your counseling office and see if your school offers any such resources.


Use your teachers. In particular, your science teachers. Your teachers may be a great resource in helping you find a competition that is right for you. They may also serve as a great mentor and assistant as you create your competition submission. Don’t be afraid to approach these people for help!


Consult a Mentor. CollegeVine offers a superb mentorship program for students looking to build a high school profile that will impress colleges. If you know that you are interested in biology, we can pair you with a college student who specializes in biological sciences and was once in your shoes. This person can help you with your academic competition search every step of the way.


For More Information


Want to find more academic competitions for high schoolers? Check out these previous blog posts:


8 STEM Competitions For High Schoolers

11 Academic Competitions To Boost Your High School Profile


Feeling like you need a little boost in high school? Download our free guide for 9th graders and our free guide for 10th graders. Our guides go in-depth about subjects ranging from academics, choosing courses, standardized tests, extracurricular activities, and much more!


Want access to expert college guidance — for free? When you create your free CollegeVine account, you will find out your real admissions chances, build a best-fit school list, learn how to improve your profile, and get your questions answered by experts and peers—all for free. Sign up for your CollegeVine account today to get a boost on your college journey.

Sadhvi Mathur
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Sadhvi is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, where she double majored in Economics and Media Studies. Having applied to over 8 universities, each with different application platforms and requirements, she is eager to share her knowledge now that her application process is over. Other than writing, Sadhvi's interests include dancing, playing the piano, and trying not to burn her apartment down when she cooks!