Testing your knowledge at an economics competition is a great way to go beyond a traditional classroom’s offerings, allowing you to showcase your understanding of economic theory, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The experience gained can not only sharpen your academic competition prowess but it can also provide you with a sneak peek into the intricate web of global economic dynamics. Today, we’ll be looking at the ten best economics competitions for you to partake in to boost your college application and enhance your economic understanding. 

#1 Federal Reserve High School Challenge

  1. Hosting Institution: US Federal Reserve

  2. Location: Virtual

  3. Awards: Submission to Federal Reserve Bank of NY Journal of Future Economists

  4. Cost: Free

  5. Entry Deadline: February 15

  6. Competition Date: March 15

The Fed Challenge is a dynamic competition hosted by the Federal Reserve, inviting high school students to act and think as economists. Every year, the Fed will choose a competition theme, and each team will write a 1,500-2,500 word paper on the topic. The best submissions to the essay contest are chosen to be published in the Journal of Future Economists by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Participants will have the chance to analyze economic data, create forecasts, and present their findings to a panel of expert judges. 

#2 National Economics Challenge

  1. Hosting Institution: Council for Economic Education

  2. Location: Varies by location

  3. Awards: Cash prizes

  4. Cost: Free

  5. Entry Deadline: March 1

  6. Competition Date: June 1 - June 3

The National Economics Challenge, organized by CEE, is a premier competition testing high school students on microeconomics, macroeconomics, and current events. Students begin by participating at the local state level and then moving on to a sem-final national challenge. Finally, the top eight teams proceed to the final national challenge in NYC. The NEC encourages academic excellence and cultivates teamwork and critical thinking. 

#3 International Economics Olympiad

  1. Hosting Institution: International Economics Olympiad

  2. Location: Virtual

  3. Awards: Trophies and medals

  4. Cost: Free

  5. Entry Deadline: Typically in January

  6. Competition Date: July

The International Economics Olympiad is a prestigious global competition that draws together the brightest minds in economics. Hosted by various countries on a rotating basis, the IEO challenges participants with rigorous theoretical and applied problems. Students can choose to participate in one of three competitions: financial literacy (an online simulation game where participants need to create personal financial plans), economics (a blend of open-ended and multiple choice questions), or business case (presentation of case solutions to a panel of judges).

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#4 The Stock Market Game

  1. Hosting Institution: Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)

  2. Location: Virtual

  3. Awards: Bragging rights

  4. Cost: Free

  5. Entry Deadline: Rolling

  6. Competition Date: Ongoing

The Stock Market game is a great way for students to get involved in financial markets without taking on the risk of losing real money. This nationwide competition simulates real-world trading scenarios, allowing participants to make strategic investment decisions within a risk-free environment. Beyond recognition, the game provides an immersive learning experience, bridging the gap between economic theory and practical application. As teams navigate the complexities of financial markets, they develop a nuanced understanding of economic forces. 

#5 Harvard Pre-Collegiate Economics Challenge

  1. Hosting Institution: Harvard College

  2. Location: Virtual or in-person on Harvard campus

  3. Awards: Trophies

  4. Cost: $125

  5. Entry Deadline: March 10

  6. Competition Date: April 8

The Harvard Pre-Collegiate Economics Challenge (HPEC) is a student-run competition hosted at Harvard University. The challenge has two main phases: an initial written exam that all participants must complete, and quiz bowl rounds which consist of questions on topics ranging from microeconomics to modern research topics. In addition to the challenge, students gain the opportunity to network with Harvard economists and students, giving it a unique advantage when compared to other competitions on this list. 

#6 Euro Challenge

  1. Hosting Institution: EU Delegation to the United States

  2. Location: TBA

  3. Awards: Networking opportunities, trophies, certificates

  4. Cost: Free

  5. Entry Deadline: January

  6. Competition Date: March 18-29 (Preliminary Round)

The Euro Challenge invites high school students to focus on European economic issues. With nationwide competitions across the United States, the challenge goes beyond traditional economics contests. Winners earn recognition and a coveted trip to the national competition, as well as the opportunity to meet the Ambassador of the European Union to the United States. This is a unique opportunity for students to compete in a challenge that takes on an economics view from a different country’s viewpoint. 

#7 National Personal Finance Challenge

  1. Hosting Institution: Council for Economic Education

  2. Location: Depends on state

  3. Awards: Cash prize

  4. Cost: Free

  5. Entry Deadline: Depends on state

  6. Competition Date: June 4-5 (National Level)

The National Personal Finance Challenge, organized by the Council for Economic Education, focuses on financial literacy for high school students. Although the competition varies slightly state-by-state, the general premise involves participants tackling real-world personal finance issues, including budgeting, saving, investing, and financial planning. Trophies, medals, cash prizes, and the chance to compete at the national level make this challenge a great opportunity for those interested in the intersection of economics and personal finance. 

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#8 InvestWrite

  1. Hosting Institution: Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)

  2. Location: Virtual

  3. Awards: Cash prize, recognition

  4. Cost: Free (must have participated in Stock Market Game)

  5. Entry Deadline: December 20

  6. Competition Date: N/A

For students who took part in the stock market game (mentioned earlier on this list), the accompanying InvestWrite competition is a great way to get some additional economics experience and work on your critical thinking skills. This year’s prompt is: “Which of your Stock Market Game investments performed well or not and why? Using at least one of your Stock Market Game investments, how would you build a $10,000 diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and/or mutual funds to save for a personal, family or community goal in the year 2033. Be sure to mention what your goal is.”

#9 Young Economist of the Year

  1. Hosting Institution: Royal Economic Society

  2. Location: England, Wales

  3. Awards: Cash prize, certificate, and recognition

  4. Cost: Free

  5. Entry Deadline: Typically July

  6. Competition Date: September

Young Economist of the Year stands as a prestigious competition open to students worldwide but typically attracts those in the United Kingdom. This challenge, held annually in the UK, encourages participants to explore a specific economic research question or topic. Beyond certifications and recognition, top participants receive a cash prize, making this competition a great opportunity for young economists to showcase their research and analytical skills, both qualities important for a job in economics. 

#10 Global Youth Economics Forum Competitions

  1. Hosting Institution: Global Youth Economics Forum

  2. Location: Dependent on competition

  3. Awards: Typically scholarships or cash prize

  4. Cost: Typically free

  5. Entry Deadline: Dependent on competition

  6. Competition Date: Dependent on competition

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The Global Youth Economics Forum is a community aimed at any high schooler and early collegiate student who has an interest in economics, finance, and business. This community organizes many forums and competitions to test students' economics knowledge. Some examples of past competitions include an essay writing competition, a stock market competition, and a quiz bowl. This is a great place to go to look for informal competitions to get some experience and a chance at scholarships/cash prizes while you practice. 

As you take on these competitions, remember that the experience you gain and the skills you hone will not only set you apart academically but will also help prepare you for the dynamic challenges of the real world. 

Good luck!