The National Cyber Scholarship Competition for high school students

Practice, qualify and compete in the high school competition and win a $2,500 college scholarship.

Coming Soon

Trial some example challenges in the Practice Arena. Launching September 10, 2021.

01 | Train

CyberStart interface graphic

Build your skills, help yourself advance and prepare for the competition with CyberStart America.

Whether you are starting as a beginner or are just looking to up your skills in preparation for the competition, you can train for free with CyberStart America. CyberStart America gives high school students free access to the world-renowned CyberStart platform – a free immersive training game with over 200 fun-to-play challenges. Crack the codes, find the flags and deal with real-life cyber challenges as you build an impressive set of cyber credentials ready for the competition!

82% of NCS competitors joined CyberStart America in preparation for the competition in 2021!

Practice arena interface graphic

Trial last year's challenges and get a taste for the competition in the Practice Arena.

Anyone can now gain access to the 2021 competition challenges, to play through at their own pace and prepare for future competitions!

The Practice Arena will be launching September 10, 2021.

"I really enjoyed preparing for and participating in the National Cyber Scholarship Competition. Playing the CyberStart game taught me interesting and useful techniques, and it was fun to put them to use while solving the puzzles of the competition."

Photo of Jonah

Jonah, New Jersey

02 | Qualify

Register by March 31, 2022 if you meet one of the following qualifying pathways!

CSA icon

Score 15,000 points in CyberStart via CyberStart America.

PicoCTF icon

Achieve a team score of 1,000 points in 2022 in picoCTF.

CyberPatriot icon

Achieve Platinum level in the qualification rounds of the 2021/2022 competition season of CyberPatriot.

All high school players must be at least 13 years old and be enrolled in 9th-12th grade. For full eligibility criteria visit our knowledge base.

03 | Compete

You're qualified and ready to compete. Here's what you need to know!

Key dates

October 5, 2021: Registration opens for CyberStart America where you can train and qualify for the competition!

March 31, 2022: The cutoff date to qualify and register for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition through one of the qualifying pathways.

April 21 – 23, 2022: National Cyber Scholarship Competition 2022.

Equipment

The competition will be conducted fully online, so you can participate from home, school, or anywhere where you have access to a reliable internet connection and the necessary equipment.

You'll need:

A computer with VMware or Virtual Box.

A reliable Internet connection.

Chrome or Firefox browser.

Unrestricted access to browser developer tools/settings (e.g. View Source or Inspect Element or scripting abilities).

04 | Win

There are three tiers of awards available to high school students. Each tier will be awarded with a digital badge to recognize your achievements!

National Cyber Scholar badge

National Cyber Scholar

Up to 600 college scholarships of $2,500 will be awarded to the top-performing eligible students. These can be used to pursue cybersecurity training at any college of higher education.

Additional scholarships may be available through sponsorship from colleges, corporate partners, or philanthropic organizations.

"It's truthfully a big honor to hold this title among other qualified high schoolers; it's nice to see how my effort throughout the years in CyberStart Game has paid off."

Photo of Emily

Emily, North Carolina - 2021 Scholar with Honors

National Cyber Scholarship Finalist badge

National Cyber Scholarship Finalist

Finalist status will be awarded to those who achieve high scores in the National Cyber Scholarship Competition, but do not qualify for a scholarship.

Finalists will gain free access to the Cyber Foundations Academy taking place in Summer 2022. This multi-week online program is centered around the nationally recognized SANS Cyber Foundations online training course (with one certification attempt), worth over $3,000, plus a program of supporting enrichment activities including talks by America's top cybersecurity experts with tech updates, and employers on cyber careers.

"A year ago, I never thought I would be doing anything related to cybersecurity. To think that I am now a Finalist in this competition is absolutely mind-blowing!"

Photo of Sriya

Sriya, North Carolina - 2021 Finalist

National Cyber Scholarship Semifinalist badge

National Cyber Scholarship Semifinalist

Anyone who meets one of the qualifying criteria will have their impressive achievement recognized with a Semifinalist digital badge.

This verified credential can be added to an online portfolio, résumé or college application, displayed on LinkedIn, or shared on social media to celebrate the achievement.

Sponsors

Sponsor icons for SANS and CIS