Is USACO Good For College? 

is usaco good for college

The short answer to this question is YES.

High school students are swamped with to-do lists that never end. From AP classes to community service, they do everything possible to get into the best colleges.

Adding USACO contests to this hectic schedule reduces the time for school studies and hampers participation in co-curricular activities.

It’s only obvious to question if USACO is good for college.

How’s USACO Good for College?

Although clearing USACO tests has nothing to do with the college directly, it’s definitely integral for getting into IVY League colleges and other options.

Clearing USACO helps with college applications.

USACO is a series of competitive national-level exams for programming and coding skills targeting high school students.

Read: USACO: All You Need To Know

1. It shows you’ve coding skills

These contests, especially the Gold division and higher levels, need in-depth programming knowledge and efficient coding skills to clear them. Besides learning algorithms, a student also needs to excel in overall computer science to ace these tests.

So, when you write college applications, the USACO-clearing certificates show your coding skills and abilities in working in a fast-working environment.

2. It shows your experience in competitive programming

Institutes like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard want students who’re serious about their careers. They accept applications that stand out with prior experience/venture in the subject a candidate is interested in.

Appearing for USACO tests says a candidate has been focused on coding since a young age, and they’ve tried their hand in competitive programming as well.

Also, you are claiming in college applications of being ready to venture into computer science or other coding-related subjects. The point is you’re trying to convince others that you’re focused.

Here swoops in the USACO certificates to back up your claims on college applications. In case you’ve attended the IOI, you stand out as the perfect candidate for top universities. This is how clearing these contests help you go ahead.

Does clearing USACO Tests ensure good Colleges?

Many USACO Gold and Platinum-level contestants enroll in top-tier colleges. However, clearing USACO doesn’t guarantee admissions to good colleges and universities.

The goal of clearing the USA computing olympiad is to prepare yourself as a professional coder, not to go to a good college.

The bright side is you will get into good colleges anyway once you have the set of skills and a good resume that highlights your interests.

USACO Divisions and Chances in Colleges

1. Bronze & Silver Division helps CS Aspirers

Clearing the Bronze or Silver division USACO might not get you into IVY league colleges or top universities. However, if you’re not someone with sky-reaching academic ambitions, even Bronze-level will prove fruitful.

It will make it easier for you to enroll in computer science degree/course. Once you have enrolled, the knowledge and experience you gathered during USACO preparation will help you sail through the tough semesters.

In other words, college students benefit from prior experience in clearing USACO silver and bronze levels.

Also, you can go to pre-college internships after clearing the tests and gain more experience writing your college applications.

2. Gold division = Top 600 College Applicants

In 2020, only 612 participants cleared the USACO Gold out of 4169 participants. It means that students who cleared the Gold division were among the USA’s top 600 college applicants.

Semi-finalists of the USA Physics Olympiad are considered the top 400 applicants. Considering that, Gold achievers definitely have a chance to get into the best colleges in the country, if not the top universities.

3. Platinum division = Top 400 College Applicants

In USACO 2020, 394 candidates cleared the Platinum level, including the candidates with a perfect score. If one can reach the Platinum division, they definitely have better chances at getting into IVY league colleges.

However, clearing this level doesn’t guarantee admission to the best institutes. It all depends on your college apps, and this achievement will only affirm your coding skills and knowledge.

4. Finalists = Admission to Top Universities

Nathan Chen, one of the finalists of the 2019-2020 batch, is an undergrad student at MIT. Like Chen, most USACO finalists get into the top universities in the USA.

So, if a candidate attends the USACO camp and represents the USA in the International Olympiad Informatics, they are enrolling in the best institutes for sure.

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Hi there, future coder. If you’re aspiring to clear USACO tests and get into the top universities, we know you can do it!

Breathe and believe in yourself. Remember, if you think you can, you’re right.

Contact EnthuZiastic tutors in case you need any help with the preparation. USACO is one of the best national-level competitive programming tests, and it will surely help you get into good colleges.

All the best!

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