advisor Guide

Behind every great ACSL team, there is a great advisor!

As an advisor, you build teams of students, coach and guide them to participate in ACSL contests during the academic year.

This page has everything you need to get started and run a great ACSL program at your school.

You should also check out the All About the ACSL webinar.

Registering Teams

Students compete as teams in ACSL contests. The Divisions page contains information on how to choose the division(s) that is (are) suitable for your students. Each team is limited to 12 participants, and you may register multiple teams in each division.

  • The advisor is responsible for registering teams and paying the appropriate fees using the Registration form.

  • After completing the registration, the advisor will get access to the ACSL Leaderboard site. There, the advisor specifies whether each team will compete as a 3-score or 5-score team and enters the student roster for each team.

Administering Contests

ACSL season is divided into four contests that are conducted over the academic year. The top scoring students will be invited to compete in an invitation-only Finals contest at the end of May. The Schedule page has the dates that each contest is available. As an advisor, you choose when to administer the contests during the contest window.

The ACSL contests are administered online using the HackerRank for Work platform. This platform is built for companies testing candidates for technical jobs, so there are a few oddities in the way that we are using the platform for contests. Students will be emailed a link for each contest that will allow them access to take the test.

  • The advisor is responsible for providing each student's email address while creating the team roster on the ACSL Leaderboard.

  • ACSL recommends that advisors schedule the dates and times for their teams for each contest and have every student on a team participate in the contest at the same time.

The advisor is responsible for ensuring that students complete each contest independently, without collaboration or assistance. Students found in violation will receive 0 points for that part of the contest.

Preparing for Contests

ACSL contests test students on fundamental concepts in computer science, ranging from Number Systems to Boolean Algebra to Digital Electronics. In the Junior, Intermediate and Senior Divisions, there is also a problem to solve by programming. The Study Materials page contains resources to learn about the topics and prepare for the contests.

Detailed Instructions for Administering the Contest

Below are the detailed steps that the advisor needs to take for administering the contest. Essentially, login to the leaderboard (Step 1), which will take you to your home page (Step 2). From your home page, you will register students on your teams (Step 3). Then, when ready for each contest, you'll invite your students to take the contest (Step 4). Finally, you can see how your students are progressing (Step 5).


  • Login to the ACSL Leaderboard using the link in the upper right. Your email is what you specified on the registration form. Your initial password is also your email address; you'll be prompted to change it when you first login to the system.


  • This is your home page. From here, you'll use the EDIT link to register students on each team (STEP 3), the INVITE link to have a link sent to students that will give them access to the contest (STEP 4), and the SCORES link to see your students' results (STEP 5).


  • This is the page reached from the EDIT link on your home page.

  • Prior to your students taking Contest #1, you must enter each student's name, grade, and email address. The email address is needed, because HackerRank will send them an email with the link to use for taking each contest.

  • You can add students any time. However, students have access to the online contest only during the open window for that contest.


  • This is the page reached from the INVITE link on your home page. This is where all the action happens.

  • When you are ready to have your students compete in a particular contest, click on the Invite to Contest button. HackerRank will send an email to all students; the email will contain a link that can be used to access the contest.


  • This is the team roster page that allows you to monitor your students' results. When your student has completed a HackerRank test, the PDF link brings you to a copy of their test submission.