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 computer science, programming contests during the academic year.

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

Registering Teams

Students compete as teams in ACSL contests. A team consists a minimum of three students and can include an unlimited number of students from your school or organization. There can be only one team per division per school or organization. Please visit the Divisions page for information on various divisions and choose the division(s) that is(are) suitable for your students.

  • The advisor is responsible for registering the teams and paying the appropriate fees using the online Registration form before December 1st.

  • After completing the registration, the advisor will get access to the ACSL Leaderboard site where the advisor is required to enter the team roster before administering the contests.

Administering Contests

ACSL season is divided into four contests to be conducted over the duration of an academic year. The top scoring students will be selected to compete in an invitation-only final contest during the month of May. Please visit the Schedule page for the dates for each of the contests. As an advisor, you may choose to administer the contests before the dates listed in the schedule page.

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. (The HackerRank for Work is different than the HackerRank Community Edition that was used during the 2020 Finals.) 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 contests and have every student on a team participate in the contest at the same time.

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.

Detailed Instructions for Administering the Contest

Below are the detailed steps that the advisor needs to take for administering the contest. Essentially, log in 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) and then, when ready for each contest, you'll invite your students to take the contest (Step 4).


  • Login to the ACSL Leaderboard using the link in the upper right. Your email is what ACSL has been using to send email to you. Your initial password is 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, and the INVITE link to have a link sent to each student that will give them access to the contest.


  • 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. It's up to you whether it makes sense for those students to take the contests that have already taken place.


  • This is the screen where all the action happens. When you are ready to have your students compete in a particular contest, you'll need to "invite" each one. The "invitation" will cause HackerRank to send an email to the student with a link that they student will use to access the contest. The student's time for the contest (30-minutes for the Short Problems; 72 hours for the Programming Problem) doesn't begin until the student opens the link and confirms they are starting.