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Computer science is not just for coders! AP CSP students are invited to the College Board’s first-ever virtual hackathon: Coding Outside of the Lines: Exploring Alternative Applications of Computer Science. Join students from other schools to explore how computer science can be used to help address a societal issue or to bring a creative idea to life.

This hackathon is about having fun, collaborating with peers to solve problems, and learning from industry professionals about how they apply their computer science skills in creative ways.

You don’t have to be an expert or the best student in the class to participate. This event is open to students of all skill levels—the only requirement is that students be enrolled in an AP CSP course and registered to take the exam in May 2022.


Using survey responses, participants will be assigned to one of three STEM personalities:

The Questioner

You’re a person that has a love for always asking “Why” and “What?” You’re driven by curiosity and a desire to understand a problem deeply in order to identify what you’ll need to learn to solve it. You like to make decisions based on data, not feelings. Your personality makes you a STEM asset since you favor logic, systems, and perfectionism.

The Altruist

You’re a person that’s guided first and foremost by your desire to live and act by your morals and values. You know that big problems need innovative solutions that directly impact those most affected. You make decisions by consensus, making sure that everyone is on board to work together. Your personality makes you a STEM asset since you can envision how technology can be used to directly impact the lives of others in positive ways.

The Creator

You’re a person that’s ruled by joy and creativity. You have a keen sense of what trends are emerging, and are a lover of all things music, art, and culture. You can always find beauty in the everyday. Your decisions are guided by your imagination and creativity. Your personality is a STEM asset since you can see all the details that lead to the big picture, and you’re a dreamer that can be a part of creating “the next big thing.”


The event is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, 12pm-5pm Eastern Time.

To register for the event, please click on the registration link that was sent via email on Wednesday, February 2. Each link is customized to a specific student and cannot be shared.

Yes, anyone who attends the event is expected to be available during the entire program duration.

We have invited about 1,400 AP CSP students and the first 300 students to register will be able to participate. Please register as soon as possible if you’re interested.

Participating in the surveys is optional. If you participate, you’ll earn $50 in e-cards!

The event is virtual and will take place in Zoom.

This event is 100% free. In fact, if you also opt-in to completing the surveys, College Board will pay YOU $50 in e-cards.

This free event is about having fun, collaborating with peers to solve problems, and learning from industry professionals about how they apply their computer science skills in creative ways.

The purpose of the research surveys is to help the College Board better understand exam-taking behaviors and perceptions of computer science for students enrolled in AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP).

We identified high schools through a random selection process. Once the schools were selected, we invited students who are registered to take the AP CSP exam in May 2022.

If you think you should have been invited because peers from your school were invited AND you’re registered to take the AP CSP exam in May 2022, please email us at [email protected] and we will recheck your status.

Unfortunately, because of our limited capacity, we are not able to invite students who do not meet the criteria.

The content was created by College Board staff and DoSomething Strategic, in collaboration with AP CSP teachers and former AP CSP students.

The event will have near-peer advisors (mostly college students) with experience in computer science and AP CSP teachers to help students if they get stuck.

While students may practice their skills in preparation for the Create Performance Task, students may not submit anything created during this event for the Create Performance Task.

  • Computer and Operating System Requirements
    • Macintosh (with Intel Processor): Max OS X 10.11 and up (El Capitan)
    • Windows: Windows 7 and up
  • Processor & Ram Requirements
    • Minimum:
      • Processor: Single-core 1Ghz or higher
      • RAM: N/A
    • Recommended:
      • Processor: Dual-core 2Ghz or higher (Intel i3/i5/i7 or AMD equivalent)
      • RAM: 4 GB
  • Browser Requirements:
    • MacOS: Chrome 63+, Firefox 57+, Safari 11+
    • Windows: Chrome 63+, Firefox 57+
  • Steady Internet Connection
  • Broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers and a microphone - built-in, USB plug-in, or wireless Bluetooth
  • Zoom account
  • Discord account (optional)

This event is only for students. The best way for teachers to support their students with the Hackathon is to encourage them to sign up and consider ways to encourage them to show up on the day of the event. For example, a teacher can offer extra credit for participating and invite students into school to participate in the Hackathon together. If you decide to bring students together for the Hackathon, let us know via email at [email protected] and we will happily provide a stipend for a pizza party!

Yes! We are developing a toolkit that you can use in your classroom to run a local Hackathon. Email us at [email protected] and we will make sure to share the guide with you when it becomes available in March 2022.