ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific “Olympics of the Mind”) is a major youth initiative of the NAACP.  Founded in 1978, by renowned author and journalist, Vernon Jarrett, ACT-SO provides a forum through with African American youth demonstrate academic, artistic, and scientific prowess and expertise, thereby gaining the same recognition often only reserved for professional entertainers and athletes.

The NAACP’s ACT-SO is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.  The ACT-SO program is propelled by the dedication and commitment of community volunteers and business leaders who serve as mentors and coaches to promote academic and artistic excellence among African American students.  There are 25 categories of competition in the sciences, humanities, business, and performing and visual arts. More than 260,000 young people have participated in the program since its inception.

The program begins with mentoring, coaching, and teaching of participants.   Local competitions take place between March and May.  Contestants who win gold medals on the local level qualify to attend the National ACT-SO competition that takes place in early July at the Annual NAACP Convention.  Winners receive scholarships and other awards provided by national.

Eligible participants are high school students of African-American descent who are citizens of the United States enrolled in grades 9 – 12 as amateurs in the categories of the competition.  For additional information call the NAACP office at 216.505.0204

2019 deadline has passed, stay tuned for 2020

Click the links below for more information.

Student Eligibility Requirements

2018-19 Student Application

2019 Competition_Desc_Req_Points