Stock Contest Aims to Make Teens Market-Savvy

High school students are as curious as adults about the stock market — they just don’t have a good idea  where to go to learn about them or, for that matter, most other personal finance topics.

That’s why Jared Pickens, who teaches finance in the UT Dallas School of Management, is reaching out to high school students this summer with the Top Performer Stock Competition.  The contest is designed to help participants understand a key component of personal finance — how stock markets operate in the U.S. The threemonth competition will pit students, using special trading software, against one another as they make trades with $1 million in virtual dollars. When the competition concludes in August, students with the top-performing portfolios will receive prizes.

“This sort of information is rarely being taught at the college level and even less than that at the high school level,” said Pickens, who holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in personal financial planning and is a Certified Financial Planner. Top Performer is the only competition of its kind for high school students in North Texas, he said.

Contestants will have the same trading software  used in some Ivy League finance classes. A Facebook page will let students ask Pickens questions during the summer so everyone can benefit from the curiosity of others. There will also be a video tutorial about personal finance issues.

Pickens hopes the inaugural competition will improve the financial literacy of participants, encourage the study of business and promote the general concept of higher education among high schoolers. Participants must be planning to attend high school next school year. And because there is no “on campus” time, students can take part wherever and whenever they have access to their computer. Currently, participants are from as far away as McAllen and Austin.

The cost to enter is $35, and participants must enroll by May 31. The registration fee includes software.

Online registration and details about the Top Performer Stock Competition are at

Jared Pickens holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in personal financial planning and is a Certified Financial Planner.


The trading software that contestants will use is the same as such Ivy League universities as Columbia and Yale use in their finance classes.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].