2014 Competition

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The Prompt

The Rules

2014 Prompt “Create something out of destruction. Share what you learn.”

2014 Submission Deadline: Monday, December 1, 2014 at 11:59pm

Eligibility: The challenge is open to all teens (14-19). You are welcome to work alone, but encouraged to work with up to two teammates. Teams with more than three members will not be eligible for prizes or symposium attendance.

What to Submit: 1) Creative digital documentation of something you created out of destruction 2) a cover letter that explains what you learned as you worked on the challenge.

How to Submit:We will only accept digital files including word documents, photographic / image files (up to 5), audio files and video files. Videos cannot be longer than five minutes. For a full list of acceptable file types, click here.

  • Text / Document: PDF, DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, ODT
  • Art / Photography: JPG, GIF, TIFF, PNG
  • Audio: MP3, M4a, WAV, AAC, AIFF
  • Vidoe: MP4, MOV, MPG

If you know what your “creation out of destruction” will be, but are not sure how to submit it digitally, contact us and we’ll figure it out together. There are many creative solutions.

How will we decide on the winners? Submissions will be judged by a panel of Marlboro College faculty, staff and students. Winning entries will have the following characteristics:

  • high quality product (the “something you created out of destruction”) that demonstrates effort, problem solving and creativity
  • thoughtful presentation / documentation
  • expression of original, critical and innovative thinking
  • demonstration of research and preparation

Winners will be notified by January 15th, 2015.

The Prizes

Six prizes will be given to
the top six individuals or teams:
three tuition scholarships to Marlboro College
(full tuition, ¾ tuition, ½ tuition)
and three cash prizes ($1000, $750, $500).
All of the top six individuals / teams will also be invited
for an expense-paid trip to Marlboro College for the
2015 Beautiful Minds Symposium.

Honorable mention individuals / teams will be awarded expense-paid trip to the 2015 Beautiful Minds Challenge Symposium, April 1-4, 2015. A total of 25 invites will be extended for the Symposium, so the exact number of honorable mention entries will depend on whether top entries are submitted by teams or individuals.

The scholarships are new this year, and make
awarding a little more complicated!
Click the links below for more information about:

The top 25 contestants will win a trip to the Beautiful Minds Symposium at Marlboro College, Apr 1-4, 2015. Beautiful Mind Challenge finalists will join current Marlboro students and faculty members to share ideas and submissions, learn about creative process and problem solving through group activities, and get a taste of college residential life and coursework. Marlboro will arrange and pay for transportation to and from Vermont, as well as food, lodging and activities during the symposium. For teens living outside the United States, Marlboro will contribute up to $500 towards the cost of a flight or other transportation.

Here is what previous winners have to say about the symposium:

  • [The best things about the symposium were] “personalities & personal-ness. It was special to get to bond with and be taken on the journeys of other beautiful minds. Diversity and commonality alike were abundant and it made for an enriching, fulfilling experience. Also, it was an amazing way to get a feel for the college!! I’m so grateful for that.”
  • “I really enjoyed meeting other students from around the country and world. Sharing our experiences was seriously inspirational! It was a very humbling experience, in the best way possible.”
  • “I learned that there are in fact people that exist that I feel extremely comfortable with and that have similar ideas and values as me. I also learned that I really need to take initiative to be involved with groups and be confident and when I do that people will listen to me and accept me and it feels really good to show more of my real self.”

The Beautiful Minds Challenge is one of the rare ways to earn a full tuition scholarship to Marlboro, unless you are the child of an employee of the school. Each year, the Beautiful Minds Challenge will be used to award one full, one ¾ and one ½ tuition scholarship. At 2014-15 rates, the full tuition scholarship would be worth $37,200, the ¾ tuition scholarship would be worth $27,900 and the ½ tuition scholarship would be worth $18,600. Beautiful Minds Challenge scholarship recipients are not eligible for other merit aid at Marlboro, but are eligible for additional need-based aid to cover room, board, fees and additional tuition (for ¾ and ½ scholarships), depending on their family’s financial situation.

The scholarship amounts will change, depending on the cost of tuition for a given year, and will be good for eight semesters total, as long as recipients remain in good academic and community standing. These semesters do not need to be consecutive.

Beautiful Minds Challenge scholarships can be held for future enrollment at Marlboro (e.g. if a high school Junior wins and will not immediately enroll at Marlboro). In this case, the scholarship must be accepted or declined in writing by the deadline outlined in the award letter, and the decision is considered final.

All members of your winning team will be invited to the symposium, with expenses covered for all team members. However, if you are a member of a winning team, you will split the tuition scholarship and/or cash prize.

Cash prizes will be split evenly among members, with checks delivered at the Beautiful Minds Symposium.

Scholarship amounts will be split evenly among members who enroll at Marlboro. All decisions about scholarship splits must be communicated in writing by deadlines outlined in the award letter, and are final. For example, a two member team wins a full scholarship, but only one member initially decides to attend Marlboro. This is communicated in writing by both team members (one accepting, one declining) by the deadline. Later, the second team member, who declined the scholarship split, decides to transfer to Marlboro. At that time, the second team member will not be eligible to retroactively claim any portion of the Beautiful Minds Challenge scholarship. However, they would be eligible for regular merit and need-based aid.

Prizes are awarded in a trickle-down manner. The first place winner / team will be offered either the full tuition scholarship or the $1000 cash prize. If first place accepts the top scholarship (full tuition scholarship, the top cash prize and the second scholarship (3/4 tuition) would then be offered to the second-ranked entry, and so on.

Because prizes are distributed in a trickle down manner, winners will be required to respond in writing to claim their prize, and all decisions will be considered final.

Here’s an example of what the outcome might look like for the top six winning submissions.

First Place Team of 2 Accept full tuition scholarship and both come to Marlboro (Split ~$38,000/year scholarship → ~$19,000 each /year)
Second Place Individual Accepts $1000 Cash Prize
Third Place Team of 3 Accept ¾ tuition scholarship, but only 1 decides to come to Marlboro (~$28,500 of scholarship/year for team member attending Marlboro)
Fourth Place Individual Accepts ½ tuition scholarship (~$19,000 of scholarship/year)
Fifth Place Team of 3 Accepts $750 Cash Prize ($250 each)
Sixth Place Individual Accepts $500 Cash Prize



Questions? If you have questions, or would like to know more, drop us a line.

The Beautiful Minds Challenge is sponsored and hosted by Marlboro College.

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