A Beatiful Minds Challange - Marlboro College

2016-17 Prompt: “Be the change. Document the effect.”

2016-17 Submission Deadline: Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 11:59pm


The challenge is open to all teens age 15-19 who are not yet enrolled in college full-time. 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 how you effected positive change
  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 you want to express, 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 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, 2017.

The top three students who are high school seniors (or equivalent) and who intend to enroll at Marlboro College in the fall of 2017 will be eligible for a full tuition scholarship (1st place), a ¾ tuition scholarship (2nd place) and a ½ tuition scholarship (3rd place). These scholarships cover eight semesters at Marlboro as long as the student remains in good academic standing.

The top three students who are high school first year, second year, third year (or equivalent) are eligible for cash prizes — $1,000 for 1st place, $750 for 2nd place, $500 for 3rd place. Students who win a cash prize in 2016-17 are not eligible to win another cash prize, but can enter subsequent challenges in order to earn the scholarship and/or honorable mention status and trip to the symposium.

All of the top six individuals / teams from the 2016-17 will also be invited for an expense-paid trip to Marlboro College for the 2017 Beautiful Minds Symposium.

Honorable mention individuals / teams will be awarded expense-paid trip to the 2017 Beautiful Minds Challenge Symposium, March 29-31, 2017. 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.

Click the links below for pop-up windows that will provide more information about:

About the 2017 Symposium

The top 25 contestants will win a trip to the Beautiful Minds Symposium at Marlboro College, March 29-31, 2017. 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.”

Scholarship Details

The Beautiful Minds Challenge is currently one of only a few ways to receive a full-tuition scholarship to Marlboro. Each year, the Beautiful Minds Challenge will be used to award one full, one ¾ and one ½ tuition scholarship. At 2016-17 rates, the full tuition scholarship would be worth $39,086, the ¾ tuition scholarship would be worth $29,315 and the ½ tuition scholarship would be worth $19,543. 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.

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.

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.