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A Beatiful Minds Challange - Marlboro College

The Prompt


The Rules

2017 Prompt: “Innovative communication unites people. Share your vision.”

Submission Deadline: Friday, December 1, 2017 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 or with up to two teammates. Teams with more than three members will not be eligible for prizes or symposium attendance. To be eligible for scholarships, students must be high school seniors (or equivalent) seeking to enroll in the fall of 2018, and must submit a completed application for admission by January 15, 2018 in addition to their Beautiful Minds Challenge submission.

What to Submit:

  1. Creative digital documentation of your unifying innovations to communication.
  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 (up to 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
  • Video: 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, students, and staff. Winning entries will have the following characteristics:

  • high-quality production that demonstrates effort, problem-solving, and creativity
  • thoughtful presentation/documentation
  • expression of original, critical, and innovative thinking
  • demonstration of research and preparation
  • a cover letter with a clear response to the challenge prompt explaining how your project innovates communication and unites people, the strengths and challenges of your idea, and what you learned in the process

Winners will be notified by February 1, 2018.


The top 12 students who are high school seniors (or equivalent) and who intend to enroll at Marlboro College in the fall of 2018 will be eligible for a full or partial scholarship. Scholarships cover eight semesters at Marlboro as long as the student remains in good academic standing.

Scholarships will be awarded as follows:

  • 1st & 2nd place – A full scholarship (tuition and fees) to Marlboro College
  • 3rd – 6th place – $40,000 scholarship (per year for up to 4 years)
  • 7th – 12th place – $30,000 scholarship (per year for up to 4 years)

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 won a cash prize in 2016-17 are not eligible to win another cash prize, but can enter subsequent challenges in order to earn a scholarship and/or honorable mention status and trip to the symposium.

All of the prize winning individuals/teams will also be invited to an expense-paid trip to Marlboro College for the 2018 Beautiful Minds Symposium in the spring. Additional honorable mention projects will be extended a Symposium invitation as well. One Symposium will be held for the top 25 seniors, and one for the top 25 first-, second-, and third-year high school students. Total number of attendees depends on the number of submissions made by individuals or groups.

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

The 2017-8 Beautiful Minds Symposium
Scholarship details
What happens if you win as part of a team

About the 2018 Beautiful Minds Challenge Symposium

The top 25 senior and top 25 non-senior contestants will win a trip to one of two Beautiful Minds Symposiums at Marlboro College. Beautiful Minds 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 had 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 the only way to win a full scholarship to Marlboro College. Scholarships cover up to eight semesters of study, as long as recipients remain in good academic and community standing. These semesters do not need to be consecutive. Beautiful Minds Challenge scholarships are maintained under the same criteria as merit awards. More information can be found on our Merit Awards and Admissions Grants webpage.

In order to be eligible for a scholarship, students must:

  • Submit a completed Beautiful Minds Project by December 1, 2017.
  • Submit a completed application for admission to Marlboro College by January 15, 2018.
  • Be accepted to Marlboro for a fall 2018 enrollment.

Scholarships will be awarded as follows:

  • 1st & 2nd place – Full ride to Marlboro College (full tuition and fees per year for up to 4 years)
  • 3rd – 6th place – $40,000 scholarship (per year for up to 4 years)
  • 7th – 12th place – $30,000 scholarship (per year for up to 4 years)

Beautiful Minds Challenge 3rd – 12th place 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, depending on their family’s financial situation.

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 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.


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.