Beautiful Minds Challenge

The Beautiful Minds Challenge is an annual scholarship and cash prize competition that rewards creative ideas and expression. Every fall, students aged 15–19 are invited to submit a project responding to a new prompt. This could be your year!


The 2018 Beautiful Minds Challenge asks you to identify a problem facing your generation and explain how you are working toward, or could work toward, a solution.


The top 12 students who are high school seniors (or equivalent) and who intend to enroll at Marlboro College in the fall of 2019 will be eligible for a full or partial tuition scholarship. Scholarships cover eight semesters at Marlboro as long as the student remains in good academic standing. 

The top three students who are high school students in their first, second, or third years (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 2017-18 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 2019 Beautiful Minds Symposium in the spring. Additional honorable mention projects will be extended a Symposium invitation as well. The total number of attendees depends on the number of submissions made by individuals or groups.



The Beautiful Minds Challenge is open to all teens aged 15–19 who have not yet enrolled in college. You may work on a project 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 scholarship consideration, students must be high school seniors (or equivalent) seeking to enroll at Marlboro College in the fall of 2019, and must submit a completed application for admission by January 15, 2019 in addition to their Beautiful Minds Challenge submission.

Submissions from homeschooled and international students are welcome!

Project Parameters

A complete project submission must include the following elements: 

  1. Digital documentation of your project responding to the 2018 prompt. We will accept the following submission formats:
  • Essay or other written work (3-6 pages double spaced in 11 point font)
  • Video (up to 5 minutes in length)
  • Art, science, or other physical project (up to 5 photos of your piece)
  • Music or audio files (up to 5 minutes of original audio content)
  • Slideshow or other multi-media project (up to 15 slides) 
  1. A completed submission form answering the following questions:
  • What problem facing your generation did you identify, and why does it need to be addressed now?
  • How did you decide on your project topic and format?
  • What is your proposed solution to the problem?
  • Who benefits from your proposed solution?
  • What did you learn while completing the Beautiful Minds Challenge?
  • With unlimited time and money, how could your idea grow? 

All writing should be in 11 point font, double spaced unless you are submitting poetry or a script, or other written materials with particular formatting.

If you know what you want to express, but are not sure how to submit it digitally, contact us and we’ll come up with a creative solution together.

Submission Deadline

All projects must be submitted by Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

Scholarship Details

The Beautiful Minds Challenge is currently the only way to win a full tuition 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 considered for a scholarship, students must:

  • Submit a completed Beautiful Minds Project by December 15, 2018.
  • Submit a completed application for admission to Marlboro College by January 15, 2019.
  • Be accepted to Marlboro for a fall 2019 enrollment.

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, depending on their family’s financial situation.


How will the winners be chosen?

Submissions are reviewed by a panel of Marlboro College faculty, staff, and students. They assess Beautiful Minds projects based on expression of original, critical, and creative thinking, demonstration of research and preparation, and effectiveness of presentation and overall quality.

Seniors who are eligible for scholarship consideration will have their general application materials for Marlboro College taken into account as well as their Beautiful Minds Challenge submission.

What happens if a team project wins?

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.

What if I win, but am not able to attend the symposium?

We'd miss you! But it will not prevent you from claiming your prize if you win.

When will winners be announced?

Winners will be notified on February 1, 2019. 

Do I have to attend Marlboro College in order to use my scholarship?

Yes. Beautiful Minds Challenge scholarships are only applicable to winning seniors who enroll at Marlboro College beginning in Fall 2019. 

Is the Beautiful Minds Challenge open to students living outside of the United States?


What do I submit to participate?

Your project - a creative response to the prompt in a digital format, along with an application form which includes your contact information and more details about your project. See “Project Parameters” above.

Is there a length requirement?

There are guidelines for how much material to submit. See “Project Parameters” above.

Contact us if any of the following apply:
  • I know what I want to say, but I’m not sure how to turn my idea into a project.
  • I seem to be having difficulty uploading my project file(s) through your submissions website.
  • I’m not sure if I submitted everything correctly.
  • I am applying for scholarship consideration, but I don’t know what my next steps are.

The Symposium

Students with exceptional submissions will win a trip to the annual Beautiful Minds Symposium at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont. Beautiful Minds Challenge finalists will join current Marlboro students and faculty members to share ideas and submissions, learn about the creative process and problem solving through group activities, and get a taste of college residential life and coursework.

Marlboro College 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.


For general questions related to the Beautiful Minds Challenge:

802-258-9231 or 1-800-343-0049

Seniors seeking scholarship consideration: