FAQs, Details, & Submission Links

Each round of HonorsGradU’s community improvement scholarship program will be based on the LAUNCH framework for design thinking. If you missed it on the main scholarship page, watch this video below before reading on:

via John Spencer

BIG CHANGE: The deadlines were originally Feb 11 for Round 1, Mar 25 for Round 2, and Apr 15 for Round 3. We have decided on the following changes:

  • ROUND 1 deadline: April 8, 2018!
  • Round 2 deadline: any time before April 15
  • Round 3 deadline will still be April 15

Once you receive approval for Round 1 proposal, you may move forward with the next rounds as soon as you’d like! All submission links are available on this site.

Need an example? Check out scholarship chair Mary Wade’s posts:

Round 1 (Proposal):


February 11, 2018 11:59 pm MST April 8, 2018 11:59 pm MST


Your goal for your round one proposal is to show us how serious you are about your community improvement project! All entries that demonstrate sufficient dedication and viability will be approved for round two.

Before you submit your proposal, you need to roll up your sleeves and jump into the LAUNCH framework for design thinking! This round includes the first 4 phases, into which we’re also asking you to integrate community building principles (via Ford Institute):

Look, listen, & observe: Become aware of your community’s story and a possible issue. You do this through two of the community building principles:

*“Go to where the people are”

  • *“Start with what you know and build on what you have”

Ask tons of questions: Dig deeper into that issue with questions. You do this through the third principle of community-building:

*“Be profoundly inclusive”

Understand the process or problem: Research! You “might conduct interviews or needs assessments, research articles, watch videos, or analyze data.” As you do so, keep the fourth and final community-building principle in mind:

*”Keep the community at the center of the work”

Navigate ideas: “Brainstorm, analyze, and combine ideas” to decide on a possible solution. We will also ask you to identify which of the 3 focus areas for funding your project would center on:

*“Increasing Connections”

*“Building Capacity”

*“Taking Community-led Action”

You will then be ready to submit a proposal for your project!

Our goal is to support you through this community improvement progress. So after you submit, we will give feedback to students whose projects are approved to move on to round 2 to help them with the next steps.

Submission Link:

Click here to submit your proposal by April 8, 2018.


Can my community building project be based off an existing project I’m doing for school or an extracurricular program (ie, senior thesis project, Eagle scout project, etc)?

Yes, but keep in mind that it might not be as strong a contender as other projects that take place on a larger scale.

Can I work with an existing community organization?

While students should be the primary planners and executors of their plans, we know that community organizations can be valuable collaborative resources for successful projects. If you collaborate with any existing community organizations, you will need to submit the name of the organization along with the name/email address of a supervisor at the community to verify that you are and have been the primary planner and executor of your project (space for this will be included in the submission form). 

How soon will I hear back on whether my project was approved?

This will depend on the volume of entries we receive, but our goal is to have that information and feedback back to you within 2 weeks, giving you about a month to work on round two. And keep in mind that “the early bird gets the worm;” if you submit before the deadline, not only will you likely get feedback much earlier, but you will give yourself more time to work on the next rounds!

Round 2 (Artifact):


March 25, 2018 11:59 pm MST You may submit your Round 2 artifact any time before you submit your Round 3 reflection by April 15. However, note that you are more likely to receive round 2 feedback if you submit it with plenty of time before you send your Round 3 reflection.


Your goal for round two is not only to take action on your project proposal, but to show us your creative problem-solving process! This will happen as you work through the next 2 phases of the LAUNCH framework for design thinking:

  • Create prototype: “Might be a digital work, tangible product, work of art, or something you engineer. It might even be an action, an event, or a system.”
  • Highlight and fix: Share what’s working about your plan and what’s not. “Every mistake takes you closer and closer to success.”

You will then be ready to submit an artifact by March 25, 2018 before April 15, 2018 to us demonstrating how you have engaged in the above phases of design thinking. We will give you feedback to help you move on to round 3 (LAUNCH).

Submission Link:

Click here to submit your ROUND 2 artifact before April 15 (You MUST have submitted a Round 1 proposal and received approval to move on to Round 2 before submitting). 


What do you consider to be an artifact for round 2? 

A piece of art/multimedia representing your efforts during the design thinking phases of Navigate Ideas, Create Prototype, and Highlight/Fix. This artifact may include your prototype itself, but should not be your prototype alone as this would not represent all three of the above phases. Artifact ideas might include

  • video
  • piece of art
  • blog or website chronicling your process and learning
  • piece of music
  • photography portfolio.

Violence, nudity, and other explicit content will not be accepted.

Will all round 2 projects be approved to move on to round 3?

Yes! Students whose projects were approved at the end of round one who also turn in artifacts for round two will be approved to move on to round three.

How soon will I receive feedback on my artifact before moving on to round three?

This will depend on the volume of entries we receive, but our goal is to send you feedback within 1 week, giving you about two weeks to work on round three.

Round 3 (Reflection & Video):


April 15, 2018, 11:59 pm MST


The goal for round 3 is for you to LAUNCH your project with your community! Once you receive round two feedback, you will have about two weeks to launch your project with an authentic community audience (during which, we’d like you to take a video of yourself working so we can share with future students) and to submit a final reflection.

Your final reflection will include:

  • Descriptions of what you would improve with more time, new skills or concepts you’ve acquired, and what you’ve learned about yourself based on the experience.
  • How your project is achieving one of the following three focus areas (see pages 2-3 of this Ford Institute for Community Building handout for details):
    • Increasing connections: “Communities foster more supportive, caring, inclusive and lasting relationships among people and across groups.”
    • Building capacity: “Move community work forward efficiently and effectively. Acquire a new skill set, use data for decision making, have enough and the right people power, or expand the ability to access and develop funding and other resources.”
    • Taking community-led action: “Can create powerful results when done inclusively and in alignment with community values and vision. Sometimes Action is tried and true. Other times there are risks, experimentation and innovation.”
  • How you would obtain funding to take your project to the next level (whether or not your project is selected as the top recipient to receive $5,000 project funding, we want to know your plan for moving forward financially to help your project make the largest possible impact; and even if selected, your project may necessitate obtaining additional funding anyway, depending on its scope).
  • A video of yourself working on your project (no more than 8 minutes)

Submission Deadline:

Click here to submit your Round 3 reflection (you MUST have submitted your Round 1 proposal and received approval to move on to Round 2, AND you must have submitted your Round 2 artifact).


Can my video include my reflection?

If you feel you can more compellingly fulfill the reflection requirements through your video (ie, adding voice-over narration), you are welcome to do so. Just make sure that:

1, The video shows yourself working on the project, and

2, You still submit the reflection form, ensuring that your answers to the reflection questions are included in your video.

How soon will I hear back on the winners after the deadline?

This will depend on the volume of entries we receive, but our goal is to have awardees selected by mid-May 2018.

What format should my video Be?

Upload your video to Youtube or Google Drive and share with us the link in the reflection submission form.

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto