FAQs, Details, & Submission Links

Design Thinking: Background & Examples

Our design thinking project requirements will be modeled after the Launch Cycle below. Watch the video for additional background.

via John Spencer

Examples & support:

Our scholarship committee, which consists of employees at Honors Graduation, will work to share personal applications with design thinking and community improvement on our Instagram page. Follow us at @honorsgradu.


View our checklist, which includes the details on our expectations for your community improvement project.

View the strategy plan, which will be required as part of your final application. If you would like to receive optional feedback before the final deadline, you will use this same form to send us your working strategy plan. 

Submission Links

OPTIONAL: Submit your working strategy plan and any other work to receive feedback by April 30, 2023.

Submit your final project application by May 28, 2023.


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 make sure you meet all of our scholarship requirements. 

What exactly is a prototype? 

A prototype is meant to showcase a specific action you have taken or an object/website you have created as a result of your questions & research. It should not be an essay or video of you explaining your project. Examples of previous awardees’ prototypes included (see more on their work here):

  • the website of an organization founded by the student
  • photos from a music mentoring program provided by the student
  • a detailed blueprint of alternative housing created by the student
  • a paper “phone” booklet the student created to help senior citizens learn digital skills
  • an object designed to help blind people navigate their surroundings via audio signals

See additional prototype examples from community projects conducted by our scholarship chair here & here.

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). 

Can I work with a group of students, sharing the scholarship award if selected?

You may work in a group of up to 3 students. We recognize that collaboration with peers may lend itself very naturally to certain projects. If selected, your scholarship award will be divided evenly among the group, and all names would appear with the project on our past winners’ page. The group should take measures to ensure each participant is an equal planner and executor of the project. Honors Graduation and HonorsGradU are not held responsible for disputes on the distribution of effort; disputes may lead to disqualification. 

How soon will I receive feedback on my strategy plan?

This will depend on the volume we receive, but our goal is to have that feedback back to you within 2 weeks, giving you about a month to apply feedback and finish your project. 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 your final submission!

Are there restrictions for my prototype?

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

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 notified by June 16, 2023.

What format should my video(s) Be?

Upload your video to YouTube or Google Drive and share with us the link in the reflection submission form. Please check share setting when sharing the link with us.

What are you looking for in final submissions?

1) The quality & quantity of work already completed
2) The potential for future long-term impact
3) General community relevance of the project
Finalists may also be asked for proposals on how they would use the $5,000 grant if selected as the top recipient, and the more specific those plans, the better (especially if they involve plans to seek additional funding or maximize the $5,000 toward your project in the long term)

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto