Scientific evidence makes it clear that a strong sense of purpose—a personal commitment to a meaningful goal that is of consequence to the wider world—is linked to improved health, well-being, and success. But this news, along with the latest knowledge of key contributors to developing purpose, hasn’t broadly reached the public.

Enter the Purpose Challenge, a free online toolkit aimed at high school students in the process of applying to col­lege.

The assembled team behind the Purpose Challenge includes experts who have spent decades researching purpose, as well as specialists in psychology, education, youth development, and social impact. The Purpose Challenge toolkit features activities designed to help students not only explore and identify their purpose but also infuse what they learn about themselves into their 2017-2018 college applications.

What’s our purpose in creating this free resource? We believe that students who develop a clear sense of purpose will produce stronger college essays and applications. They may also get a better idea of where they want to apply or which school to choose to attend. Their college experience will help them move forward on the path to fulfilling their purpose. And the more people out there pursuing their highest purpose, the better off the world will be.


The Greater Good Science Center – University of California, Berkeley

The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. Based at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the world’s leading institutions of research and higher education, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: Not only does it sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, it helps people apply this research to their personal and professional lives.

Since 2001, it has been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior—the science of a meaningful life. And it has been without peer in its efforts to translate and disseminate this science to the public, including through the award-winning online magazine, Greater Good.


ProSocial is a social impact consulting firm with a focus on entertainment media as a key driver in culture shift and public engagement. Its clients are leading foundations, media distributors, nonprofits, educational institutions, and global brands. Founded in 2007 by award-winning public interest attorney and social entrepreneur Meredith Blake, the agency creates philanthropic initiatives and social-impact campaigns grounded in research and with an eye toward sustainability. Through services spanning strategy, communications, campaign organizing, project management, and outreach, ProSocial expands audience reach and maximizes impact.

Kendall Cotton Bronk, Claremont Graduate University

Kendall Cotton Bronk is an associate professor of psychology at the Claremont Graduate University. She is a developmental scientist interested in understanding and supporting the positive development and moral growth of young people. Most recently, she has investigated these topics through the lens of young people’s purposes in life.

Her research has explored the relationship between purpose and healthy growth, the ways young people discover purpose, and the developmental trajectory of youth with strong commitments to various purposes in life. Work in her Adolescent Moral Development lab is currently focused on creating and testing interventions for fostering purpose among young people, on understanding the development of purpose among marginalized youth, and on learning how global political and economic events influence young people’s view of the future and their role in it. Her work has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation.

After graduating with a BS from Northwestern University, Bronk earned her doctorate from Stanford University and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Stanford Center on Adolescence.


The John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind. It supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and emergence to creativity, forgiveness, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians, as well as between such experts and the public at large. In all cases, the goal is the same: to spur curiosity and accelerate discovery.