Students have REALLY enjoyed the Toolkit and it is exciting to think about giving more students across the nation an opportunity to be exposed to these ideas.

—Shannon Duffy, teacher from Texas

How can teachers help students cultivate purpose?

  • Encourage discussion and reflection related to purpose.
  • Ask students about their lives: What is important to you? What do you want to accomplish and be remembered for?
  • Integrate questions about purpose into the curriculum. For example, discuss the ethical dimensions of what is being learned. Encourage students to explore how the curriculum relates to their own values and goals.
  • Nurture the positive attitude, self-confidence, sense of responsibility, and “entrepreneurial spirit” (goal-setting, persistence, resilience, resourcefulness, etc.) that will enable students to turn their dreams into reality.
  • Talk with students about your own sense of purpose and what makes your life meaningful.
  • Encourage students to use the Purpose Challenge Toolkit to kick-start their thinking about purpose.
  • Try out the activities to get familiar with how to foster purpose.
  • FAQs

    How long will it take to complete the purpose-fostering activities?

    Students will log in four times over the next week or two. Each time they log in, they’ll likely spend about 15-20 minutes completing the online activities. Between these times, we hope they’ll reflect on the activities and their thoughts about them.

    Is the toolkit only available online?

    Yes, students work through the toolkit online, and they can complete the purpose-fostering activities using their phone, a tablet, or a computer. However, we recommend they write the final essay on a computer, to facilitate the typing process. Their completed purpose-fostering exercises are saved in the system and can be printed or emailed.

    What kinds of activities will students complete?

    The activities are designed to help students think deeply about the things that matter most to them and what it is that they want to accomplish in their lives. To that end, activities include sending emails, writing responses, viewing brief video clips, responding to quotations, and sorting value statements. The toolkit then provides step-by-step guidance on using these completed exercises to help write a college-application essay. We’ve tried to create a set of activities that is both thought provoking and fun to complete.


  • Imagine you are 40 years of age and things in your life have gone as well as you could have hoped. What will you be doing? Who will be in your life? What will be important to you? Why?

    Spend 5 minutes picturing your best possible future and 5 more minutes writing about it. Describe it in as much detail as possible.