This a great Toolkit that has had a big impact on my life! It has helped me realize exactly who I want to be and where I’m trying to get to in life.

—Eva Cho, student

What does purpose mean? Having a sense of purpose means being committed to something that is meaningful to you but also makes a difference to something bigger than yourself. How you want to leave your mark on the world and make it a better place, how you want your life to have mattered . . . that’s what purpose is.

What’s so great about purpose? It might be easy to guess that people who have a strong sense of purpose in life tend to be happier, more motivated, and less stressed. Because they’re working towards something they really care about, they find studying and homework more meaningful, do better at school, enjoy their jobs more, and even live longer!

So how can I find purpose? Even if you don’t feel very purposeful right now, odds are there are lots of things in your life that you can use to build a sense of purpose. This toolkit will help you think about things like what matters most to you, what your most important goals are, and what you can do to work towards them. Here are some examples of the activities you’ll have the chance to do.

  • Watch and reflect on a video of a celebrity talking about what matters most to him
  • Imagine and write about what your life will ideally be like when you’re 40
  • Rank different values according to how important they are to you
  • Design a tattoo that symbolizes what’s most important to you

At the end, you will have the opportunity to write an essay about purpose in your life. This is something you could use as a college essay, but not only that—you can also enter it in a drawing to win up to $25,000 in college scholarships!

  • 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 you log in, you’ll likely spend about 15-20 minutes completing the online activities. Between these times, we hope you’ll reflect on the activities and your thoughts about them.

    Can I complete these activities on my phone?

    Yes, everything you need will be available online, and you can complete the purpose-fostering activities using your phone, a tablet, or a computer. However, we recommend you write the final essay on a computer to facilitate the typing process.

    What kinds of activities will I complete?

    The activities are designed to help you think deeply about the things that matter most to you and what it is that you want to accomplish in your lives. To that end, activities include sending emails, writing responses, viewing brief video clips, responding to quotations, and sorting value statements. We’ve tried to create a set of activities that is both thought provoking and fun to complete.

    Do you have to be a senior in high school to do the Purpose Challenge?

    The toolkit is intended for high school seniors. Others are welcome to explore its purpose-fostering activities, but the college-essay guidance won’t be as relevant to them. Only high school seniors graduating in 2018 are eligible to submit an essay for prize consideration.

  • 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.


    Share the Purpose Challenge with your friends!

  • What is the contest, and what are the prizes?

    The Purpose Challenge online toolkit involves the opportunity to enter a contest by submitting a college essay you write based on provided guidelines, including a description of a personal long-term goal and what motivates you to achieve it. One grand-prize winner will be awarded a $25,000 scholarship for college, and five second-place winners will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship.

    Who is eligible?

    The contest is open to U.S. residents who are high school seniors at least 16 years old, who are planning to attend college in the fall of 2018 and who have parent/guardian permission to enter.

    How do you enter?

    Once you’ve completed the Purpose Challenge, write a college-admissions essay based on the prompts and tips it provides. While logged in to your online toolkit, you can submit your essay and other requested information by no later than February 1, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

    When are winners notified?

    Potential winners (subject to verification of eligibility and timely return of requested forms) are notified by email and telephone on or about Monday, March 5, 2018.

    Click here to learn more >>