Do I have to be a U.S. citizen? Are international students studying in the United States eligible to apply?
All applicants must be located in the United States or Puerto Rico when they apply, but U.S. citizenship is not an eligibility requirement. International students studying in the United States are eligible for the challenge.
Do I need a teammate in order to apply?
No, you do not need a teammate in order to apply; this year individuals are eligible to apply. If you win and you would like to bring a teammate to the Changemaker Lab, you are able to do so if you share their contact information during registration for the Changemaker Lab, which starts in August.
My idea/project was started by a team of multiple people. Can I submit our idea and how many applications should we submit?
Yes, please submit your idea! Only one application per initiative and per person will be accepted. One person in your team should submit an application and that should be the only application that is submitted for your idea. If your project is selected as one of the fifteen finalist ideas, then the person who created the application and one other team member will be invited to the all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile HQ for the multi-day Changemaker Lab.
Is it okay if I have teammates outside of the age range?
Yes; however, all applicants must be within the specified age range (13-18) at the time of the application deadline (8:59 PM PT/11:59PM ET, May 18, 2023) and if you win and you choose to bring a teammate to the Changemaker Lab, that individual must also be within the specified age range at the time of the application deadline.
Where do I put the information of my teammate on the application?
You will not be putting the information of your teammate on the application. If your idea/initiative is chosen as one of the 15 finalist ideas and you are invited to the Changemaker Lab, you will share your teammate's contact information during registration of the Changemaker Lab, which starts in August.
I am living in the US, but my project supports a community abroad. Is that okay?
Yes! All applicants must be located in the United States or Puerto Rico. However, your project can support any community around the world. In your application, share with us why you care about this community and how you are connected.
I won the Changemaker Challenge last year. Am I eligible to apply?
No. Past winners and Lab participants are not eligible to apply again, even with a new idea.
I applied to the Changemaker Challenge last year but didn’t win. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes! If you’ve applied to the Changemaker Challenge in the past but were not a winning team, you are welcome and encouraged to apply again.
I won one of Ashoka's other youth challenges. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes! Winners of Ashoka's other youth challenges who fall within the age range are welcome and encouraged to apply.
How does the application process work?
Applications are submitted through this online platform. To apply, create an account and click the "+ Add Idea" button underneath the header banner. This will prompt you to submit your project or innovation. You can submit and continue to edit your entry up until the final application deadline (8:59 PM PT/11:59 PM ET on May 18, 2023).
I published my entry but see a typo. Can you help me fix it?
You can make edits up until our entry deadline of May 18, 2023, at 8:59 PM PT/11:59 PM ET. To do that, first make sure you are logged in and click on the button "Edit" on the right side of the page above the timeline, then click on the name of the task you wish to edit (e.g. "About your project"). Now click on the 3-dot icon in the corner of the card, select the "Edit" option, and make your edits. Done! No need to re-submit your application, you just have to do it once.
Remember, all published entries will be locked as of 8:59 PM PT/11:59 PM ET on May 18, 2023. To allow for the most fair and equitable review process, you will not be able to make any edits after the deadline.
Which category (Digital Empowerment, Thriving Planet, Equity in Action) should I choose?
Choose whichever category aligns best with your project! You can change this up until the application deadline if you think you made the wrong choice. After the deadline, Ashoka and T-Mobile reviewers may move your entry into a different category if they think it is appropriate to do so. This will not affect your chances of winning.
Is the Changemaker Lab in-person? When is it?
We are currently planning for an in-person event in October 2023. If necessary, we will adjust the Lab dates or transition to a virtual event. We're working really hard to create an amazing experience for everyone involved!
My YouTube video is really low-resolution. What should I do?
When uploading to YouTube, a low-resolution video is uploaded first. The resolution will improve, but it usually takes a few hours to do so. Be patient! Regardless, you won’t be penalized for the resolution of your video.
What type of photos are you looking for me to upload?
This is up to you! We love seeing your project in action. Be sure you have permission from anyone in the photo before you upload it and remember that all images uploaded are in the public portion of the application. This means that images will be visible to all viewers of the entry page.
Can my team members edit my entry on the challenge platform?
No. The platform does not currently allow multiple people to edit the same entry.
I can't make the dates for the Changemaker Lab. Can I still apply?
Yes, as long as someone else from your team, within the eligible age range, can attend the Lab in its entirety in your place.
Do I need to have a pre-existing project in order to apply?
Nope! Brand new ideas are welcome.
Who do the diversity questions refer to?
The diversity questions refer to the primary representative of your project. These questions are optional and are meant to help us continue to improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
I received the early entry prize. Does this mean that I'm a top-15 finalist?
Winning the early entry prize does not guarantee that you will be a top 15 finalist. But it does mean that you get $1,000 in seed funding to support your project!
Do I have to be a T-Mobile customer to apply to this challenge?
Nope. Anyone ages 13-18 in the United States or Puerto Rico is welcome to apply.
Who should I include as my project references? Do my references need to be T-Mobile employees?
References should be adults who know you well and are familiar with your idea or project. They do not need to be T-Mobile employees. At least one of your references should be a parent or guardian. Teachers and mentors can also be great references. Just be sure to ask them if they’re willing to be a reference before including their contact information so that they’re not surprised when we contact them!
What information will be asked of the references?
We will send a short survey link to references asking them about your role in the initiative and the impact you have had. It should take less than 10 minutes for your references to complete. Should we have additional questions, we may reach out to a reference via phone.
Can participants complete the application process without specifying references or can they change references?
No, you cannot submit an application without references. If you would like to change references before the application deadline, you are welcome to do so by simply editing your application; you cannot, however, change your references after the application deadline, so make sure you speak to them before putting their names down.
When will references be contacted?
References are contacted after the final deadline. We will let you know if we have any trouble getting in touch with them!
Do we need letters of recommendation?
We will send your references a short form to fill out. They do not need to write a letter or recommendation.
Is there a word limit?
There is a character limit for each question. When answering these questions, we suggest you use as many words as you feel necessary to capture to answer the question – sometimes less can be more!
I want to schedule an information session for my program/class/school – who should I contact?
We would love to host a group information session if potential applicants are unable to attend the scheduled sessions or during support sessions! Reach out to us at [email protected] to coordinate with our outreach team.
How can I see the other projects that have been submitted?
You need to be registered to see the projects. Once you log in, you can click on the “Projects” tab to see published projects.
I have more questions – who should I contact?