THE LEARNING CHALLENGE

Designed by you. Led by you. Supported by GripTape.

APPLICATION GUIDELINES

  • You’re completely in charge of deciding what topic or skills you explore and how you do it.
  • Your learning doesn’t depend on school, so you can do this on your own outside of class time.
  • No more than 1/3 of your time in the Challenge is spent in adult-led experiences like classes, camp, or study abroad programs.
  • You can use your grant and complete your Challenge in 10 weeks.
  • You are between 15 and 19 years old.
  • You live or go to school in the U.S.

To see examples of past Challengers’ applications or for more details on how to get your application ready, check out Preparing Your Learning Challenge Application.

FrEquently asked questions

Is the GripTape Learning Challenge for real?

Yes! Check out our Challengers page to see what other youth have done, and our Youth Leadership Board page if you want to contact a Board member to ask more questions.

Is this only related to school or academics?
It doesn’t have to be! This is about your passions and interests, and you decide what and how you want to learn. Each Challenger decides for themselves, so your journey could be something tied to school or totally unrelated to academics — it’s up to you!
Does my learning journey have to be on a certain topic?
No — it’s completely up to you.
How do I determine how long I need for my project?

You have up to 10 weeks to complete your Challenge, but you could also finish it sooner if this is what you decide. And, of course, you can keep pursuing your learning independently for as long as you want!

How can I use my grant?

It’s up to you, but here are some examples of what former Challengers have used it for:

  • purchased a plane ticket to Atlanta to interview and learn from a plastic surgeon
  • purchased equipment, like cameras, microphones, or material for making clothing
  • booked studio time to record music
  • bought books
  • paid for conference fees and the bus ticket to get there
  • purchased wires, lights, and other hardware to build a lighting system
  • bought every part — hardware and software — needed to assemble a computer
  • bought materials to invent a new soldering tool
  • paid for business license fees
  • paid fees for an intellectual property lawyer
  • covered fees to host a website 
  • purchased access for a month to the top psychology research website
How long do I have to spend the $500?
You have to spend your grant by the time your Challenge is completed.
What if I want to do something that costs more than $500?
  • You can take the $500 and begin your learning journey, and once the Challenge is over, you can branch off to other avenues.
  • You can do part of your Challenge using the $500 and then have someone else help with the rest of it.
  • You can fundraise additional money through GripTape’s partnership with DonorsChoose. To learn more, check out the DonorsChoose Student-Led Projects page.
  • You can modify your learning journey so it stays within the $500 GripTape offers.
Can the $500 be used to pay other people for services or items?
Yes, but no more that ⅓ of the time you give to your Learning Challenge can be spent in adult-led experiences like classes. This is an opportunity for you to lead!
Can the money be used for travel?
Yes — you decide how to use the grant!
What if I don’t think I’m qualified to do this? I don’t think I have the skill, and I’ve never had this opportunity before.
  • There aren’t requirements to become a Challenger, just a desire and willingness to learn.
  • This is for every young person. We purposely and specifically support young people of all different backgrounds because we want all youth to be successful.
  • When we review applications, we’re interested in how passionate you are about your topic and how pursuing this passion is linked to your success. Your learning journey is NOT about your school performance.
  • You can submit your application in lots of different formats, including a poem, song, video, essay, or PowerPoint. Just follow the instructions on our online application.
What if I’m not yet 15 years old?

You have to be 15 when you apply to the Learning Challenge.

Do I have to do the Challenge on my own, or can I do it with friends?

You can apply for the Challenge on your own or as part of a team of up to 3 members. If you become a Challenger, you can involve others. This is your decision.

What will make my application stand out?
  • Passion: You have to be able to tell us what you’re passionate about and why — do not apply unless you really want to do this!
  • Success: Explain how this learning is tied to your success, now or in the future.
  • Learning: We need to know what you’re going to learn, not just what you want to do.
What happens next if I’m selected to become a GripTape Challenger?
  • You’ll get an email or text inviting you to become a Challenger, and you need to reply within 24 hours.
  • We’ll send an email with instructions about a few things you need to do, like taking a survey and setting up an account on our youth-to-youth online learning community known as the Youth Squad.
  • Your GripTape Champion — an adult who will check in throughout your Challenge — will reach out to set up your first video call to talk about your learning goals, plans, and grant. You’ll also schedule regular check-in dates and times with your Champion.
  • We’ll send your grant in the form you choose (direct deposit, check, Visa gift card, or USPS money order).
  • You can get started on your Learning Challenge anytime!
Do youth stay involved with GripTape once the Challenge is over?
Once you’re part of GripTape, you’ll have access to a new community that will never go away. If you want to continue to connect with other Challengers or the GripTape team, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so — we’re a family.

MORE QUESTIONS?

Email us at griptape.applications@americaachieves.org. Click here to find email addresses for members of our Youth Leadership Board, and they’re happy to answer your questions too!