Invent Your Own College!

We've made some suggestions for reinventing higher education. Now show us yours.

October 15, 2012

If you could start your own institution of higher education from scratch, what would you build?

Sketch out your idea—in prose or poetry, a picture, a video, or even a song—and send it to us at

Chronicle editors will select at least five finalists and publish their entries. Then readers will have a chance to vote for the best idea. If you win, you'll get $500.

Official Contest Rules

Change in Contest Rules (10/15/2012, 5:36 p.m.): The Contest is open to group entries. An earlier version of these rules stated that group entries were not permitted. The rules have been changed below to reflect that group entries are permitted.


1. DESCRIPTION. If you could start your own institution of higher education from scratch, what would you build? Sketch out your idea—in prose or poetry, a picture, a video, or even a song.

2. CONTEST SPONSOR. The Build Your Own College Contest ("the Contest") is sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education ("the "Sponsor").

3. HOW TO ENTER. The Contest begins at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time on October 15, 2012, and entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 1, 2012. Selection of five finalists will begin immediately thereafter, and readers will be given one week to vote for a winner beginning as soon as finalists are posted online.

To enter, e-mail your original idea or a summary in the body of the e-mail, and a YouTube or Flickr link to any audio, video, or image to Entries with attachments will be automatically disqualified. There is no fee to submit an entry. By submitting an entry to the Contest, each entrant agrees to comply with and be bound by these Official Rules and acknowledges that the decisions of the Sponsor shall be final and binding in all matters relating to the Contest.

4. QUALIFIED ENTRIES. To be qualified for the Contest, an entry must include only one (1) written entry, picture, video, or song, describing the college the entrant would invent. Group entries are allowed, but submissions must identify one individual who will receive the prize if the entry wins.

Entries must (a) be in the English language; (b) be no longer than 500 words or, in the case of a song or video, no longer than three minutes in duration; (c) be wholly the original work of the entrant, created solely by the entrant; (d) not be copied from any other source; (e) not have been previously published or otherwise distributed or disseminated in any media or format; (f) not be in the public domain; (g) not be in violation of or conflict with the trademark, copyright, rights of privacy, rights of publicity, or any other rights, of any kind or nature, of any other person or entity; and (h) not include any language or other content that is indecent, inappropriate, morally objectionable, or otherwise unfit for dissemination or broadcast, as determined by the SPONSOR in its sole discretion. Contestants submitting videos must have permission of all individuals who appear in video. Entries not satisfying these criteria in any respect will be disqualified. If the SPONSOR, in its sole discretion, has reason to believe that any entry contains any material that may infringe or violate any law or any rights of a third party, or that the use or publication of such entry in the manner described herein may infringe or violate any law or any rights of a third party, the SPONSOR may immediately disqualify such entry and take any other measures the SPONSOR may deem appropriate without notification to entrant.

5. ELIGIBILITY. The Contest is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States who are age 18 and over. Any individuals who have, within six (6) months prior to the start date of the Contest or thereafter, been employed by or performed services (including but not limited to as employees, consultants, independent contractors, or interns) for the SPONSOR or any of its subsidiary, affiliated, or successor companies, and immediate family and household members of such individuals, are not eligible to enter or win. The SPONSOR reserves the right to verify and confirm entrants' ages and compliance with other eligibility requirements. Entrants may be required to submit further information to assist in the judges' verification of eligibility.

6. WINNER SELECTION. Judging will commence at the time the Contest begins and continue until all entries submitted prior to the Contest end time have been reviewed. The Contest judges shall be Chronicle employees. The judges will select at least five (5) finalists, based on the following criteria, weighted equally: (a) originality; (b) creativity; and (c) overall execution. Entries from the five finalists will be published online, and readers will be invited to vote for their favorites by clicking “like” online. Readers may “like” as many entries as they wish, but may not vote more than once for any entry. The entry with the most votes will be the one (1) Contest Winner. In the event of a tie, the panel of Chronicle judges will choose the winner. The Contest Winner will be notified by phone or e-mail on or about November 19, 2012. The SPONSOR may, at its sole discretion, ask for the Contest Winner’s name, address, or other information to verify eligibility. If the Contest Winner does not reply to any notification within forty-eight (48) hours, or fails to return any required documentation within five (5) business days of delivery to the Contest Winner, such Contest Winner may, in the sole discretion of the SPONSOR, be disqualified and an alternate Contest Winner may be selected, based on second-highest total of votes. Other non-winning entrants will not be contacted.

Odds of winning depends on the number and quality of eligible entries received, and the number of votes cast during the contest period. Decisions with respect to any issues regarding the Contest including, but not limited to, the selection of the winner, awards, or the number of votes submitted or received shall be determined by the SPONSOR at its sole discretion.

7. PRIZE. One (1) Contest Winner will receive a check for $500.00 U.S. Only one prize will be awarded per entrant. The winning entry will also be featured on and, if written, in the print edition of The Chronicle. No substitution, cash redemption, or transfer of right to receive prizes is permitted, except in the discretion of the SPONSOR, which reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. Prize consists only of items expressly specified in these Official Rules.

8. GRANT OF RIGHTS. By submitting an entry, the entrant grants to the SPONSOR a non-exclusive, assignable, perpetual license to display, produce, publish, distribute, transmit, exhibit, exploit, and license the entry and any portions thereof in any format (collectively "distribute" or "distribution," as applicable) by any and all means, uses, and media, whether audio, print, audiovisual, or otherwise, now or hereafter known, throughout the universe in all languages. Entrant further agrees that the SPONSOR shall have the first right to distribute the entry unless the SPONSOR waives that right, in writing; provided that, the SPONSOR's first right to distribute shall automatically expire on April 20, 2013. Entrant retains the copyright and all other rights in the work.

9. ENTRANT REPRESENTATIONS, WARRANTIES, INDEMNIFICATION, AND RELEASE. By entering, each entrant represents and warrants to the SPONSOR that his/her entry is (i) completely the original work of the entrant and was created solely by the entrant, (ii) not copied from any other source or previously broadcast or otherwise distributed or disseminated in any media or format, (iii) not in the public domain, and (iv) not in violation of or conflict with the trademark, copyright, rights of privacy, rights of publicity, or any other rights, of any kind or nature, of any other person or entity. Entrant agrees to defend and indemnify the SPONSOR for any breach of the above representations. By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to indemnify, defend, release, discharge, and hold harmless the SPONSOR and its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, promotional partners, and agents, and all others associated with the development and execution of this Contest, and the officers, directors, and employees of each of the foregoing, from any and all claims and liabilities arising from or in connection with participation in this Contest, including without limitation (a) claims for injury, loss, or damage of any kind resulting from participation in this Contest or acceptance or use of any prize and (b) claims based on rights of privacy, rights of publicity, false light, defamation, copyright, and/or trademark infringement relating to the submission or exploitation of the entrant's concept.

10. RELEASE OF CLAIMS. Each entrant acknowledges that the SPONSOR engages and has engaged in the developing, writing, acquiring, producing, publishing, disseminating, and/or broadcasting of literary, artistic, and other material, including stories, ideas, themes, plots, titles, treatments, formats, and concepts (collectively, the "Materials"). By submitting an entry in the Contest, each entrant acknowledges and agrees that any Materials that the SPONSOR may hereafter use or exploit may have originated with the SPONSOR or may have been acquired from the SPONSOR's employees or other parties, and that such Materials may duplicate, parallel, or resemble the entry submitted in the Contest by the entrant. By submitting an entry, each entrant acknowledges that he or she understands and agrees that the SPONSOR's use of Materials containing features, ideas, material, and/or elements similar to or identical with those contained in their entry shall not entitle the entrant to any compensation whatsoever. As an inducement to the SPONSOR to accept the entrant's entry into the Contest, each entrant hereby waives any claim or right of action against any of the SPONSOR or their successors in connection with the SPONSOR's use of any Materials (or any portions thereof), whether or not such Materials contain any features, ideas, material, and/or elements similar or identical to those contained in an entrant's entry.

11. GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS. By entering the Contest, each entrant grants permission to the SPONSOR to use his/her name, photograph, likeness, voice, and/or biographical information for the SPONSOR's programming, publication, publicity, advertising, and all other promotional purposes without compensation, review, or approval. The SPONSOR reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify, withdraw, suspend, or terminate this contest at any time without prior notice for any reason. The SPONSOR is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, incomplete, damaged, mutilated, misdirected, misdelivered, or delayed entries, or for technical or human errors or failures of any kind in connection with the submission, transmission, processing, or judging of entries.

12. GOVERNING LAW. This Contest is governed by the internal laws of the District of Columbia without regard to principles of conflict of laws. All cases and claims pertaining to this Contest must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in the District of Columbia.