This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

Race to the Top Commencement Challenge: Winning the Future by Out-Educating the World

President Obama kicks off the 2011 Race to the Top Commencement Challenge! Watch the video and find out how your school can apply.

UPDATE: The deadline for the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge has been extended to March 11, 2011.  This post has been updated to reflect that change.


Today, the President launched his second annual Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. The 2011 Race to the Top Commencement Challenge invites public high schools across the country to demonstrate how their school best prepares them for college and a career, helping America win the future by out-educating our competitors, preparing today’s students for the jobs of tomorrow,  and achieving President Obama’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Last year, over 1000 schools applied and more than 170,000 people voted on short videos and essays from the six finalists.  President Obama selected the national winner from the three high schools with the highest average ratings (you can see all the 2010 finalists here).  This year, the President has renewed the challenge. 

In order to participate, schools are asked to submit an online application at  The application consists of three short essay questions, relevant supporting data, and an optional video that demonstrate how their school successfully prepares students for academic and career success.  Graduation rates, course offerings, and more will be used to select the winning school.      

The deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST.  Following the application deadline, the White House and Department of Education will select 6 finalists. Viacom, the Get Schooled Foundation and the White House will work with these six schools to create short videos that will be featured, along with the essay questions, on the White House web site. The public will then have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal. The President will select a national winner from these three and visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2011.  Senior administration officials will attend the commencements of the five runner-up schools. 

Learn more about Race to the Top.