DREAM Big for College

The national conversation about community college student success and completion often includes elected officials, policy-makers, and practioners. Students are at the center of the education reform movement, yet their voice is often missing from the conversation.  

Achieving the Dream is engaging students in the national conversation through a new student-centered campaign called "DREAM Big for College." The campaign leverages multiple platforms (Facebook and Twitter) to fast-track students' voices directly to the ear of influencers. Through DREAM Big for College, the nation is hearing from students about what it takes for them to stay in college and earn their certificate or degree.

Launched in 2012 in conjunction with a T-shirt design contest and a student video contest, the campaign continues to leverage prize contests that engage students’ artistic and creative talents as they share their inspiring stories of triumph and hope, and provide their important perspective into the national reform movement.

3rd Annual DREAM Big for College Student Design Contest - 2014

After receiving over 30 submissions to our 3rd Annual DREAM Big for College Design Contest, we were pleased to announce that Carly Bell from Guilford Technical Community College had been selected as the grand prize winner.  

Carly received a $1,000 scholarship, and her design was featured on 1,800 T-shirts that will be provided for attendees of DREAM 2014: The Achieving the Dream Annual Institute of Student Success, the annual convening of the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network.

Contestants were encouraged to:

  • Inspire
  • Inform
  • Connect
  • Align with Achieving the Dream’s mission
  • Recognize Achieving the Dream’s 10-year anniversary

The winning design was selected by a panel of Achieving the Dream judges from a submission pool of the top 10 voted student submissions on Facebook. The judges based their decisions on the design's creativity, originality, and demonstration of the theme.

Past Contest: 

2nd Annual DREAM Big for College Student Design Contest - 2013

The Second Annual DREAM Big for College Student Design Contest was hosted on Achieving the Dream’s Facebook page, asked students at Achieving the Dream Institutions to create an image that evokes the overall theme of the contest, which is “DREAM Big for College.” Submissions should express creativity and initiative, and encourage other students to “finish what they start” in order to earn a college certificate or degree.

The student with the winning design received a $1,000 scholarship and the design was featured on the bags given to all 1,500 attendees of DREAM 2013, the annual convening of the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network. Here is the winning design by Alexander Rey from Miami Dade College

DREAM Big for College and Your Future - Contest

Achieving the Dream, in partnership with GOOD and GOOD Maker, challenged community college students enrolled in Achieving the Dream Colleges nationwide to tell their stories for the chance to win one of three scholarships. The video challenge asked students: “What is your dream job and how is your college helping you get there?” and encouraging students at participating colleges to submit informal videos that tell of personal obstacles, inspiration, and connection to the programs offered to support graduation goals.

Achieving the Dream challenged students to tell their story in a three minute video.  Made possible through partnerships with ISKME, CompletionMatters.org and StudentMentor.org, the contest asked students “What is keeping your dream of graduating alive?” Jessica Curtis, a student at Prince George's Community College in Maryland, was named Grand Prize Winner and received a $1,500 scholarship for her video focusing on advising, counseling, and tutoring services at her college.

DREAM Big for College T-Shirt Contest - 2012

The theme for the T-Shirt contest was “DREAM Big for College” which has been the larger mantra of the campaign to engage more students in the national conversation about student success and completion. Laura Shaler and Levi Miller beat out nearly 100 other students to have their design featured on two limited edition T-Shirts given to attendees at DREAM (Achieving the Dream's Annual Convening on Student Success)


  • 2013 Student Videos from Georgia Piedmont Technical College that were not included in the official 2013 DREAM Big for College and Your Future contest:






  • Grand Prize Winner: 

    Alexander Rey, Miami Dade College

    "I know how to work hard to achieve a dream, and my design was just a representation of my life and the process I've been going through in order to achieve my dream of become a graphic designer."
    —Alexander Rey


    Other 2013 Student Designs:


  • Grand Prize Winner: 

    Melissa Leon, South Texas College
    “STC has been supporting me since the day I moved to this country and had to learn an entirely new language. Today, I am in two honor societies and taking honor classes. Because of all their help I believe I have the potential to reach my dreams of developing a mental health center.”



    2nd Place:

    Jessica Kranson, St. Clair County Community College
    “My dream job is to be a Nurse Practitioner. By SC4 helping me now, I will be able to return the favor tenfold by helping others in the future. I have proudly achieved a paradigm shift- once a student working 50 hours a week, I now attend school and study 50 hours a week so I can reach my goals.”


    3rd Place:

    Chipo Moyo, Tarrant County College

    “To open a School of the Arts in Southern Africa, and devote my time and talent to pouring inspiration and hope to those that are broken, poor, hopeless or have a dream...and to continue to Flourish in every area of my life...Tarrant County College is helping me by preparing me academically.”

    Remainder of the Top Ten:


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