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November 18, 2011
Windows Phone Developer Blog

Do You Have What it Takes to be the Big App on Campus?

Attention US university students:  Have you ever dreamed of going to SXSW? Do you like pure, bad-a**rock & roll? Ever wanted an exclusive concert experience (backstage passes, dinner with the band)? Would you like to have an extra $15k in your pocket? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please read on to learn about Big App on Campus (BAOC).

As the academic guy for Windows Phone (that doesn’t mean I’m sporting a pipe and leather arm patches, although the arm patches are seemingly enjoying a bit of a come-back) I get to work with our team to create programs and experiences for our amazing student developers. Why students? Because they have unique insights, amazing passion, and are helping to shape the future.

Today I am thrilled to announce our Big App on Campus campaign! There’s a lot to win: two students will receive $15k each (money) and ten finalists (plus a guest of their choice) get to join The Gracious Few (bad-a**rock & roll and exclusive concert experience) in Austin next March for SXSW.

So let me share a bit more about the BAOC deets, timeline, rules, and how you enter.


What is Big App on Campus?

We see new, amazing experiences created every day by student developers and we wanted to come up with a way to return the favor: we are partnering with the band The Gracious Few (featuring members of the bands LIVE and Candlebox) to create an amazing experience for ten (10) US college students (and their guest) in Austin, TX at SXSW: attend a private concert, receive backstage passes, go to a private dinner with the band, and be interviewed on national radio about their apps.


(check out TGF’s video for Honest Man)


We’re topping all this off with two $15,000 cash awards (one for the top free app and another for the top paid app) for the two apps that will be named “Big App on Campus.”

BAOC is open to US College and University students who build apps for Windows Phone. Each app created from August 1st, 2011 until February 14th, 2012 can be entered and students can submit multiple entries.

<aside reason=”toAppeaseTheLawyers”>No Purchase Necessary. Open only to US university students 18+ who are legal residents of the U.S. and D.C. Submissions due 02/14/2012 and game ends 03/13/2012. For Official Rules, click here</aside>


Timeline & Judging Criteria

There are a few dates of note:

  • February 14, 2012 -> deadline for all entries to be submitted (and for you to buy chocolates and flowers for your Valentines)
  • February 15, 2012 -> Round 1: Judging to select 20 semi-finalists
  • February 23, 2012 -> Round 2: Public voting to select 10 finalists
  • March 1, 2012 -> Round 3: Public voting to select Big App on Campus
  • March 13-18, 2012 -> SXSW Music festival in Austin, TX

Every app submitted will be judged on three criteria:

  • Innovation (40%): How innovative is the app? Does it do something new or does it accomplish something in a new way?
  • Experience (40%): Does it feel seamless and like a native experience on Windows Phone? Does the app have a polished feel?
  • Potential (20%): Does the app have potential in the market (lots of users, making money, both) or not?

Public voting will include a combo of number of downloads of the app + “Likes” on Facebook. Semi-finalists will definitely want to think about how they can get their friends, family, fellow-students, and even complete strangers to download and “Like” their apps.


How to Enter

Obviously entering requires building & publishing an app. Each student must also complete the Official entry form (takes 49.7 seconds on average…I timed it and I’m no Usain Bolt when it comes to typing). Here’s what to do:

  1. Register for DreamSpark at and for an App Hub membership (both are free of charge for students) at Also check out our great Getting Started Guide for more info and resources.
  2. Create & publish a Windows Phone application to the Windows Phone Marketplace. Make the apps free, charge money, put ads in them…it’s up to you.
  3. Visit and complete an Official entry form. Do this after you’ve published your apps because you’ll need the App ID.

The full details are in the Official Rules so make sure you check them out.


With Thanksgiving next week we are entering the holiday time period. For most students in the US, that means wrapping up classes, eating some great food, and having some time off. The downtime is perfectly suited to working on apps. Build something great and you might find yourself and a friend joining The Gracious Few in Austin for an experience of a lifetime. You might even win the title of “Big App on Campus” and return home from Austin with an oversized check (sorry but we can’t pay out via big bags of money)


@benlower | [email protected] | +1 (206) 659-NINJA (6465)