Your extracurriculars are the second-most important part of your college application after your grades. Top universities are looking for candidates who have meaningful extracurriculars and who have invested time and energy in projects that interest them. It is important to showcase your interests through your extracurricular activities and developing a passion project is a great way to explore your interests while enhancing your college application. Here we outline ten ideas that you could explore in high school.
What is a passion project?
A passion project is a personal project that someone undertakes out of a strong interest or curiosity in a particular topic, idea, or skill. It is usually a self-directed project that is not tied to any specific academic or professional requirement. Passion projects can take many forms, including creative endeavors, community initiatives, research projects, or personal challenges.
Pursuing a passion project can also be a deeply fulfilling and rewarding experience that fosters personal growth and self-awareness. It can boost confidence, build resilience, and encourage you to take ownership of your own learning and personal development. They provide a space for creativity, innovation, and personal growth, and can help individuals stand out in the competitive college application space.
What are the benefits of pursuing a passion project for college applicants?
For college applicants, pursuing a passion project can have several benefits, including:
- Demonstrating commitment: Pursuing a passion project shows commitment and dedication to a particular interest or cause. This can be attractive to college admissions committees, as it demonstrates an ability to pursue goals outside of traditional academic settings and can show a willingness to take initiative.
- Showcasing skills: Whether it's learning a new programming language, developing a volunteer program, or honing a creative craft, passion projects can be a great way to showcase skills and talents that may not be reflected in academic transcripts or test scores. For example, if you have a passion for filmmaking and have created a short film, this project can showcase skills in storytelling, cinematography, and editing.
- Standing out in the application process: Passion projects can help you stand out in the application process. College admissions committees often see a lot of applications from students with similar academic profiles, so a passion project can help you differentiate yourself from other candidates.
- Building a portfolio: Pursuing a passion project can help you build a portfolio of work that demonstrates your skills and accomplishments that may not be reflected in academic credentials. This can be useful in showcasing experience and expertise to potential colleges or future employers.
- Showing personal growth: Pursuing a passion project can demonstrate personal growth and development. It shows that you are willing to take risks and pursue interests outside of your comfort zone, which can be an attractive quality to colleges.
- Exploring interests: Passion projects allow you to explore and delve deeper into areas of personal interest that may not be covered in traditional academic settings. This can lead to a deeper understanding of a particular subject and can even spark new interests or career paths.
- Enhancing creativity: Passion projects provide a space for creativity and innovation. You can approach your projects in unconventional ways, experiment with new ideas, and take risks without the pressure of academic expectations.
Brainstorming Ideas for Passion Projects
Brainstorming passion project ideas requires a combination of self-reflection, community awareness, and creativity. By considering personal interests, community needs, and current trends, you can create projects that align with your passions and make a positive impact.
Here are some tips for high schoolers to brainstorm passion project ideas:
- Reflect on personal interests: Start by thinking about what you are passionate about. Consider your hobbies, extracurricular activities, and things that you enjoy doing in your free time. Think about how you can turn these interests into a project that can benefit others.
- Identify gaps in the community: Look for gaps or needs in your community that you can address through a passion project. This could be something as simple as starting a community garden or as complex as creating a program to address mental health issues in your school. By identifying needs in your community, you can create a project that not only satisfies your interests but also benefits others.
- Research current trends: Keep up to date with current trends and events that are happening in your area or globally. Look for opportunities to create a project that addresses a current issue or trend. For example, if you are passionate about environmental sustainability, you could create a project that addresses the issue of plastic waste in your community.
- Consider skills and talents: Consider your skills and talents when brainstorming passion project ideas. Think about how you can use your existing skills to create a project that aligns with your passions. For example, if you are skilled in graphic design, you could create a social media campaign to raise awareness about a particular issue.
- Collaborate with others: Collaborate with others to generate passion project ideas. Brainstorm with friends, family members, or peers who share similar interests. You can also reach out to community organizations or local businesses to identify opportunities for collaboration.
- Think about your college goals: Consider how your passion project can align with your college goals. Think about how your project can demonstrate your leadership skills, creativity, and commitment to a particular cause. This can help you stand out in the college application process.
10 Passion Project Ideas for High Schoolers
Here are 10 passion project ideas that you can consider. Remember, these are just ideas to get you started.
- Organizing a school-wide fundraiser to support a local charity or nonprofit organization.
- Creating a website or blog to promote mental health awareness and provide resources for students.
- Starting a tutoring program to help younger students in your school with their academic studies.
- Launching a recycling program in your school to promote sustainability and reduce waste.
- Developing a social media campaign to raise awareness about a social issue or advocacy cause.
- Creating a mural or art installation to beautify a public space or raise awareness about an issue.
- Starting a school garden to promote sustainable living and healthy eating habits.
- Hosting a community service event, such as a park clean-up or food drive, to support local organizations.
- Writing and publishing a book or blog about a personal experience, hobby, or topic that you are passionate about.
- Developing a mobile app or software program that solves a common problem or provides a useful service.
How can Crimson help?
At Crimson we provide a wide range of extracurricular resources that will help you develop your passion project and foster your interests. If you are a middle schooler interested in developing your social entrepreneurship or debating skills, Crimson Rise is the right place for you. With Indigo Research you can get 1:1 mentorship from top professors and PhDs to transform your academic passion into publishable research. If you are interested in an internship experience, Crimson Careers provides virtual work experience programs with leading global companies, like Uber, HSBC and Ferrari. If you are interested in traveling with some academic pursuit, Crimson Tours provides you with the opportunity to visit top US and UK universities. Finally, there are many more opportunities on our ECL page to suit every interest.