Creating a Passion Project for College Admissions

Get the guidance you need to bring your passion project idea to fruition.

Date 01/10/2022

Webinar Transcription

2022-01-10 Creating a Passion Project for College Admissions

[00:00:00] Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s, webinar, creating a passion project for college admissions. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.

Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi. So I’m the Mckenzie Murray. I attend Cornell university and the class of 2024. So I am a current sophomore. Uh, I am now a human development major with minors in education, policy analysis, and then also inequality studies. And, um, I am doing all of this, um, and to become a high school counselor as well as to do, um, a youth program development.

And so today I want to talk a bit about passion projects and how you can use that to navigate your admissions process and how I use my passion projects to navigate my admissions process as well as just my [00:01:00] career planning overall.

Okay. So we are going to start before we jump right into learning more about how to create your passion project. We’re going to start with a poll. So we want to get a sense of. What grade are you in? So as you all are putting in your responses, um, McKenzie, I’m curious, I heard you, I heard you share a little bit about why human development, but I’m curious on, like, what kind of drew your interest in what an MBA counselor once you get done with college.

Yes. So, um, working, um, well, I’m going to talk a bit more about this later, but I started a college readiness club in my high school, my senior year. So that was sort of my. Initiation to college advising. But then before that, throughout high school, I did different projects on like gaps in education funding, and I took education classes.

And so I always knew I had an interest in education though. I initially was pre-med [00:02:00] and then, um, uh, after my first semester of college, I was talking to a counselor and she was telling me about her job. And I was like, oh, wow, that sounds interesting. And I found myself procrastinating doing my chemistry homework in order to do college advising for some people from my old high school.

And I was just kinda like, ah, that’s probably what I really want to do. Cause I always knew I wanted to go into education. And so, um, being a high school counselor just sorta fit with what I do and what I’m doing now as at CollegeAdvisor. So that’s sort of where I’m at, but I’m mostly really want to do like youth development, programming and education policy reform.

Nice. That’s so great. Well, love hearing, kind of like how it kind of started and where you are now with continuing to explore your career interests. So for our participants tonight, we have about 70% that are in the 11th grade, followed by that we have 20% in the 10th grade and then 10% are in the [00:03:00] 12th grade.

So with that McKinsey, I will turn it over to you. Okay. So we have a pretty good mixture. So especially for our juniors, this is a great time to look at passion projects though, our younger grades and our seniors. Um, those, um, you can still learn a lot from this. So really these are the questions that this passion project is going to be answering.

So like, um, do you want to build your resume or activities list? Have you, um, are you having a hard time finding opportunities for high school students? Did the pandemic limit any of your extracurricular activities you could get involved in? Um, are you unsure what you want to do after high school? And do you struggle with talking about yourself?

So those are what this passion project is supposed to tackle. So pretty much what is a passion project let’s start there. So it’s an opportunity for you to develop your own project in order to get hands on experience and an area of interest to you. And from this project, um, you’ll be able to gain, you’ll get a chance to explore your, um, interests.

So just anything, either something that you [00:04:00] already are interested in or something you’re curious about getting into. And then also I’m using that information to help guide your post-secondary decisions. So like choosing your major or what school to go to, or what type of environment you want to be in based off of this project.

And then also career planning. Another thing is leadership experience because you really get to show that initiative with this being your own project that you get to design and develop and take on yourself, which is different from a school project. So you don’t really have to worry about those grade implications though.

Um, I will talk a bit about how. The school projects for a passion project. Um, but really that leadership experience is really important in the admissions process. And then also building your resume and getting some more skills to really help you with getting those internships or jobs later on, as well as establishing yourself as a competitive candidate and really helping you to stand out in the admissions process and then also to learn what you do.

And don’t like, because the admissions process is not only about what you want and need and do like, but also what you don’t need or want, or [00:05:00] like, just so that you know, what areas to avoid or what areas you should really focus on in order to get the most of your college experience. So that’s really what this passion project is for.

It’s sorta like an all encompassing it’s honestly, where I think a lot of students should start before going into the admissions process so that they’re better able to make decisions. So, um, how can, um, developing a password project help your admissions process? So the first thing is it can boost you in multiple areas of your application.

So like obviously your activities listens, this is a project or an activity you’ll be taking on. It’s something to add to your resume, to really set it apart or to tie together the overall theme or narrative of your application, or just something to do to add a bit of interest your application. Uh, it can help with your essays.

So not only give you something to talk about in your personal statement, especially if you struggle with. So, uh, because this gives you something tangible to talk about, but also, um, it’ll help with, um, uh, scholarship applications because a lot of the times scholarship applications, [00:06:00] or even some supplements for schools, um, ask what sort of community involvement you have or leadership experience you have.

So this will really give you something to talk about, especially if maybe you’re not the president at your school or in a club, or you don’t have that much work experience, or you don’t feel like you’ve had so much. Leadership experience. This can really help with that. Another thing is this can give you some really interesting letters of recommendation, and I’ll talk a bit more about that from my own experience.

Um, because a lot of people, aren’t going to have letters of recommendations talking about like what they do outside of school. So this is just a really good way of getting that extra boost. Another thing is it can help you navigate the college admissions process. This is the most important part in my opinion, because it can really give you an idea of your interest and skills on which can help with picking your major or program or school environment, which a lot of kids.

Um, some kids asked me, like, should I go to a school that doesn’t have a major that I want, which is a weird question. Cause the [00:07:00] point of going to college is to get your major and your degree in an area of inches. So this can really help you with like narrowing it down, figuring out if you want to go pre-med or not.

Or if you want to go to pre-law or if you want to do engineering or art or whatever else that you may be interested in, this can just be a good way to figure out, um, where your interests lie, um, and figure out, um, also what you’re good at and then also what you may need to get more help on so that you can figure out what sort of programs will help you get those extra skills you need.

Um, as well as, um, be able to like, um, What’s the word like market, the skills you already have in the admissions process. Another thing is it can help overcome some limitations, either caused by COVID with limiting how many activities you can do, especially if your school was closed or went virtual. And also it can overcome those limited opportunities available to high school students.

Since a lot of companies have a lot of restrictions or don’t have many opportunities for minors, just because of [00:08:00] the different paperwork you have to do. And, um, the level of experience, a lot of high school students are coming in with, so this can help overcome some of those limitations. Okay. And we’re going to do another quick poll.

So where are you in the, uh, college application? Yeah, some McKinsey. It was only like two, three years ago. Or you were thinking about December timeframe. Where are you at you? I know we’re in January, but where were you at, like during this season with your applications? Uh, about December? Well, I applied early decision to Cornell university and early action to Howard university.

So around that time I was figuring out, um, what’s that I got into both schools, which was great, cause it was also around my birthday. So that was a great birthday present. Um, but pretty much my, um, First semester senior year was just spent like doing [00:09:00] IB, doing my passion project and then, um, filling out the application and turning it in on Halloween.

And then, um, after that I was kind of chilling cause I was still kind of looking at other schools to apply to, but I was being a bit lazy and I was just gonna kind kinda wait since I would have mid December to like January to figure out if I want so apply to more schools. So it was pretty chill for me.

I was just enjoying my 18th birthday. That’s well, that is really great. So can you say that you probably your, what was your 11th grade kind of timeframe looking like and kind of given the audience that we have tonight? He’s searching around this time. Yes. In 11th grade, I was mostly hung up on Howard university.

And then, um, second semester. Well, also, um, during that time I was applying to thrive scholars, also known as SCS Noonan scholars, um, to get a scholarship, to get into a summer scholarship program. And then I, um, was, what else did I do? I [00:10:00] was going, I went to a college fair or some sort of seminar that was talking about rice university, brown Cornell Dartmouth in another school.

And that’s where I found out about Cornell. Cause I didn’t know it existed at all. Um, and so it was at that moment, I was just like, ah, this program is just perfect. So I was really looking into Cornell and public health programs, which was my initial major. And then I’m looking at what sort of opportunities I could do, um, to help with being a pre-med student.

Uh, and then. Coming into the summer of that year. I was at the thrive scholars program for the whole summer. And then I, um, started senior year and I had the idea in my head to do your college readiness club, just because I got a lot of information from the summer program. And I realized like a lot of my friends didn’t know what they were doing.

So that’s sort of where the idea came in. And then I also needed to do a cast project for IB. And so I was just like, okay, two birds, one stone. Nice. Nice. Well, you definitely kept yourself [00:11:00] rather engaged in the application process, which then started to align the cell to your own passions and your areas of interest.

So you all heard McKinsey share her story. So just wondering my, you all, there is a Q and a, so feel free to ask any questions that you may have for me, Kinsey. Um, about 64% of our participants are currently researching their schools and then the rest, a few percentage of our students haven’t started yet.

And I’m sure after this evening, and even just hearing your path, I know that that’s going to definitely inspire more to start their research. Yes. So, okay. Well being that y’all are researching schools are having started. That is a great place to be right now because I really do feel like the passion project can help you in navigating the process, finding the right school.

And we’ll also be doing another webinar on how to actually research schools. So look out for that one next month. Um, but pretty much I want to talk about how do you develop a passion project? So, like I said, this is a project that you’re in charge of you do the creation, the development and the implementation, [00:12:00] and that’s on anything that you want.

So this can be something, a skill or interest you already have or something that you’re curious about learning in the future, or just something that you really just want to do. Uh, it can be related or not to any filter skills. So that means it can be. So the major you want, or to be related to the pre-professional program, you want to go into so like pre-med or pre vet, et cetera, but it doesn’t necessarily have to, um, though it can help with sorta giving you that narrative in the application process.

And that narrative I keep talking about is like, um, how your activities list and your essays and your letters of recommendation, your overall applications, such as like the courses you took in high school lineup with a program that you apply for. Um, so this could mean, like if you’re applying, pre-med having some sort of medical experience or taking a lot of science courses though, it doesn’t necessarily have to just be that.

Um, and then, uh, or if you want to be an English major or taking more English classes, maybe even doing a few [00:13:00] writing contest here and there, it really. It’s just to show that you are actually interested in what you’re applying to and that you’re going to be committed to it, but your activities don’t necessarily need a lineup with that.

Like, a lot of my activities had to do with education, even though I was applying pre-med and it’s funny now because I switched to education. So it worked out in the end, but, um, pretty much this passion project is just to give you a little extra something. Um, so it, uh, if it’s related to your field, it can show dedication, but if it’s not, it can just show another aspect of yourself that you feel is really important to the admissions process like minded.

Um, and some examples could be like, you could start a small business if you’re interested in a business or econ major, uh, if you’re interested in athletics, um, that could be like starting with a sports team or doing some sort of sport or service related work. Non-profit that could be starting your own service project.

And then also, if you have like a specific major in mind, such as computer [00:14:00] science, that could be learning a skill such as coding, so that you’re able to, um, transfer that over to, um, your application. Cause a lot of different computer science programs from what I’ve heard do like expect some sort of coding experience.

Uh, this project can be done by yourself or it can be done in a group and it doesn’t matter how big or small the group is. Um, it’s just whatever you feel is comfortable, whatever works better for you and your project. And I will talk a bit more about these little details and different types of project ideas.

Uh, and then also it can be done from home at school, online, or even in the community. It really just depends on again, what fits your project and what you want to do. Um, So some things to consider, um, is that I recommend doing a time commitment of three months, this way, that you’re able to, um, get a good amount of experience to really reflect on and write about within your application or in your activities list.

Um, just so, and also, so you actually show that you were committed to this and that it actually [00:15:00] meant something. So it doesn’t just seem like you’re trying to add something to your application for the sake of, or that you’re lying. This will really give it some, um, credit, credit, um, yeah. Credit when you’re, um, filling out your application.

And then also it gives you enough stuff to really reflect on like your experience and skills, some things you like, you don’t like to really help with navigating the admissions process for me, my project was three months, but I did come up with it August, my senior year. And the application deadline for early was in, uh, Halloween.

So I had three. Uh, doing it for a longer time definitely does help. Cause you get more time to really elaborate on your project, build on it, see how it turns out in the answer. Like I didn’t really get to talk about like, oh, did my program help as much as I think it could have. Um, in my application though, I did get to see that in a few tries.

I continued it. But, um, so yeah, having three months, minimum, anything longer is better even for like a one [00:16:00] day project. So like it made, if you’re going to do like a school dance or something, having that three month commitment is still necessary because you need time to actually plan out set school, dance or event or whatever, um, before the day comes.

And then you can also talk about what happens on the day. So that’s really what I mean by that. Um, another thing is it does not need to be elaborate time consuming or expensive. You are already busy and more than likely don’t want to put a million dollars into this. And you really don’t need a soft cancer with this project unless you want to, for it to be interesting.

Um, the main thing is how you market your project. So like even a simple project as like, uh, making candles for people, it can be a really meaningful and elaborate project depending on how you talk about it and how you write on it. And there is a webinar on how to write about Patterson projects from, I believe December or November, um, that you can watch to find out more about that.

But, um, Pretty much. It really just depends on what you gain, [00:17:00] how you can talk about what you gained from the experience, what it did for the community or what it did for others or for yourself, whoever it impacts pretty much. That’s really, what’s going to make a project stand out, not necessarily how elaborate or amazing it sounds on theory.

Um, and yeah, and you don’t eat a drop a million dollars again, you can do this project for free. My projects were done for free, and they were able to help me with a lot of aspects in my admissions process. Um, keep a reflection or a log of what, not only what you do, but also what you learn and experience throughout the project.

So this can be, um, what you do is like your objective tasks, things, you complete things you made. Uh, whatever sort of actual things you did physically, but then the part about what you, those, um, the things about what you do are going to be necessary for your activities list or your resume, um, just, and also for helping build your essay just so you can get context and the actual factual information, but also reflecting on what you [00:18:00] experienced, how you felt, how you thought, how you learned, how, what you learned and how you grew throughout the process has got to be important for, especially for those personal essays or interviews.

So you can really talk about how this project was meaningful and how it impacted you, which is going to be the part that makes the project meaningful. Uh, do something that interests you, not what you think is going to impress the admissions officers. That is the key thing here, because this is a passion project and it’s supposed to be your passion, whether it’s something you’re already passionate about or something you want to develop or discover, what have you.

Um, this is not something to really try and game the system, or like try and be like the top candidate. This is something to really help yourself, um, and really reflect on what you like to do and get to do something you like to do. Um, because the more you like the project, you’re actually doing them better.

You’ll write about it. And the better off you’ll be in making your decisions. And then also in the admissions process, cause that passion and that joy in your project will really [00:19:00] reflect well and admissions officers will see that they aren’t looking in these projects, um, for you to. Saw the big old problem, because they think that’s cool or that’s like their school’s mission, but they’re looking to see that students have interests and that they actually are involved in their community outside of school, inside of school, et cetera.

Um, so really when you’re, um, coming up with their idea, really think about your personality, your skills, your interests, your values, morals, whatever else, um, when brainstorming your project so that you can really create something that is meaningful to you in order to again, make your decisions and to reflect on it later.

So now we’re going to have another quick poll. So do you have an idea for a passion project?

Okay. So as our participants are. Putting their responses. [00:20:00] Tell us a little bit about your most recent passion project that you’ve been working on as a, as a college. Yes. So I have two current passion projects that I’m working on. So my first one in my phone, one that has nothing to do with school or anything.

It’s, I’ve been sewing a lot recently. So this is the sweater I made for one of my friends. So it’s just a pull up zip for it. And I’ve really been getting back into sewing after not really sewing that much for years and then getting back into it because of COVID. And I bought a new sewing machine and other things, and it’s just been really fun.

It’s nice making, um, clothes for people and for myself, because you can get really creative and I’ve just been watching YouTube videos on how to do it. It’s been a lot of fun. And then, um, And I just really like wasting time sewing all day and going to the fabric store. Uh, and then my other passion project, I just got approved at Cornell to do my own research project as a sophomore, um, on how adolescent, so people, your age find their [00:21:00] passions, which is kind of ironic.

Um, so I’ll be doing research to figure out how students and kids pretty much find their passions in order to use that information, to create a program that helps kids find their passion and navigate the admissions process with they’re passionate about. Nice. That sounds so interesting. Are you going to share a little bit more with that with us about that later?

Uh, so getting into the poll we have about 56% of our participants have an idea of a passion project. Uh, 33% is still thinking about it. And then the rest of percentage 11% is, um, no, no idea. Totally fine, because you are in the right place at the right time, so that you can learn a little bit more about how to create your passion project.

It start to develop some of those ideas. Okay. So Mackenzie, I will turn it back over to you. Yes. So now we’re going to go over some examples of projects and like different [00:22:00] structures for projects, um, to really figure out what the benefits are, how to navigate them and how to handle them in order to get the most out of the experience for yourself and to help you throughout the admissions process.

Um, and even if you do have an idea, this can still help. And if you don’t have an idea, there is a brainstorming section. So when we get to that Q and a, just start asking questions about those projects, um, okay. So from home or solo, and again, this can be a different combination. Like you can do a from home project with a group, or you can do a solo project at score and other locations, I just sort of combine these two because they seem kind of similar in their benefits.

Um, so one of the, some of the benefits include, um, Full creative control and less restrictions. So since this is your own project that you do in your own space, no one can really tell you much what to do, except for maybe your parents. Um, and you get full control to figure out what you want to do, how you want to do it, where you want to do it.

Um, there are less restrictions because especially if you’re doing it from home or online, um, [00:23:00] you don’t have to worry so much about travel cost or time to take, to travel or finding a location, or like COVID restrictions of certain places such as your school or communities or wherever else. So that’s really a plus of this.

Um, you get leadership skills and independence. So a lot of colleges are really looking for that initiative and students. So this can really give you the space and time to really come up with your own project and idea that you may not get otherwise. And it’s just a good way to show that you do take on projects, especially if you don’t have those opportunities elsewhere.

And then you can also learn multiple skills from this, especially if you’re doing something by yourself. With the group. And we’ll talk about this more. You get to delegate a bit more, but with the project by yourself, you do take on more of the work. But that also means that you can learn more skills. So for say, if you’re starting a business, um, then you’ll be learning how to do like accounting and budgeting, and then also marketing and maybe even social media management and all the other.

The facts that go into [00:24:00] a business. So you’ll be able to, um, really develop different skill areas, um, and then be able to talk about all those different skills that you have, which is a really good benefit. Um, some considerations or even cons can be the space limitation. So if you’re doing this from home, uh, harder, it’s harder to get a recommendation or reference for this, especially if we’re doing it from home or a solo project, just because you may not have like a teacher or a sponsor vouching for you, and you can’t really have a family member, um, bounce for you, but that’s really where the time commitment comes into play.

Because the more time you put into it and the more stuff you can show for what you’ve done and how you can talk about it will really give you that sort of credibility that, um, you may lack if you don’t have a recommender to back you up. Another thing is the cost and limited resources just because you are doing it from, uh, by yourself.

So you may have less money or less, um, resources, and even, uh, ideas are a resource to an extent. So if you aren’t really [00:25:00] working with other people, you may have less ideas to bounce off of, essentially, which can be a limit to doing something by yourself or from home. And then I have some examples listed on the side and I do that for the rest of the slides.

Um, just so you can get some ideas and remember, you can download the slides if you want to look at this later, but I’m not going to go too much into detail. Cause there are better examples later. Um, so at school, so, um, some benefits of this is this can make school interesting. So whether you’re starting a club or a project, this can just give you something interesting to look forward to at score after school.

Um, you can get a unique and specific letter of recommendation. So if you have a teacher or sponsor at your school to vouch for you, and I do have an example of that for my own project, um, This can really give you a good recommender that can show your school involvement and what you’re doing outside of the classroom, but still at school, which colleges really want to see, because they want to know that you’re going to do more than just be a student when you get there, they want to see that you’re going to be active around campus.

Um, you can get those leadership and [00:26:00] collaboration skills. So leadership again, cause the initiative, but also collaboration because since you’re working at the school, you may have to collaborate with a teacher or administration or other students to really get your project going, um, and getting certain permission.

So those are definitely skills that you can talk about and that you can use later when you’re looking for jobs or internships that are really important, you can still learn multiple skills. And then again, colleges like community involved. Some considerations would be that there’s more restrictions to this option.

So like whether your school gets closed by COVID the travel that it takes. So if this is an after-school thing, your parents may have to come pick you up after school, which can be a hassle getting certain permissions or sponsors. So like for one of my projects, I had to get permission to stay after school, to use a certain classroom.

And I had to have a teacher, um, be in the room because they won’t just let a bunch of high schoolers stand room afterschools by themselves because no, um, this limits some of your creative control, especially if you’re trying to do say paint a mural on a wall, you may not be able to do that. [00:27:00] Um, just because your school doesn’t want you painting on the walls.

Um, but, uh, that doesn’t necessarily need to be a hassle. It just depends on what type of project you’re trying to do, time constraints. So depending on how long your school year is, this can affect how much time you’re able to put in throughout the year. And then also, um, the hours in the school day, how long you can stay after school, if you do an afterschool project and then also weekends can be limiting.

Another thing. And this is just for all projects in general, it could be cost associated with it, depending on how big or elaborate your project is though. It doesn’t necessarily need to cost anything. Like I did both of my projects for free. Uh, some examples could be I’m starting a club or even doing a project in an established clubs that like in NHS or in beta club, um, they do look for students to do service projects.

So if you, even, if you don’t have like the president’s position in those clubs, you can still start a project within already established clubs to really show that leadership and initiative, even if you don’t have a title and you’re just a member, um, [00:28:00] to really give you that extra arm to your application.

And then also, um, There are just some other project ideas, but doing science fair can count. And you can also put that research report in, um, as your supplemental materials. And then also, um, if you’re an IB or if you’re an AP student, you can use your internal assessments or your cast project, um, as your passion project and sort of get those two birds, one stone, you can talk about those in your application, or if you’re an AP and you have the capstone project, you can also use that.

Um, so here’s an example of what I was talking about earlier. So my senior year I started the college readiness club. I started this in August and I was applying to Cornell in October. So I had a few months to really work on the project to give me some stuff, to talk about. Some transferable skills that I gained were communication, editing and revision because I was editing essays, leadership management, mentoring, advising software, and website development.

Cause I was making all the materials for the program and I even made a website for it. Um, the main [00:29:00] outcomes, what were that? I had some really strong talking points in my essay. This was my personal statement topic. And then also in my interview for Cornell, I did talk a bit about like my college readiness club and why I was interested in that.

I got an E I got two internships and a job my first year in college. Well, I had two jobs, but I had an internship at one nonprofit in Atlanta, and then I had another one with thrive scholars, my, um, current scholar program that I’m in. And then I also was able to get my job at CollegeAdvisor talking about this program.

Um, I, and again, Uh, this program does not just need to be three months. I did this and then I continued it even after I was done applying. Cause I was helping my peers apply for college after that. And that really helped solidify my experience and help me get those later. Um, those later. Later jobs and interviews and awards and stuff.

Um, even though my application process already passed. Um, so it does help to really have that [00:30:00] longevity to a project. Um, what else? I was able to get a letter of recommendation from my assistant principal at my school cause she saw what I was doing with this program, as well as other projects she had me doing around the school.

So that really showed, um, was a strong, um, recommender for my application. And then I also received the Atlanta journal constitution cup award for my school, um, which was just fun to get, um, The most important thing was I found my passion and it really helped me make some changes. So like when I decided to switch majors, this was one of the things that I really thought about because I really was procrastinating doing my chemistry homework in order to do this instead.

And I just found a lot of joy in helping students and working with people. And that’s what made me sort of look for jobs and got me to CollegeAdvisor. And it just really helped me with figuring out like what sort of projects I want to do in school. Um, what I’m interested in. And really, I found that my passion is helping people find their passions, which is kind of meta.

Um, so yeah, that’s really what the main thing of this was. And. If I was looking at this from [00:31:00] a admission standpoint, it helped me in my admissions process. But if I was really using this for my admissions process, I would have initially gone for the education route and maybe chose, um, the major that I have now.

Um, though I still feel like I made a good decision because I knew Cornell had a bunch of opportunities and options in case I wanted to switch majors, which I did eventually do. So I always knew that there was a place for me to do education, something related to education in the future. I just didn’t know how it would play out.

Um, so yeah, that was really the main thing from this, um, process. Uh, okay. Local organization or business. So the benefits of this, as you get that firsthand work experience in a workplace environment, you can get a unique letter of recommendation or reference just because a lot of students aren’t really gonna have recommenders from local organizations or businesses.

So this can really help you to stand out in the admissions process. You get leadership in collapsed fields. So like, um, with collabing, with a business or organization, you can really learn how to work with others, [00:32:00] to help fulfill their dream. Um, learn multiple skills, again, community involvement, some restrictions, again, that travel and permission, um, and limits on creative control, especially with like an established business or organization.

They may have their own values, morals and codes. So your project would have to be a bit more tailored to what they need rather than what you want necessarily. To really fit their business or organization models. So that is something to keep in mind. Some examples of this is solving a problem at a local school, doing a political movement, volunteering somewhere or being a content creator.

And I will talk more about that in this next slide. So, um, during my junior year of high school, as a part of my IB class information to technology in a global society, um, we had to go out into the community for our, our internal assessment and solve an actual problem with the information and tech that we learned in class.

So, um, being that I’m not really a tech person, I was just kind of taking this class cause [00:33:00] they offered it. Uh, I decided to go to a local consignment store and become their social media developer. So I just reached out to the owner and um, we talked and I made a proposal about what I wanted to do, what my project was about.

Um, and so I just, um, I combined my interest in fashion design, as I show with like the sewing, uh, and my, um, newfound interest in like photography and like flat light photography, um, to really, um, make a project that was interesting for me to do in school. Uh, and also to really just help with my application and the things that I got from this, where I learned some photography and videography editing, graphic design, and then also communication.

Since I had to learn how to do a professional email, how to make a proposal and how to do different types of networking and marketing. And then, so my outcome, again, got to explore my interest in fashion design. I was eventually offered a job over spring break to actually do some more work for her and she paid me.

So that was nice. And [00:34:00] then the owner wrote me a letter of recommendation. So that was another. Great letter of recommendation and what was even better. She heard actual day job was she was a college admissions officer, which I did not know about throughout the time working with her. I didn’t know until she sent the email.

So, um, it was good to have that little extra tidbit because then she was able to really speak to me, doing a great project for school and being a very active student along with helping her business. So I’m a group project. So some benefits as you get more resources and support for, especially for those larger projects, um, which can be good.

Um, and also you can have more people collaborating and having ideas. So this can really help solidify some ideas, uh, and get some ideas going. Especially if you have a hard time brainstorming. Another thing is you can learn delegation skills. So, um, delegating means that you would assign each person to doing a test, especially ones relate to what they’re good at.

Um, you [00:35:00] can still learn multiple skills, but this is just one extra piece of it. Um, so like if you were to start a small business, you would have one person on like accounting and budgeting. You’d have another person on the design aspect, you have another nurse and making the product. And then, so you each can all talk about the project while talking about it from a different angle.

And then talk about that delegation piece and teamwork piece. And this is really good, especially if you’re more introverted. So like, Colleges are always talking about that leadership experience and being really involved and active. And these are kind of extroverted things. So if you are a bit shyer or maybe don’t like being the front person, having a group can really help alleviate some of that stress or even tailoring a solo project to fitting sort of your needs of not being too much out there.

Um, and this can really help. I’m still showing that initiative. Stepping too far out of your comfort zone to where you don’t enjoy the project. Um, some considerations is coordinating with the group can be difficult, especially with coming up with [00:36:00] ideas, figuring out when you’re going to meet and work on the project, figuring out, um, where you’re gonna meet, um, who all is going to put what into the project.

And if you’ve ever worked in a group project for school, this is pretty much no different. There may be one person that’s slacking. One person that’s not the only difference is you. Aren’t having to worry about a grade. Um, and you’re being able to talk about it may not be hindered. It just may hinder the project.

So you want to think about who you’re working with when, if you decide to work with. Uh, and then, uh, also it limits some creative control because you do have to collaborate a bit more with others. Some examples, creating a short film or music videos, starting a business, et cetera. And you can read this again later, a skills based.

So this one is a bit different just because it isn’t like a tangible project, but it is like just getting out and learning something new. So like for me, it would be like watching YouTube videos on how to, so, um, maybe even taking a course on how to, so, um, this can come learning a skill can come in a lot of different forms.

It could be something you do through videos, something you actually take a class for or something you just [00:37:00] do in the day-to-day. So like, just figure it out on your own. Um, it can be, um, you can do this to develop a specific skill that colleges or employers are looking for. So like, if you’re applying to computer science again, you can look at, um, learning coding, or if you’re interested in a film major, then you can learn specific film techniques.

Um, And also employers as well. Um, you can receive a certification. So like, uh, giving CPR certified, or like, I have a certification in, um, being able to do research, um, with people which you do need. Um, so that’s like a certification. Um, you can do, you can learn multiple at once, depending on how you do it.

And you can do it from anywhere again, depending on how you do it. So this some considerations as this can be harder to translate into a personal statement or a resume, just because you may not necessarily have someone to back you up on it, watching your learning process, um, unless you get like a certification or something tangible to show for it.

Um, but then, um, it CA it is still [00:38:00] possible because in your personal statement, you don’t just, if you use it for that, you don’t want to just say, Hey, I learned a new skill. You want to explain like, what your thought process was, what your learning process was, how you grow and really talking about those more subjective aspects of it, um, to really, um, sort of give it credibility, credibility, um, as for your resume, it can be kind of easier depending.

Um, if you put it in like the skills section or an activity section or something, um, but it is still possible. Um, this is harder to get a letter of recommendation for, again, just because this may be something you do a bit more so low, um, but it is still possible to get one from it. So this could be learning a new language, getting CPR certified, um, becoming more proficient in Excel, which a lot of people are not, um, something that can be a bit harder as like, if you take a course on learning to be an active listener or learning some sort of like empathy skill or emotional IQ.

Um, yeah, so that one may be a bit harder to like show for the, you can’t [00:39:00] talk about it in an essay. It may be a bit harder to show for it and like a resume or activities list, but it is still useful in your later career. Um, and then also, um, if you’re interested, you can solve an impossible math problem because you can usually get scholarships or some sort of recognition for doing that.

So that’s just spitballing. Some things to consider is like how the timeline would work. Now, this timeline is based more off of, for rising senior summer. So like what my timeline would have looked like, kind of, um, since we are in January and most of you are juniors, you do have more time to really work on this project.

So, um, the first part of it is planning. So coming up with your idea, thinking about budgeting, getting permission, if you need it thinking about who you want to be involved in your project and thinking about what you want to gain from it. Um, the next part would be development and implementation. So doing a pro, doing the actual project, and then keeping that journal, um, your personal statement and the resume or activities list part would be transferring this into a personal statement or resume, um, towards the actual application season.

And [00:40:00] then, um, getting letters of recommendation would be the last part. So asking, like if you had a sponsor or someone that saw you, um, to give you a recommendation based on your project and then reminding them a bit of what you did, what’s your project, um, so that they can have some talking points, um, Again, this is more so for if you had a sponsor as some sort of outside adult, not really like a family member or a friend about for you, but someone with a bit more credibility that doesn’t necessarily, um, like, like not that they hate you, but like someone that is going to be more honest, um, which we call.

Okay. So brainstorming. So these are some questions to think about if you’re still coming up with an idea. So what do you like to do for fun? What are you good at? What skills do you have? What kind of personality do you have? What are you bad at? So like some things that you may want to get better at, um, what is a skill or hobby that you would like to learn?

What is a problem you want to solve? So this can be a personal problem, a community issue or something more global. And then also, why [00:41:00] should you do this project so that you can have sort of an idea in mind about what the purpose of this project is and how it can help you help others or what this project will mean in the end to make writing about it a bit easier later.

And some final considerations is your project can incorporate multiple interest or skills that you have, or want to learn. It does not just need to be one thing or one single focus. Um, passions are not just one thing you have, you can have multiple passions. Like I have passions in education. I have passions and fashion design, and I have other passions as well.

Um, it’s really just about doing something of interest to you. Um, you can tailor it to create an interesting narrative for your application, but it does not need to be directly related to your admissions plans, like your major or anything. Um, marketing yourself and learning how to talk about your project is the most important part.

So really being able to show off those skills, you learn from it, your experience and who you are as a person, or how you think, um, based on this project is really, what’s [00:42:00] gonna set you apart, not just doing a project that has to deal exactly what your major and example of this. As the other day, I was talking with one of my clients, who’s a current junior, and she was saying that she’s interested in being a defense attorney and she also likes dance, but she said that she couldn’t see how the two are connected and.

This is where I was, started getting a million ideas. But, um, those things, even if they don’t seem like connected things are relevant, they can be meaningful together in your application. So like I recommended maybe if she started like a little dance program for youth to be able to, um, To be able to, uh, give them a positive youth, um, program to go to, to help stop that school to prison pipeline, which relates to the sort of defense attorney and social justice issues that she’s interested in while also combining her interest in dance.

So she’d be able to talk about it. And even if she doesn’t combine those two, she could do something related directly to law in a passion project, or she could do something in dance, even though that isn’t directly related to the [00:43:00] major that she’d want to do or the pre-professional program she wants to do.

It still shows an interesting aspect about her. It shows that she’s dedicated, she really enjoys something and she has creative aspects. It shows a lot of good quality. So again, it doesn’t need to be directly related to your narrative. Um, the another thing keep that journal or reflection, this will really help with remembering everything.

And really help with being able to articulate it and write about it, talk about it, or put it in your activities, list. Another thing, be creative, really do something that’s of interest to you. Um, and if you find out that you’re not interested in it in the middle of creating it, that’s really where I’m starting earlier comes in handy because then you’d be able to change your project or update it.

But even if it gets to the point you’re in the last minute, um, you don’t like your project, you don’t really have time to change it. Um, uh, you, um, would be able to, um, talk about, um, some of the, uh, experience of like learning what you do and don’t like throughout a project. And then, um, being able [00:44:00] to, um, start earlier is definitely better because then you’d get more time to develop your project or change it or do multiple projects.

Um, so you’ll have more and you’ll also have more to talk about it with the actual.

Sitting. Yeah. So, um, which in call it, um, okay. So yeah, that was pretty much my whole spiel and passion projects. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I didn’t even just see your passion come alive. As you are talking to our participants about how to develop their passion projects while in high school. And I love how, like your passions again are now.

Connecting to like different things that you’re now getting hands-on paid experience from. So that’s like even better, right? We could turn our passions into, you know, money. That’s, that’s fun. So with that, um, that is actually the end of our presentation [00:45:00] portion, uh, for the webinar. And so I hope you found the information very helpful.

I hope that you’re starting to think about your ideas if you’re, you’re kind of still stuck and not knowing where to go now is the time for you because we are moving into our Q and a. And so I’m going to read through the questions that you submit in the Q and a tab, and then I’ll piece them into the public chat so that you can see them.

I’ll read them out loud before McKinsey gives you an answer. So as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar. Through the custom link in your email and not the webinar landing page. Okay. So with that again, we’re going to, you have plenty of time to put your questions in.

Um, but we have a couple that are already in here. So first question I’m going to ask you to McKinsey is, um, I, I’m going to read the question verbatim. I, um, I have a question regarding how to [00:46:00] expand a passion project. I have it established already, but I’m struggling to promote it and get it more. No. Um, um, definitely if you can put like the description of the project in the chat, that’d be great, but pretty much to help promote it or get it more known.

Uh, social media is a good place to start. So really I’m getting out on like Snapchat or Instagram, um, information about your project. Okay. To your classmates, to whoever you’re looking to involve, depending on if it’s a school project or more of a community thing. So it definitely using social media to your advantage, some ways to do that.

This is kind of looking up videos on how to get popular on social media would be a great place to start. But from what I’ve seen, a lot of the times, if you use like a popular sound, that’s trending on like Tik TOK or Instagram, it’ll put you more at the front page. So that can be a good way just to get more social media, um, interest, uh, if it is more of a school project and definitely talking to your friends, uh, getting to see what their [00:47:00] interests are, um, talking around in different classes, going around the school, maybe even asking the administrator at your school, if you’d be able to get on the morning announcements or to be able to go classroom to classroom during like a study period.

And just tell people about your projects or pass out flyers, just to get some more interest going around the school or just in general. Um, And those would be some not necessarily quick cause they won’t be quick fixes to really get interest. But depending on what your project is, you can either target people that you know, would have an interest in it.

So like if it’s like a sewing club then targeting people that like sewing or like fashion and stuff so that they’ll you’ll know that they have a bit more interest in it. Or, um, if you’d be willing to changing your project a bit, to be a bit more inclusive of other people, if it isn’t like a very popular topic or it’s kind of niche, so not many people would know about it, but even if it doesn’t have a large involvement, unless it’s a business [00:48:00] that isn’t an issue, just because even a small bit of interest in the really meaningful, it can be a little bit more intimate.

You can talk about the connections you build with the people that are interested in your project. But if it’s a business that can hurt a little bit, just because of. Uh, businesses met to get more clientele. Um, but even with that, you can talk about, um, in an essay like your process of getting more interest or your process of okay.

What things could be fixed. Um, just be, um, if it isn’t garnering as much attention as you want. So that could be an interesting point to reflect on. Great. Okay. Our next question is who do you suggest is the best mentor to start any passion project? So a good mentor it’s not necessarily needed. I just recommend doing that just so you can have someone to vouch for you as a letter of recommendation, but a good mentor.

If you are [00:49:00] looking for someone would be someone that’s also interested in that topic. Um, So like if you’re or someone kind of connected to that topic, if possible, this can be a family member, they just won’t necessarily be able to give you a letter of recommendation down the road, just because of their family.

Um, but um, someone that’s interested or is knowledgeable in that field. So like for me, um, With my current project that I’m doing now on researching, um, passions. I connected with my advisor and he connected me with other people, but they, um, the people that I’m connected with as my advisor, they, um, have, they do research with adolescents, some do a research in school, specifically, others do it in youth programs.

Uh, some of them research, purpose and passion among adolescents specifically. So they are very knowledgeable in the field that I’m trying to get into, which is researching passions. So they’d be able to guide me. So really finding someone that can help, um, point you in certain ideas, um, sort of bounce ideas off of you.

[00:50:00] They have some sort of knowledge in the area or, um, If you just need someone in the room. So like, if this is a school project, your teacher doesn’t necessarily need to be someone that’s knowledgeable in the area. They can just be someone that you need for the room. Um, though it is good when they’re involved because they can add their 2 cents.

So like for my college readiness club, I did eventually reach out to our college and career counselor. And so she was able to come to meetings every now and again, and be able to add in some points about the admissions process, maybe some areas that I didn’t have the greatest chances for like financial aid.

Um, so that was helpful. So like someone who can help you, someone who can write ideas or just someone, if you just need an adult in the room, um, it can be a good person. And if it does get down to this, needing an adult in the room, definitely go for an adult that likes you and would be willing to write a recommendation for you in the future.

Just so you can have that extra.

Okay. Um, next question, uh, there’s kind of a, [00:51:00] like, there’s a myth that, you know, if you don’t solely focus on your academics and you take on maybe too many extracurriculars that that could impact your, your grades, you know, your grades could start to decline again, that’s a myth. And I heard you earlier share just like all the things that you were involved in high school and in addition to your different passion projects.

So how do you kind of balance that and still maintain your academics while in high school? Yes. So senior year, um, well, for junior year with the I’m working at a consignment store, that actually was a school project. So I was doing schoolwork with that one and it was kind of just like, it wasn’t an overly complicated project that was taking Flatlight photography of the clothes and then editing them and doing a lot of graphic design stuff to make them look nice so that wasn’t very time consuming and it wasn’t like laborists for me.

So I was able to do that and still be able to balance my schoolwork. The hardest part [00:52:00] of that was having to write the essay about the project in the end, just because it was such a technical essay and I’m not a technical person. So that was like the hardest part. But that one didn’t really interfere too much with school with the college readiness club.

It was, I met, I think like once a week after school. So that was pretty manageable since it wasn’t constant, but I was also doing, um, I was the wrestling team manager. I did. Dance. And I had a few other things. So this one just involves some sort of time management. So like having my meetings on a day where I wasn’t too busy and where the other students were, weren’t too busy, um, having, uh, preparing the meetings in a way that was manageable.

So like I would just make a PowerPoint and then be able to talk about it. So like making a PowerPoint, didn’t take too long for me. And a lot of the resources I already had from being in the scholars program I was in. So I was just kind of taking that in re-purposing it? Um, so it, didn’t doing pretty much doing a [00:53:00] project that doesn’t require too much of your time so that you’re able to manage all the things.

If it’s feeling like it’s a project that’s consuming your life, then that is not a project that you should be doing, at least not over the school year. And maybe say for summer, um, just because, um, This, isn’t something you’re getting graded on. So you don’t want your grades to slip doing something that doesn’t really affect you.

It’s just some, it’s supposed to be something that helps you. Um, so don’t ever let this passion project get ahead of doing your actual work. I kind of did that in college just because I did not like my chemistry class, but it ended up helping me in the future, but I wasn’t completely procrastinating during my chemistry homework, attend to my college writing this club.

Um, it was still that balance. And in college you have more time, so I had a bit more time to waste. Um, so it’s really about doing a project that you’ve been in the schedule and doing something that isn’t going to take all of your time to where it becomes a stress. Great. Okay. [00:54:00] All right. So we’re gonna take a short, short pause, um, for me to share with you all a little bit about.

Uh, college adviser. So, um, once I work one-on-one with an advisor from over a team of 200 advisor and admission officer, so McKenzie and I are both college advisors. As you heard McKinsey share about her experience, working with students, if you are interested, which we highly encouraged sign up for a free consultation with us, by going to and clicking on the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and a lie team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us.

Okay. So with that, I think we have time for maybe like one or two more questions. Um, so question I have is let’s see, as far as like, you know, are [00:55:00] there things that you like listening video games? So if I’m a student, I. Love video games. That’s my passion. Like, can I make that my passion project? What’s your thoughts?

Yes. I think, um, combining for more for projects like that, I’d consider combining multiple passions or skills, just so you have something a bit more tangible to talk about, like, Playing video games. It’s not something you can necessarily talk about as a passion project. That’s more of a hobby. Um, but definitely if you can, um, talk about either incorporating writing.

So like maybe you write a guide or something to help other players figure out different levels or figuring out if you’re going for a more figuring out how to like, make your own game or, um, from a more communications or English major standpoint. If you were to write a blog about the game or, um, film talking, making a YouTube video of falling, you playing the game, figuring out the different things.

So there are different ways [00:56:00] to tailor it to specific majors or programs or other interests so that it has a little bit more substance. So it isn’t just you talking about playing your video games though, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing to talk about in your application, especially if it asks you, like, what do you like to do in your free time for like the MIT questions?

So sometimes it is good to just talk about your simple hobbies. Other times it needs a little bit. Extra to give it some substance. So for like your activities list, your resume, a job interview, um, really being able to, um, incorporate multiple skills into your process and project really help give it some substance.

Great. Great. Okay. Um, what are some ideas to combine athletics with more science side of things? Yes. I don’t like science, but I can think of some things. So, um, what, in terms of that, if you did a science project to look at, um, maybe a research question, like how to kids, um, this is something Cornell did a research [00:57:00] project on, but like how this chocolate milk helps people perform better in athletics.

So if he did like some sort of science project or something, um, that can combine research and athletics, um, if you were to start a club, um, Okay. In terms of science, it doesn’t need to be directly correlated, but it can be, um, if you were to start like a club for little kids on a certain sport, so teaching them how to do it, but then you also teach them how to do the proper stretches.

This is more kinesthesiology the study, the study of movement. Um, and talking about like how stretching helps you to perform better. So like, um, talking about how you were able to influence kids to be active, but also to be healthy and how they’re active. So like not pulling something when they’re running or if you were to talk about like certain diets or like tailoring the program essentially to include like science aspects, um, Having like a [00:58:00] field day or something for kids.

I keep thinking about kids with this one, but, uh, having a field day for kids where you incorporate doing certain like running movement activities, but also talking about the science of it or talking about different making it science theme, the event, um, can combine the two. So you can get your knowledge about science out there while also combine your interest in sports.

Um, starting a, um, uh, athletic squalor student athlete club or something at your school, um, where you, um, have like tutoring sessions for a lot of athletes. So like, um, a lot of athletes do struggle with managing their schoolwork. So if you combine the two. To be able to like help them with like science, tutoring or math tutoring, um, while also maintain being able to stand their scores back and help the community, and also combine your interest in both.

So like you can get a bunch of people interested in different areas, the tutor tutoring, you can do the one on the science section and helping student athletes, um, to really maintain their grades or do [00:59:00] better in their classes. And also be able to, to go to practice, do the sports and talk about what it’s like being a student now.

Okay, great. Yes. I think you answered that question very well, McKinsey. Alrighty. So thank you. That actually is. Now that was our last question for this evening. So thank you to McKinsey for sharing more about how to create your passion project and the connection that it has to the college admission process.

Um, thank you for your time and developing this really, really informative, uh, presentation. Okay. So last thing I want to share with you all is I know that you all love the presentation tonight, so we have more webinars that we’re doing for the month of January. We have them listed in front of you with that, everyone.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for joining our CollegeAdvisor webinar for this evening. Have a good [01:00:00] one. Bye-bye.