Creating a Passion Project in High School
CollegeAdvisor.com presents a special webinar on how to create a Passion Project in high school, in a 30-minute presentation with live Q&A. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on the steps to creating a successful passion project that will help you solidify your interests and stand out in the college application process. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-05-20 Creating a Passion Project in High School
Hi, I am McKinsey Murray. I attend Cornell university and I am a human development major in the cost of 2024. So I’m a freshman. I just recently joined college advisor a few months ago, but I’ve been working with college and career readiness for about two years now. So since my senior year of high school and I then From my experience, I came up with this idea about passion projects to try and help seniors and high schoolers in general, to get some experiences.
But we’ll go over that more in the next slide. Okay. So have you been trying to figure out how to build your resume or your brag sheet, or just get some more experiences to really figure out what you want to do? Especially with right now with COVID schools are closed, so many of your extracurricular activities have been shut down, or maybe you aren’t able to go to school as much, or even if you were trying to.
Some sort of summer job or opportunity, it might’ve went virtual or it might’ve just ended just because it COVID restrictions. Or maybe you’ve been trying to find some sort of internship or job or something, but nobody really wants to hire a high school student because of liabilities and experience. Or maybe you’re just unsure about what you want to do after high school.
So pretty much this project is gonna solve all those problems for you. And it’s going to really give you a chance to explore some stuff. Okay. So it’s a passion project. What is a passion project? So the app, the passion project is an opportunity for you to create your own project and to get hands-on experience in an area of you’re in an area of interest to you.
And it’s you get full creative control. You really get to explore some things and it can be anything you want. And we’ll talk more into detail in the coming slides, but pretty much what you’ll gain from this project is a chance to explore your yeah. Different interests you have to help with post-secondary decisions, such as what college you want to go to, what majors you want to do, what career path.
It can also help with establishing yourself as a competitive candidate for different opportunities, such as internships or jobs, or even scholars. It’s a chance for me to gain leadership experience, which you may have some leadership experience in like clubs like national honor society and beta club.
But usually the real leadership experience goes to people that are on the boards or like the president. And then sometimes if you’re a member you may just part of the different projects that the program does, but you may not be leading it, which means you can’t really discuss it as much in like personal statements or resumes, just because it isn’t as strong and experience that you had to really discuss.
So this project will allow for you to have more of that meaningful discussion about something that you’ve done. It can help build your resume and verbal skills. And then also I say that this is a time for you to explore your interest or something that you’re curious about. It can help you find out what you do like to do, but it can also help you find out what you don’t like, because you may be doing this project and you say yes, during a blogger or something, you may figure out that you really hate writing.
This project is really just to get a chance for you to get to know yourself as well as to build yourself up as a competitive kid. Okay. So the concept is that you’re in charge of everything from completion, beginning to end everything. So this can be a lot of different things, depending on what type of project you do.
So say if you did a blog, then your creation would be actually coming up with the idea for the blog and then coming up with what sort of format you want to do or what platform you’re going to use. If you’re going to use something that generally. What are you, or if you’re good and tech savvy and literally create the blog and all the codes from scratch.
So that’s really going to depend and then also making it pretty and then actually starting to post your stuff. So that would be the implementation. Let’s say you’re starting a business, then your creation will be making like your business plan coming up with the idea. Coming up with your budget and then actually coming up with your product or your service, and then development will be actually making that and then implementation would be actually starting your business and selling and getting money pretty much.
So really that’s just going to depend on what you’re doing. So it’s based on your interest through your passions, or maybe not, maybe just something you’re curious about. It can be related or not to any field or skill of interest. So like different fields could be like, you could start a business, you could do an art project for something creative.
You can do something in the tech field, which can also fall under skills if you’re like teaching yourself like coding language. So that could be something that you learn. It really just depends on what you’re doing, what would fall under. But we’ll go more into detail about the pros and cons of different types of things.
And then what they would look like. And then how would you go about presenting it to, for your resume or for interviews or just anything in general? So you can do this project individually. And then you, or you can do it in a group and those have different pros and cons, which again, we’ll go over.
And then also it can be done from anywhere. You can do it at home, you can do it at school. You can do it online, which is pretty much at home, or you can do it out in the community and then we’ll talk really important to teach. Okay. So some things to consider when you’re actually creating this project is that you want, I recommend that you have a three month time commitment.
The reason I say that, and it’s not really a hard deadline, it’s just a general idea of how much time you should be putting into this is because three months will allow for you to gain some real meaningful experiences rather than. Something you do on one day, you can just, you can talk about a day pretty well, but if you have say a little longer of experience, like three months you’ll be able to talk about that real ins and outs, the fine details the day to day, what your routines were just really get into detail.
Discussing it and like your personal statement or in an interview, you can really gain a lot from it and then really figure out yourself and how you interact with this field or do this job, or do this task or how well you learn the skills. Use it or don’t like it when you have more time commitment and then also having that three months time period on your resume shows that you’re committed, which is really good for like job interviews or for.
College applications just because they really want to know that you’re committed. Cause like college is a commitment you’re going to be there from two to six years, depending on what you’re doing. So colleges really want to see that you can commit to something and then also jobs want to see that you can commit to something because they don’t want people that are, they’re going to hire just for them to quit the next day.
So that three months time commitment. To help you also, it does not need to be elaborate time consuming or expensive. And I’ve said this in another webinar, but you don’t need a soft cancer in this unless you want to, or you can. So pretty much with this project, you can do it for free. So I’m going to talk about some projects that I did for free that were really meaningful.
And then you can put money into this if it’s necessary, but I wouldn’t recommend going over say a hundred dollars depending if you’re by yourself. With others really? It’s about using the resources that you already have with you to be able to create something that’s going to give you that extra boost when you’re applying stuff.
And then also it doesn’t have to be time consuming or elaborate just because. You’re still in school like this I’m going to recommend later for you to don’t do it over summer so that you can have more time to really get into it. But you still may have school. You may still have work or just any other obligations.
So you really don’t want this to be something that’s going to be taking away from other obligations. It’s just something on the side to really help your resume. But don’t let it consume you pretty much. And then also. It being elaborate. This sorta goes down to my fourth point about do something that interests you, not what the admissions officers want.
It doesn’t need to be elaborate or like a big project or like solving cancer just because you don’t need to have to. You don’t want to make a project just to impress the admissions officers. You want to do something that you actually like, because a meaningful experience that you would enjoy is going to be more, it’s going to be better to talk about than just something that you’re doing for the sake of getting attention or seeming like that kid, also throughout the process, I want you to keep reflections or logs of what you’re doing and what you learned throughout the process. Because as keeping those reflections will help you. To when you’re going into writing your resume or a personal statement or talking about it later it’ll help you with remembering it.
It’ll help you see some of the skills and stuff that you did even just writing out the mundane, boring routine stuff that you got to do. If you’re start a business talking about how you made the budget, that seems like duh, like of course I made a budget, but those are little things and little skills that are really important.
To jobs and interviews and different opportunities because that’s something you’re going to need. So you want to keep these reflections so that it’ll be easier for you to really transfer it over and see what you learned from it. And then also it just helps you not to forget it, or when you actually get to the opportunity or you’re trying to fill out an application, you have to remember everything, but since you wrote it down, you don’t have to remember as much or you won’t forget anything.
Also think about your personality skills and interests there, like a million different projects you can do, again, do something that interests you do something that’s both within your skills. And then also you want to learn skills from it. So think about what you’re good at already, and maybe what you need to improve on or what you want to learn and then pick a project off of that so that you can not only do something that you’re really good at, but also learn something new.
And then also you want to do just something that interests you just so you don’t get bored.
Okay. So we’re going to go into some examples now. Okay. So from home or a solo, the project. From projects in the solo, but not run home or they can be at home and not so low. But pretty much the benefits for this is you get full creative control when you’re working by yourself or from home. There’s less restrictions such as COVID or travel.
So with those it’s you don’t really have to ask people for permission, like with other. Other types of projects, because it’s your space, it’s your idea. You get it full creative control because you’re not having a negotiate with somebody else about what you should do. It’s really, it’s your project.
And then there’s less restrictions because you don’t have to worry about. It’s a place of social distancing. You may not be able to go there to do your projects, or if you need to travel there, if you’re, if you don’t already have a car or if your parents can drive you, or if it’s too far to walk since you’re at home, you don’t have to worry about that.
Leadership skills and independence. So because you’re the one leading this project and you’re in charge everything from start to finish, you’re really gonna get that. You’re really gonna learn what it’s like to really manage a project. And then you’re gonna show that you’re independent which is a good skill to have For job opportunities because they want people that are competent and able to do stuff without being told or directed.
Also you may learn multiple skills again, since you’re doing this by yourself. Say if you’re creating a blog, you may be a great writer, but maybe you’re not as tech savvy. You would be learning how to like actually format it if you learned a bunch of tech skills. So you get to learn some new stuff in the process because you’re having to do everything.
And then that can really Build your skill level. Some considerations based limitations. If you’re doing this at home, you may not have all the space in the world to do a big project. Also harder to get, it’s harder to get a recommendation or references for this, because if you’re at home or by yourself, you may not have somebody watching you and you can’t ask your parents to read your recommendation just because that isn’t really a lab with the application process.
So this is going to be something that you really need to have some proof for. That’s haka and your personal statements, interviews and resume because you may not have somebody that’s able to vouch for you also, because since you’re doing it by yourself you take on all of the responsibility. So some examples of that, like I keep saying a million times creating a blog or website, you can do a small business, you can promote or run a social cause or political movement.
You can write a book, you can do babysitting, which is not really from home all the time. And then also that one could have some COVID restrictions, but you can start a babysitting business. You create could create your own course. Like those online courses you may see on different websites or platforms, you can just teach people how to.
Or do origami or something or you can make portfolio content, which another webinar in our summer series talk about doing different creative projects. So that’s something that can help if you’re trying to build your portfolio more so than your resume. You can do something at school.
So again, like COVID restrict because, but if your school is open and if you’re allowed, you can do different projects at your school. And since that’s some benefits of this is you can make school. Interesting. If you say, start a club, something for you and your friends do, that’s fun. It can make school a lot more enjoyable to go to.
Say you can get a unique and specific letter of recommendation. So I’ll talk about this in my actual example of a project I did at school, but if you, whatever teacher’s sponsor or administrator or whoever is having a watcher club, or you have to get permission from, if they see you doing this, they can write you a really good recommendation about your involvement around the school, which is a really strong.
Strong letter of recommendation for your application because colleges really like to see that you’re involved in your school and your community more so than just, oh, I went to school, I did the homework. I did the test. I went home. You actually did something there. Leadership skills and collaboration.
So same thing with the solo project. You gained some leadership, but you also gain collaboration skills. Cause you’re going to have to go ask for permission or interact with others. Doing this to figure out what they may want from your club or your project or something, or you may need to get a teacher sponsor.
You’re really going to be collaborating with people to really make this idea work. And then also learning multiple skills. So at some point, Some considerations are it’s, there’s more restrictions than if you did this at home. Because COVID travel having to get permission from someone or having to get a sponsor to watch over your club or your project, whatever you’re doing, because it is a school.
And then it also depends on you may have time constraints because the school day is only so long and then after-school programs can only go for so long and then. Thinking about parents picking up or being able to drive yourself. Those are things you really have to consider what at school projects, and then also time constraints.
You may or may not be able to do this, like on weekends or breaks, or like right now during the summer. If your schools are not open during those times, so that’s something to consider. This would more so be something you do during the school year. Also limits on creative control. So say if you want it to do a mural at your school, you may have some limitations on what you can do in that narrow, because it is a school.
So you get to create the idea, but the school may say, no, you can’t really do that. So that’s something to consider, but, and then also cost cause you or the school. Different opinions on who pays for what? Or they may not provide you money. So that’s something to consider also. So some examples are they starting a club, painting a mural, doing a service project, solve a problem at the school, help a teacher with a project or problem doing science there.
So a lot of schools. May still do science fair. I think that’s more of a ninth grade thing, but if you do a science fair project, that’s really interesting. That could be something you put on your resume under like the research section or just some experience that you had. If you do something that’s really meaningful.
And then for all of my IB kids, I was an IB student. Both of my projects that I’m actually going to talk about were IB project. One was an IAA and the other one was my cast project. So if you have to do that anyways for school, for your diploma consider using that, or if you have a senior project already consider using one of those two birds, one stone, build your resume and get the grade.
Okay. So our first example, so my senior year, I started the first ever college readiness club at my high school. And pretty much with this club, it was my CAS project for IB and I I created the presentations. I set up the meetings, I advertise it around the school. The meetings were pretty much going over the college admissions process, different types of colleges, different types of.
I went over how to do personal statements and supplements. And then I actually did editing and revising and brainstorming for personal statements and supplements for at first just seniors. But then I moved to 11th graders and then just getting them on the process. And then once I graduated, I was still working with The senior that took over Victoria and we were still collaborating and I was giving her the resources that I had.
And then she invited me back to do a panel to talk about my college experience. So I was still doing work with it. And then also I created a website for this project to put all the resources and all the presentations that I made so that people could access it if they miss meetings or if they just.
Sure help. And then it also had like my links and contact information so that they could add me to their Google docs to edit stuff on their essay supplements. And it was just a really big project that I did and I loved it. It was so fun. For me, which is nerdy, like I was just editing essays and stuff, but pretty much what I learned from it or the skills that I gained from it or public speaking, because I was speaking in front of my classmates.
People about college stuff. I learned communication skills to like doing one-on-one meetings with people or doing group meetings. I did learn how to do editing and revising and even brainstorming, which is something really creative. That looks good on the resume. Because I was doing the personal statements and then I learned leadership and management because I was in charge of everything for this club.
It was a solo project and it was something that I did at school, but I also did the website at home. I learned mentoring and advising, and then I also learned software and Website development goes. So the outcome of this project, so this is really the purpose of doing a project is it was a very strong talking point in my essays and interviews.
So I talked about this in my personal statement. It was on my resume. I talked about it in almost. Every interview that I’ve done to get internships. So my I’m a freshman right now, so I got an internship at an organization called destined for greatness outreach youth center, back home in Atlanta. Because I talked to them about my my experience with college readiness club.
And then initially I was applying to just be a mentor for one student, but then because the interview went well and I told him all my skills, I was able to get I was able to get an internship as their curriculum development specialist. So that’s something to really consider. And then also, this is how I got this job is talking about my work as a college advisor already back in high school.
Also what else? I got a great letter of recommendation from my assistant principal at my school who was the sponsor. And then she was able to talk about what I did, I’ll run the school and also she nominated me and I got the Atlanta journal constitution cup award, which is for students that Honors students did athletics and did community service around the school and were very involved in the school.
So that was something I was able to add to my resume too. And I also got a trophy, so that was fun. And then The most important thing is I found my passion from this and it was really helped me when I decided to make some changes in my life. So initially when I came to Cornell, I was pre-med and I was a public health major.
But then as the semester went on, I was just like, I don’t think pre-med is for me, even though I said I wanted to be a doctor since freshman year of high school when I actually started doing that. Yeah. It just, it wasn’t really in my heart. Like I want it to help people, but medicine wasn’t really for me.
And then I was actually invited back to this panel. During that time when I was contemplating what I wanted to do, and then going back to that panel, I was just so happy just to be talking about college admission and talking with students. And I really realized what my interest was. And then I talked to a.
An actual college counselor that I met in a yoga class was my yoga instruction instructor somehow, because everything just happens for a reason. And she was telling me about her job and I really love just everything she was saying about it and everything she was doing. And then I reflected back on my college writing in this club.
And I was like, that is something that I really am happy about doing. I could do it for free and it’s just, it’s nice to be able to get paid for it now. So this project can be something that really helps when you’re making a decision.
Okay, so local organization or business. This is similar to like your, an IB again, if you’re doing the if you’re an information and technology on in a global society ITGs for IB, you have to go out into the community and Help a local organization or your school with an ITT problem.
Using what you’ve learned in class, this is similar to that, but pretty much you’re going to be hung out to say a nonprofit or a small business, somewhere in your community. And they’re just going to reach out to them and see if you can help out or do any sort of project with them. That’s a little bit more nuanced than it may seem, but it’s going to involve you actually going out and presenting yourself to a business organization with something that you’re good at and sneaking your way into their organization, not, it’s like making yourself an unofficial internship in a sense depending on what you’re doing, how you’re doing it.
So pretty much the benefits of this is you can get firsthand experience in a workplace. Or in an organization. So you really get to see the ins and outs of a business, how to interact with people, how to be professional. You learn a lot of those soft skills and hard skills that you need when actually going into the workplace.
And that’s something that’s really going to benefit you in the longterm, because you have to learn that regardless. You can get a unique letter of recommendation, similar to doing something at your school, but this one is even better because. Anyone can pretty much get a recommendation from someone at this, at their school, but getting something from outside in the real world is really gonna set you apart because colleges really want to see that you’re involved with the world pretty much, how to interact with people, you know how to do stuff outside of school, because that’s what you’re essentially going to be doing when you go to college.
And they just want to see that you’re. Are really a go getter in a sense. So it’s a really good recommendation and most people probably won’t have besides like sports, but, so leadership and collaboration skills similar, like woodworking with your school, you can learn multiple skills and then college is like this.
So some restrictions, again, COVID restrictions, travel restrictions limit on creative control, just because This is somebody’s business organization. They may have their own ways of doing stuff. So it may be hard to Present your own ideas just because you’re just sorta coming in and doing something.
So that’s something to consider and then also your age may be something to consider. So some organizations may just not have you just because you’re younger and you’re minors, and that might be a liability issue. It’s really about going and finding like I said, someplace small, like you don’t want to go looking for to be an organization like PETA, because that’s a world renowned organization.
You’re probably not going to get an email reply back, but if you go to someplace small and local, like your local YMCAs or somewhere and say, Hey, I want to do this for you. Or I want to do this in collaboration with you. They may be more willing. And then they you just gotta explain to them what you’re doing.
So some examples of projects, and I’ll give you a specific example in the next slide, but some different examples are you can do a service project. You could solve a problem that they’re having. You can promote or run a social cause or political movement. You can volunteer for an administrative or leadership position at a non-profit similar to what I did with destined for greatness.
That depends on what your skill level is and what you’re able to present yourself as if you can get those positions. And then also you can just be a content created. So maybe if you see that an organization. You still use this paper and pen to re chord stuff where they don’t really have a website or they have one of those Facebook websites that are impossible to use, you can go to them and create, modernize their organization, bring everything digital, make them a website, or just move their records to like Excel or something.
If you’re good at that. So an example of something that I did is my junior year a year for my ITGs class. I did my IAA with local consignments, a local consignment store that I live nearby and I was their social media developer. And I just reached out to the owner after doing my research on them.
So I found out like I was just looking for random places to do my project at, and then I just saw them and there. Facebook web page and their Instagram, it was some tacky photos. Like it just wasn’t good photography in my opinion. And I was like, okay, I kinda know how to do photography. So I started watching YouTube videos about how did you Flatlight photography, how to do that?
Geography, how to edit photos. And I started learning some different skills that would be useful. And then I emailed the owner and I told her about my idea and what my project was for and what I was trying to do. And then she replied back to me and we started going back and forth. And then I was able to go in, do my projects and take some photos to like here on the right of the page is what I did.
I like, I went to dollar tree and I got some. What are those things called? Some wrapping paper, and I just laid it on the floor and I got some of her clothes and stuff at her place. And I laid them out and like the way that flat light photography is done. And then I just took the photos on my phone. And then when I got home, I like cropped it edited it, put the On it.
And I made a bunch of different photos for her to post on stuff. And then I also made a small one minute promotional video for her YouTube and for her Instagram. And I just, again, did that on my phone. I didn’t spend any money on any equipment or anything. And it was just a simple little project, but what I gained from it is I learned photography and videography.
I learned editing and graphic design skills. And I learned communication because I learned how to email professionally, which is something I didn’t really have to do before. I learned how to propose an idea. I got networking skills out of it because I was able to network with her. And then I was able to learn how to do social media markets, social media marketing.
Cause the photos actually got some pretty good. So the outcome, I was able to explore my interest in fashion design. I really love clothes. I love everything about clothes. Like last summer I spent a good bit of time sewing and I was just Making different clothes. I made a whole clothing line, so I just love clothes.
I was offered a job actually over spring break that year. And she called me to come back in and do some more photos for her. And I actually got paid $50. So that was technically my first real job. And this is my junior year. So you can do it younger is what I’m trying to say, but And then the owner also wrote me a letter of recommendation, and this was a really good recommendation just because it was out in the community.
She was able to talk about this experience I had, which I didn’t really get to talk about anywhere else in my application, just because it wasn’t an extracurricular, it was on my resume, but I didn’t really get to discuss it anywhere else. And then also this sort of just worked out for the best, but she also, I wondered like what she did like for her day job, because it didn’t seem like working at this consignment store was her full-time job. And I found out after the fact that she was actually an admissions officer at a local college.
So her recommendation ended up really setting you apart because she just so happened to be an admissions officer. And she was able to talk about something I did in the community. So that really worked out. Do your research on people figure out, maybe they can get yourself stuff, Chinese people, people, you want to network with people because they can really get you far.
Okay, so group project. Some of the benefits of doing a group project is you have more resources, of course, and you get more support because you’re not just doing something by yourself. You get more brainstorming, you get to bounce ideas off of people, rather than just having to come up with something yourself.
And so that can really help with creating something creative. Unlike with a solo project where you have more leadership experience because you’re the one taking care of the whole project and a group project you’ll learn more delegation skills. So spitting out What skills each person has.
There may be one person in the group that is the lead, but for the most part, you will all learn how to like delegate tasks based on the skills that you already have. And you’ll learn how to collaborate. And that’s still good for your resume. It may not be leadership per se, but knowing how to Contribute your own skills and abilities and personality to a project in order to have a team effort.
It’s something that’s really, a lot of businesses need not just going to be working on stuff alone. You’re going to be collaborating with people. So knowing how you can contribute to something is something that’s really strong to present in your resume and in interviews. That is a skill, honestly like knowing how to do a group project is a skill.
So you can learn multiple skills or you can just build on the skills that you’re focusing on your projects and your delegating, and then community involvement. Some considerations is coordinating can be difficult, especially if say somebody needs a ride somewhere or y’all have to meet somewhere. All of you have probably worked in a group project at your school, and there’s always one person that kind of slacks us.
So knowing who you’re working with is really important when considering a group project, just because if one person isn’t picking up their weight, it can really be a drag. And then So really know who you’re working with, what they’re able to do and what they’re able to bring to this project so that you don’t have to deal as much with those types of issues.
Also limitation on travel and then some limits on creative control, just because you aren’t by yourself, you having to bounce ideas off of people. And everybody has to agree on an idea. Okay. So some examples of this can be create a short film or music video. Cause those were quite a lot of people say, one person is the director.
One person is the writer. One person is the main star and one person is doing the camera. So that’s some, that’s a project that requires a lot of people that would help rather than just doing it by yourself. And you can delegate based on people’s abilities or. And then it’s something that you can do for fun with your friends.
Like it’s a good time to hang out with people while also doing something beneficial. You can start a small business, you can do a service project, you can create a clothing line or you can, promote or run a social cause or political movement similar to the other project. You just get more people to help you with it.
So finally we have a skills based project, which isn’t necessarily a project is more so you’re focusing on a specific skill or skills that you want to learn. And this can be a little bit more difficult to talk about and like your resume or portfolio or in personal statement, just because it isn’t really a big experience per se, that has a lot of details to talk about.
It’s more so you’re focusing on something So some benefits is you can develop this specific skills that you need for the job or career you want to go into. You can receive a certification. You can learn multiple skills at once. It’s maybe harder to do multiple projects at once, but with skills it’s you can learn as many as you can handle and you can do it from anywhere because a lot of like skills classes or courses are online, some are in person and COVID restrictions.
It’s something that you can do. You can do a lot with the skills and then you can also learn a skill so that you can be able to do a project later. So that’s something to consider. But some limitations, it can be harder to translate into a personal statement or resume. Like I said, though, with a resume, you can write out in like a skill section, which I’ll show in a minute.
My skills are this and this, depending on what the skill is. So like hard skills you know how to use Microsoft Excel or you know how to develop a website. Are easier to talk about, but like a soft skills, like interpersonal skills or you’re an active listener, maybe harder to translate into your resume just because those are things you want to show rather than tell.
In your resume, where your actual, like job leadership work experience and whatnot, you want to incorporate those soft skills oh, I’m able to communicate with people. I’m able to negotiate. Those are things you want to communicate through the actual meat of your resume, rather than putting them in the skills section, because it may be a little awkward, just saying oh, I’m a good listener.
You want to see like your hard skills that are like, tangible oh, I know how to code this. I know to do this. Also, it’s harder to get a letter of recommendation or a reference. So if you’re taking a course though a lot of courses will offer you like a certificate, like something physical.
So you can use that as your voucher, but it may be harder to get like a reference or recommendation just because the teachers of these courses may not be like face-to-face or they may not necessarily be willing to give you a letter of recommendation, or it may not mean much. Just because you took a class these are like, Learning a skill is good because it shows that you’re capable of doing stuff.
It’s not necessarily something you, you can talk about as much in like interviews or personal statements, just because you’re expected to have these skills, if you want those positions also costs some classes to learn skills because a lot of money, some are for free, but some can run like a hundred dollars.
So like some examples you can learn a new language because by being bilingual or knowing multiple languages, really good for a job, you can learn to code, you can learn first aid or get CPR certified. Those classes can run about a hundred dollars. So that’s something to consider. You can learn how to use Excel or Google sheets, because that is something that a lot of adults still don’t know how to use.
I personally do not know how to use Excel that well. So that’s really a skill that you could consider learning. And then also you can learn how to be an active listener. They have different courses on like people’s skills and negotiating and networking, which are good skills you want to learn that will help you in the long term.
Those are just ones that really translate well for Writing about or talking about, but they can be good just for connecting with people. Okay. So some examples of resumes. So these these cutouts are actually from my actual resume. The first one I’m actually thinking about changing, cause I read over it again and it’s a little, it’s not as professional sounding as it needs to be.
It was from my time at my best friend’s closet and Lawrenceville Georgia. I was the social media developer and photographer. I did it for six months, as you can see from November, 2018 to April, 2019, and I created the commercial and then I did the designing photography and social media. So I showed my skills.
I showed my time commitment. It was it’s been a pretty good piece on my resume. And then my college readiness club, I clearly had more stuff to talk about. So Shiloh high school, that’s my little high school. I did it for well over a year. Just because I was still going back and doing different resources.
So that really showed a time commitment. And this was the real heart of my resume interviews, everything just because I gained a lot from it. So I started the club or launched it. I I tutored students which shows at those interpersonal skills, like being able to tutor, mentor, assist, guide those types of words in CLI interpersonal skills, because in order to do them, you need to be able to connect with people.
I facilitated meanings. I’m able to quantify how many students I worked with. I developed the website and then I created a formula for writing personal statements, which is something that’ll tell you. Oh, and another webinar someday. But yeah, I really learned a lot from this experience and I was able to translate it into my resume, personal statements, everything.
So for skills and interests. So as you can see here for certifications, these are you just have your own section for it, but pretty much the certifications that I have, it’s from this thing called Citi training, and I technically have three, but the first one is like just the basic one that everyone gets, but I got two more specific ones.
Social and human behavioral science studies and then humanities space. So I get to work with people in those content areas. And then that was just a class that I took that Cornell offers students for free. So when you get to college, getting those types of trainings and certifications are easier because most schools will offer it.
But if you want to get it sooner, you can’t. But I’d recommend it. First aid, CPR, AED. Those ones are not as common among people, but they’re, those are ones that are easier for high schoolers to get technical skills graphic design, video editing software, and then web design, which I got from the best friend’s closet experience.
Okay, so we’re getting to close almost so pretty much. This project is the timeline that I mapped out. Having it as a summer project right now you just brainstorm your ideas, come up with some things that you may want to do, thinking about what you’re good at, what you maybe want to get better at what you’re interested in.
Start, if you want to do a business or a big project, start planning out the budget and getting permission for whatever sort of resources or locations. Yeah. Next by like June start actually doing the project and writing reflections. So you’re going to do this all the way until school starts pretty much.
That’ll give you that three month period of really being able to develop and build your project September, since you have all your reflections written. You’ll just be able to start working on your resume components and then actually creating your personal statements based off of these reflections.
And then by early October, November depending on if you’re doing early decision or regular decision, you can start asking for letters of recommendation from people will say, if you worked with somebody like your collaborators or your sponsors. So around that time you would ask for You want to ask for recommendations and also provide them with your resume and maybe just a description of the project that you did with them so that they can have an idea of some talking points to talk about it and a recommendation.
So if you’re starting this, if you’re starting this during the school year, so pretty much you have early summer made a July, depending on when you get out of school to really start brainstorming and doing all that budgeting and planning by July early August. Asking for permission, depending on if your school is open if your school opens later, like in September, then just push these dates back a month.
But pretty much it works out about the same timeframe. And then August through September, you want to actually start doing the project and keeping your journal. And then by mid September to November, It’s when you want to start making your resume, your personal statement doing it during the school year is going to give you less time.
So that’s why I say start during the summer, just because you’ll have more time. You’ll have less to worry about with school. And then also if maybe you figured out you don’t really like the first project you did, you still have some time to start over to a different project. Or if you finished that project and just want to do something else, you have more time to do more projects.
And then also I’m starting earlier. Like I planned this out for seniors, but you can start earlier and it’s actually better if you start earlier. Even all the way back to freshman year, if you’re a freshman here just because you get yours to either commit to a project, if you end up really liking it or you get time to do multiple projects or learn multiple skills, just because you have more time.
And then you really get to see different aspects of projects pretty much what more time. And then you don’t have to stress as much. You can do it more formerly on just because you had more time to prepare and plan out stuff. With my With the, my college readiness club. I did that one as a last minute project.
Cause I started it August my senior year. So I sorta had to bootleg my way through some requirements. It was a little less formal because like I asked for permission to do it at the school, but I was moving classrooms. Every couple of every other meeting I changed classrooms just because having to get, I didn’t really have an official sponsor.
So doing it earlier allows for you to get more. Formal processes done and it makes it a lot less stressful, a lot more planned out. But it is possible to do it last minute. If you are a senior and you’re trying to scramble to get something on your resume and it can be really strong, even though it’s later in your high school career.
Some people think that, oh, if I do everything, my senior year of college is like that. No, if you do some, if you just do a bunch of things for the sake of doing them, then it won’t really matter. Like I joined duck my senior year just to have it on my resume. It didn’t mean anything. I just paid $35. But yeah.
Even though the college readiness club was just my senior year. It’s still had a lot of meeting just because I did a lot with it. I learned a lot from it and I was able to articulate what I did well. And then, so I think that’s about it. Okay. Brainstorming. So this is the time to start brainstorming some ideas.
We’re going to have a Q and a after this, but when you’re considering what you want to do, think about some of these questions. 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? If you’re more extroverted, maybe you want to do a project where you’re out front and center, but if you’re more introverted and maybe you don’t want to, maybe you’re not as strong with communications to go.
So maybe you want to do something by yourself, but you can, there are a lot of projects that you can do as an intern. And do a blog. I don’t know why it keeps saying a blog. You can write a book, you can do something that’s for yourself that can be meaningful, but this can also, if you’re an introvert, this could be a time for you to learn those skills that you’re going to need in the future eventually to really communicate with people, to really reach out to people and network so that you can get over, maybe some of your introversion and be able to adapt to those new situations.
What are you bad at? Maybe your not so good at Excel or you’re not so good at I don’t know, writing. Maybe you want to try one of these projects to challenge yourselves and to learn some new skills. And then it could, it’s a really good time to do that without any pressure. What skill or hobby would you like to learn?
What is a problem you want to solve? So my best friend’s closet project was solving an it problem. Her social media was bad. Maybe it’s something more personal. Like I was saying with the political social movements, maybe. The form of protest for something that you’re really passionate about, that’s something that’s really strong to talk about.
How you would phrase that in your resume. There are some ways I’d recommend looking it up. And I also recommend it talking to a college advisor. I can probably figure out how to do it. It would probably be similar to any other resume section, but it could be a little different just because it, social movements aren’t necessarily a job if that isn’t like your full time.
And then also, why should you do this project? Maybe that could be your reason for. Knowing why you’re doing something is what’s really gonna make it more interesting and more meaningful. Because the reason I did my college readiness club is because access to education is literally my whole thing. I was so mad just because not every kid had the opportunities to learn about how to get into college, how to do a resume, how to do a personal statement.
And so that’s what really drove me to create that club. So knowing your, why you’re doing this project can really set it apart when you’re talking about.
All right, so that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you have. We hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab. Before we continue on to the Q and a.
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Awesome. Moving on to the live Q and a. So I’ll read through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them into the public chat so you can see and then read them out loud before our panel is give you an answer as a heads up. If your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions. Just double check that you joined the webinars through the custom link in your email and not in the webinar landing page.
All right. First question is what passion projects would you recommend for people seeking an engineering or physics career? I’ve been looking for some ideas, but I’ve gotten stuck. I. So when I said that your projects can be related to a career field of interest it doesn’t necessarily need to relate directly to that interest.
So doing something with engineering or physics could be a little bit more difficult just because those require a lot more resources. So maybe if you don’t do something directly related, you can do a project. With like math and science skills. And like some of those engineering skills that you would use another job for something maybe not even related, like creating a website or what physicists do.
You can do a science fair project with physics, or you can do something that’s not related, but you can still learn a lot of skills from it. If you were to start a You can start a physics or engineering club at your school. You could tutor people in physics cause or engineering. It’s not necessarily doing those skills that apply, but it’s teaching other skills.
Like you can learn mentoring and advising it demonstrates that you really know the content. I would have to look into that one more. If you want to contact me through the college advisor or through my email you can, but I think some, if it’s hard to find something where you can get all the materials and something to do then do something that you learned skills from though.
It may not be directly related. All right. Next question is I really want to create a club at my school. However, I’m a junior now and haven’t started a club before and don’t know if it would be of interest at my school. What do I, what do you suggest I do. And do you think it is too late to start it since I will be applying this year?
It is not too late. I started at college readiness club my senior year, like the first day of my senior year. And I just you got an, it depends on what the purpose of your club is. Like what you’re trying to do at your club. Maybe ask around, ask some friends or some distant people, if they would be interested in being a part of this club, just so you know that you have people at your meetings.
Like I just texted people. I was like, Hey, do you need help writing a personal statement? Do y’all need to know how to do this? Just to see if there’d be an interest for it. And most of the time there is an interest for it. It’s never too late to start. Depending on your school, where you’re at and your restrictions with COVID and then just in general with it being your school.
I would ask a administrator and, or a teacher because you’re probably gonna need a sponsor if this is going to be after school, if it’s actually in person, but if it’s on zoom, do whatever it may be hard to start Right now at the end of your junior year, but maybe over the summer, come up with the idea, get, see if you can get some interest from it.
And by August timeframe, start emailing the administrators saying, Hey, we got a few people interested in this club. Can we see about actually getting a meeting space and being able to do it? For the school year and then also emailing teachers to bear out who could be your sponsor for that, but pretty much, it’s never too late.
Just plan it out. See if there’s some interest. Maybe if there isn’t that much interest either come up with a new club idea or if it’s something that you really want it like a club you really want to, I have I dunno, an anime club that may be popular, but for the sake of an example and anime club, if no one else is really interested in.
The end. You still want to start it, go about starting it and just try and get some people interested just so you can just do it pretty much. Just started. You still have time. It’s going to look good. Just the planning alone can be meaningful experiences.
All right. Next question is what kind of passion project would you recommend for a while? For a lot, I’d recommend a social issue. That’s on the kind of law. Do you mean family medicine or which kinda that’ll make a difference? You do You can write something. Writing is going to be important to being a lawyer.
So maybe you can write a blog about different social issues or different problems in law. You can. Start a mock, not a mock you N but you can start a debate team at your school if you don’t already have one, because that’s something that’s important with being a lawyer, you’re going to be debating back and forth.
So learning those skills and then that can also get your heart recommendation rec recognition around schools, because a lot of schools really going to those debate debate schools that they have The not to beat schools, debate competitions that they have for high schoolers, that’s where they end up finding all their future lawyers.
What’s another project that would be similar to law. Again, it doesn’t necessarily have to be directly related. It could just be learning some of those necessary skills like negotiating, and you can start a small business. You can do a service project. You can. Nothing ever has to be directly related to what you want to do.
It’s helpful if it is, but mainly it’s just doing something. That’s an interest in you that you can get a lot of skills from. And you can look up different project ideas, and then you can look up different types of skills you need for a certain job, and then figure out which one aligns.
Awesome. Next question is, would doing a summer job at a restaurant count as a project. Not necessarily a project unless you own the restaurant, just because that’s the job. So that is something that’s meaningful, just because you learn You said waitering you can learn how to work at the dining hall.
So I sorta know the food industry and it’s you learn how to interact with people and be friendly, even if they’re not so friendly. So that’s a good skill. You learn how to manage multiple tables at once. What else do you do? You learn how to serve people. You learn customer service, you learn I don’t know math, if you’re doing the cash register Those still have some valuable skills.
It’s not necessarily a passion project with the passion project. It’s something that you actually create yourself. And you have more control over. So if you were to say, start your own business or start your own waitering service, where you go to different places and waiter for them for a business, then that would count as a passion project.
But that’s more of just a.
All right. And I think this may be our last question. We’ll see. So next question is I am writing a CS book with a friend from my school. Do you know some ways that we can scale our passion project to a deeper level
CS book? What is a CS book? I believe that’s a great question. That was not specified in question. With my friends, from my school. If it’s just like a regular book running with your friends so the way you’d go about that may be more of a port folio part, but you can. I’m not fully sure actually on how to make like you wrote a book into your resume, but just look up how authors write their resume.
I think it’s more like a portfolio or like a CV sort of situation where they’re like describing driving what they did. But I know that some transferable skills from writing a book could be research goes because you have to research your topic to write about it. Writing and editing and revising clearly Oh computer science, but, or unless another person said that so book to doing the research Yeah, I’d say, just look up how a actual author writes their own resume and points.
But I know for like interviews and personal statements talking about the research, you did what you learned from him, how this book was able to help somebody or what it was able to do is going to be really strong. So that’s, it’s really about what the point of the book is. That’s going to make it more passionate, more meaningful, like, how is this book going to help people?
Like, why do people need to read.
All right. So that is the end of the webinar. We had a really great time telling you about how to create a passion project in high school. And here is our homemade webinars series. Yeah.
All right. And with that, our webinar has concluded. Thank you so much for joining. For some of the questions that didn’t get answered. Just, I sent my email in the chat. I posted that in the public trap. Okay. So in Murray at, during college advisor.com, email me your questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Great. Thank you, Mackenzie. And thank you all for joining us.