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Duke University
Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Create Passion Projects to Help You Stand Out

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Alexandra Johnson in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.


What’s Covered:



What is a Passion Project?


You may have started a school organization or committee as a result of an existing academic or extracurricular interest. You could have created an initiative within your community in response to a significant event. You might have even started working on a personal project to sharpen your skills in a certain field. These are only a handful of examples, but a passion project can be anything that you have invested time and resources into outside of school that highlights a certain interest. 


A passion project is an idea or concept that you create to express yourself. While it doesn’t have to be executed with the intention of being beneficial to the community around you, that is an added bonus! 


It’s often understood that these passion projects and acts of service to the community can not only help improve you as a leader within a community but also help strengthen your college applications! 


How To Get Started on a Passion Project


1. Keep an Open Mind


There are numerous ways to go about creating a passion project. A passion project can take the form of anything, such as a website, small business, or non-profit organization. It could also be the creation of a club or community dedicated to a specific mission. 


With your passion project, you are mainly trying to showcase a specific interest and hone your leadership and organizational skills in the process. The scale of the project can be as big or as small as you want – the main focus should be fulfilling your personal passions. Anyone can create a passion project, so don’t limit yourself!


2. Brainstorm Ideas


When brainstorming ideas for a passion project, think about your strengths and weaknesses as well as your interests. Possibly start by considering some of your strongest subjects in school, or, if you are up for the challenge, the ones that you struggle with the most. You could also start the brainstorming process by simply going online and looking up examples of personal projects or extracurricular activities that interest you.


Once you have a list of possible areas you want to explore, try to think of a medium to express these interests. Perhaps you can start a social media account on Instagram or YouTube to showcase your project and build a community. Perhaps you could create a website that helps people connect over your common interest in a topic. As we mentioned in the first point, make sure to keep an open mind at this stage.


3. Make Your Idea Come to Life


Now that you have decided on an interest and a medium to express it through, it’s time to get creative. Think about what you need to do to make your project come to life and determine an action plan moving forward.


To get your passion project up and running, it might help to find members around your community who are like-minded. Making the project a group effort will make it more manageable and hold you accountable throughout the process.


How To Record Proof of a Passion Project


There are numerous ways of recording proof of your passion projects to make it presentable in your college application. For example, if you created paintings and sold them as a fundraiser for a social cause, transcripts of sales, pictures of the paintings, and proof of donating the money can be added into your applications.


More importantly, remember these passion projects shouldn’t be done with the sole purpose of creating a better application. This could reflect as shallow and distasteful to a counselor, so make sure to try something with the intention of creating something meaningful.


How Can a Passion Project Affect Admissions? 


Admissions officers are often looking at more than just your academic qualifications when considering your acceptance into a college or university. They also want to see a holistic student, meaning that participation in numerous forms of extracurricular activities is important! 


A passion project is just one of many ways to exhibit the traits of a holistic applicant, and it is often more impressive to admissions officers since it showcases creativity, leadership ability, and perseverance. If you have any special or unique interests, a personal project could be a great way to highlight these traits in your application.