The world of college admissions is ever-evolving. There are schools that have removed testing from their entrance requirements, only to reinstate them again. There are test-blind and test-optional universities. Some schools require an admissions essay, while others do not. These criteria can be affected by things like pandemics, testing trends, and school policy changes. While colleges may have moving targets as far as entrance requirements go, there is one thing that we do at College Ready that really helps each student—no matter what—to stand out: The Passion Project. 

Since its inception, College Ready has encouraged students to work on a way to combine talents and energy with passions and interests.  In turn, College Ready students take all of these elements and turn them into a project that will make a positive impact in a local or national community, or even help others on an international level.  This is no small feat for students who are busy with full course loads of impressive rigor, sports, music, or other extracurriculars. However, creating a personal Passion Project is a great way for students to discover more about themselves as they prepare to go to college. 

College Ready has worked with students as they’ve sewn homemade dresses made out of pillowcases for children in need across the globe. Other College Ready clients have taught local and global communities to sew accessories or to make jewelry in order to earn money as local artisans. Another student worked to deliver dental hygiene products to a South American village. When students consider the intersection of their passions and talents, the possibilities for successful Passion Projects are endless. 

College Ready helps students to focus on their skills, make detailed timelines, and execute plans to do good things all over the world. Passion Projects can be transformative (and they often make great story material for those important college admissions essays).  

One specific way College Ready gets students inspired and organized for this kind of work is through a unique group leadership opportunity: The President’s Leadership Council/Healthy Minds Project. Consultant Debra Carlson Wood explains a bit about this endeavor: “Healthy Minds is a project designed to give youth the opportunity to develop leadership skills, and perform community service. College Ready provides mentorship and oversight to the students. A group of students creates the foundation and develops the programs. They recruit students from all over the US and hope to expand internationally.”  These students are inspired to serve their communities; They also hope to recruit other volunteers over time– parents, relatives, friends, and other community members. 

The goals of this leadership project center on enhancing mental health in young people by utilizing sports and physical activity. The leadership council is divided into six task forces, each with a with specific focus and responsibility in the project. The student leaders collaborate with one another as well as lead their own groups. The six task forces include: Mental Health Community, Research and Writing, Outreach and Promotion, Sports Equipment Drives, Sports Equipment Distribution, and Outreach Clinics. 

College Ready Consultant Debra Carlson Wood describes it in a bit more detail: “The mission of the Council involves an inclusive, multifaceted approach. Each task force complements the other in serving youth in foster care, senior citizens, victims of homelessness and human trafficking, and young people who suffer from financial difficulties that deter them from participating in physical activity or sports and experiencing the benefits that exercise offers to mental health.”  In addition, each task force decides how they will accomplish their specific responsibility. Possible actions include using service and support animals, promoting nutrition and healthy cooking, publishing of educational articles and interviews, sharing instructional reading material, and including mental health advocacy.  

College Ready is not only helping students as they prepare to enter college, they’re teaching students life skills. These projects’ goals are to help students develop leadership skills, to engage in community service, and to identify and develop their areas of passion. College Ready hopes to involve as many people as possible to help make a substantial difference in the world, one piece and one step at a time. Students don’t need to be associated with College Ready in order to get involved with The President’s Leadership Council. As you consider colleges, also consider finding your passion and starting a project that will change the world!

Check out more about the Healthy Minds Project at:

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