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Best Passion Project Ideas for High School Students

byline Jonathan Pizzutti

In an increasingly competitive college admissions landscape, high school students are looking for better ways to stand out from the crowd to get into their target schools.

Many are finding that the best way to maximize your chances of acceptance is through a passion project. A passion project lets you take a passion that you have and turn it into something impactful that you can showcase on your college application to demonstrate your interests, your initiative, and your ability to make a difference.

A passion project can be anything that you want it to be, but here are a few of your best options.

Start a Business

College admission officers love students who are entrepreneurial. Starting a business shows that you are a leader and have the practical skills to create something that other people value. Your business can be in any area (tutoring, marketing, etc.), but it is often recommended that you find a way to run your venture online to have more opportunities to scale. And once you start your business, you will find yourself learning a lot of knowledge and skills that will give you a better idea of what you want to study and what career path you want to pursue.

Develop an App

Technology is powerful, which makes those who can use it very powerful. Developing an app demonstrates that you are the type of person who can come up with an idea and create a piece of technology that improves people’s lives. And if you are worried that you are not a tech savvy enough to build an app, there are plenty of “no code” development platforms that allow you to build highly sophisticated apps without as high of a learning curve, and no one will know the difference. Plus, creating an app opens you up to a whole new world of technology which can lead to plenty of great professional opportunities as well.

Create a Social Campaign

Who doesn’t want to accept a student who will make the world a better place? If you have a cause or an issue that you care about, creating a social campaign might be the right choice for you. Whether you want to enter the nonprofit world or not, launching a campaign teaches you about organizational operations, advocacy tactics, and social issues. And again, if you are able to run your campaign using technology, you will have the chance to have a much greater impact and even touch the lives of people around the world.

How to Build a Passion Project

Knowing that you should do a passion project and actually doing one successfully are two entirely different things.

Thankfully, there is a solution here.

PrepX is a college prep company that offers online bootcamps and advising specifically on how to build a passion project that you can leverage for college and career success. They work with students on creating all the passion project ideas above in their various bootcamps and can help you build any other idea that you can think of through one-on-one coaching.

You can check out what PrepX has to offer here.

2022-07-21T11:50:38-04:00

The Power of Play

 by Miss Grace of consultingandtutoringedu.com

 

School, learning, academics, and tutoring are often synonymous with sitting in a hard chair at a table or a desk with the expectation that you will learn based on what the teacher or tutor is telling you and complete some sort of worksheet or drill. I want to shift the perception of learning and highlight the incredible benefits play provides to a child’s educational journey.

 

Why Play?

As educators we strive for children to find that spark of curiosity; to evaluate, analyze, predict and problem solve in diverse scenarios. A key part of curiosity is the freedom to explore not only your environment but also individual learning preferences. Curiosity and the freedom to explore encourages natural engagement. Play-based learning methods activate and stimulate areas of the brain to build foundations for later learning more effectively than traditional schooling methods (Stagnitti, 2016).

 

Play Isn’t Just for Academics

Social emotional learning, or SEL, in the educational world is gaining traction across the country. Social emotional learning includes thoughts, feelings, safe spaces, behavior management, self-regulation, following rules and directions, conversing with others, focus/attention, and play. Through play a child has the opportunities for practice the skills listed above all in a short period of time and sometimes all at once. Take for example sharing, young children learn to share toys and naturally not everyone is happy about it. During play, scenarios arise and provide natural consequences to actions. Taking a toy from a peer without asking leads to an emotional outburst and in this moment we can teach some how to choose a positive role in our society. The person who took without asking takes ownership of one’s actions by apologizing and giving back the toy. They learn to repair the relationship through continued play with the same peer and how to obtain the toy they want using a positive approach.

 

Play Partners

A play partner is anyone; parents, siblings, teachers, tutors, same aged peers, older or younger peers, grandparents, the list goes on. As a parent play partner your role is crucial and sometimes feels a little weird. As adults we don’t use our free time to sit and play with dolls or create wild fantasies in our head and then run around the yard pretending to be superheroes, or at least, most of us don’t. We often sit and observe play, or when we do participate we are at a distance and allow the child to take the lead. Get involved, if you want your child to move and grove you are right alongside them with silliness, laughter, and messy hands and clothes. Don’t be afraid to get down in the dirt, literally, when playing. Let go of your expectations for the play and allow for complete exploration and start with a warm up. For example, set up a goal area and kick a soccer ball through the goal, bring out butterfly nets and catch bugs, or throw water balloons to each other without them breaking.

 

How To Play

Remember, you are an equal part of this experience. First choose a toy, I like toys with multiple steps and possibilities, like trains. Clear a space on the floor, then have your child help you put the tracks together, choose a train, and move it around the track. During play use your own voice to make the train sounds, and create a scenario where the train falls off the tracks and needs help. When playing outside in the summertime I gravitate towards open spaces with some shade. Explore your area, sticks are now drumsticks and the tree is your drum, sing a familiar song to the tree as you play and lull it to sleep. A big stick is now a pony named Buttercup and you count your gallops/steps as you ride across the yard.

 

Play Activities for Academics

As a play partner you can guide the session with predetermined goals. For example, my goal is for a child to repeat and identify rhyming words. First, we take turns blowing bubbles and twirling around in a circle to make a bubble ring, and run around to pop, stomp, and clap the bubbles. Pair the movements with a song that has repetitive phrases like “clap, clap, clap those bubbles, clap, clap, clap those bubbles, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap”. Gradually, add in another word rhymes like clap and tap, pop and bop.

 

I hope I gave enough background knowledge and ideas to include play in your everyday life, or at the very least a little silliness.

 

Play  🧩 Learn  🧠  Grow  🌼

 

Miss Grace

For more information on how Miss Grace can help you, visit https://www.consultingandtutoringedu.com/

Source:

​​Stagnitti, K., Bailey, A., hudspeth Stevenson, E., Reynolds, E., & Kidd, E. (2016). An investigation into the effect of play-based instruction on the development of play skills and oral language. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 14(4), 389-406.

 

 

2022-07-21T11:26:24-04:00

Introducing Flex Prep

WHAT IS FLEX PREP?

Want to skip the classes and online group prep? Looking for a customized prep? Don’t despair! Flex prep is year-round tutoring ONLINE for the SAT and ACT.

(more…)

2022-05-31T18:44:39-04:00

What are the SAT Question and Answer Service and ACT Test Information Release?

From time to time students will be confused by their performance on their SAT or ACT.  They will say: “I don’t understand why my English score dropped”, or “I thought I aced the math, what happened”?

To better understand test performance, both College Board and ACT provide a service that allows you to purchase a copy of the test you took.  This service is not available for all test dates, but in 2020-21, SAT is releasing the tests for October, March and May, and ACT is releasing the tests for December, April, and June.

Both services provide you a clean copy of the test, your answers, and the correct answers.  I highly recommend you order the test if you wish to do further test preparation.  This can be done when you register for your test or after you get your scores.  You have up to five months after your test date to order the SAT; you have six months to order the ACT.

The name of College Board’s service is the Question and Answer Service.  (Do not confuse this with the Answer Verification Service available for all test dates and described on the same page).  Click here to find out more.

The equivalent product from ACT is called the Test Information Release.  To order your ACT test, click this link for further instructions.

For insight on why scores can fluctuate, read this article that discusses variability in the ACT Science scores.

For questions, write Kate Dalby at kvs@katedalby.com

2021-03-04T20:34:36-05:00

Score Results for 2020 Are Coming In

Wow.  What a crazy year it has been.

We started the new year moving from our McLean, VA office to a new location in Vienna, VA.  We were so excited to be in a new space near so many of our clients; it was such a promising beginning . . . then Covid hit.  Bam!  We went from 60 to 0 over night.  Students’ SAT and ACT test dates were cancelled, we were locked down (eventually closing our office) and all we could safely do was go online to tutor.  Even though we have tutored remotely in the past with great results, we weren’t sure if our success would hold up under large numbers of students.  By June we were getting pretty busy and this is the first chance to catch our breath and assess our results.  If you haven’t reported your scores, we would love to hear from you.

The following are profiles of students and their results:

  1. BZ, ’21, prepped in the spring SAT before covid.  Raised scores 170 pts to a super score of 790v 780m.
  2. CJ ’22 took a couple of SAT lessons online and raised scores 80 pts to 790v 800m.
  3. GC ’22 started at an SAT of 590v 650m raised scores 210 pts. to 700v 750m. Only half way through online flex prep – plans to retest in spring.
  4. KC’21 took SAT flex prep online and raised scores from 1270 to 1430 (160 pt. gain.)
  5. MS’21 took summer SAT flex prep online and got 220 pt gain for a 1490 combined.
  6. MP’21 raised SAT scores 130 pts to 1560.
  7. OJ’21 went from 630v 530m SAT to 650v 680m (170 gain) plans to retest.
  8. RH’21 raised SAT scores 150 pts from 570v560m to 610v 670m.
  9. AS’21 prepped in person.  Started at 450v 380m scored 510v 490m on Sept SAT. Gain: 170.
  10. SR ’21 prepped in person.  Started at a 990 SAT, scored 1120, gained 130.
  11. SM’22 online went from 1180 to 1360 SAT for a 180 pt. gain.
  12. TB’21 online scored a 1570 SAT for a 130 pt. gain.
  13. TJ’21 started at 750v 720m SAT, scored a 790v760m (80 pt. gain).
  14. VJ ’21 560v 640m SAT to 670v 710m; 180 pt. gain.
  15. VP’21 went up 190 pts to a 590v 530m SAT.  Plans to retest.
  16. MZ’22 with online ACT flex prep raised composite scores from 27 to 30.  Last four practice tests were 34 so advised to retest.
  17. BA’22 took online ACT summer flex prep and raised her composite from 30 to 34.
  18.  FA’21 took ACT prep in person last year starting with a 21 composite, took a test Dec 19 and got a 25, and retested in Oct’20 scoring a 31 composite. That’s a 10 pt. gain. Persistence pays off.
  19. MR’22 took SAT prep in person got a 70 pt. gain for a 1330.  Best practice was 1460, so we recommend retest.
  20. FQ’21 took SAT prep in person and got a 260 pt. gain raising scores to 1390.
  21. AA’21 worked really hard to raise a 21 to a 28 in practice.  She scored 23 on the fall ACT and plans to retest.
  22. HD’22 raised SAT scores 80 pts. to a 1510 after 2,5 hours of online prep.
  23. SS’21 started with a 31 ACT and raised her score to 35.  (4 pt. gain.)
  24. NN’22 was unhappy with scores and would not report or respond to our follow up calls.
  25. WA’21 raised his ACT scores with flex prep going from a 27 to a 34, then a 35 the next month.  He really put in the hours for a 8 pt. gain.
  26. VM’22 reports he got a 34 composite on his Oct ’20 ACT, up from a 30 composite on his diagnostic test.
  27. Just heard from online prepper GC ’22 today, November 20,2020.  He got a 750v800m.  His PSAT last year was a 590v650m (320 point gain).  Pretty impressive improvement.
  28. SH ’22 finally got back to me with her scores.  She went from an 18 to a 26 composite after in person test prep. Recommendation: retest because she super scored 30 in practice.
  29. SS ’22 prepared for the SAT online: she started with a 630V/660M and scored 700V/730M on the November 2020 test (140 point gain).

 

Average SAT gain of 170 points for 16 testers (excludes three high scorers who did not do a full preparation ie: CJ, TJ, HD).  Range is 70 to 320 points.  Two modes: 130 and 170.

Average ACT gain of 5.4 points for 8 testers.  Range is 2 to 10 points.  Mode is 4 points.

We have about 10 outstanding scores.  When we get those values, we will update the statistics; however, these results are fairly typical.  We are delighted to see that scores have not suffered with the advent of online tutoring.

Curious how we can help?  Click the link to set up a free consultation.

2020-12-16T15:21:29-05:00

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