blog | 4min Read

Introduction to Passion Projects: A Four-Step Guide

Published on April 11, 2024


Introduction to Passion Projects: A Four-Step Guide

College Admissions are competitive. The Ivy League is even moreeee competitive!

Question is,

How do you stand out?

Captaining the debate team?
Playing football?

Trust me there will be thousands of people who will be doing these things and more. Just think how many schools exist in the world and probably each school will have a debate team and each debate team will have its captain and that gives you a couple of million debate team captains. Whew!

That is a lot.

I have another idea.

Something that is interesting and will definitely help you stand out.

Passion Projects!


Passion projects are not just hobbies. Rather, it needs to be strategically chosen and should be focused.

Your passion project should reflect:

1. Your Skills
2. Your Ambitions
3. Your Unique Interests

Today, in 4 steps, I will be telling you the best way to develop a meaningful and impactful passion project.

Key word: IMPACT!

Step 1: Strategise


This is the first and probably the most crucial.

It might feel tedious but trust me you will save yourself years if you do this step properly.

Take a breath, eat a sandwich, eat two and think about what you want to show. About yourself that is (duh).

A lot of people jump straight in.

They get up in the morning and even before they brush, they think: oh yeah let me create a passion project on, I don’t know, stamps.

Funny thing is: They might not have ever seen a stamp!

Point is, you need to carefully think about the project and ask why?

Ask yourself. Why? Why? Why and one more time, Why?

Pro Tip: Think about your academic interest. Think what you are interested in personally. And use what I (and a lot of other people) call: SPV (Strength, Personality, Values).

This will help you:

A. Alight project to your overall profile, so that it makes sense.
B. Make sure it complements your goals (academic and personal).

Tldr; it needs to have a well throughout theme which makes sense in relation to YOU!

Step 2: Brainstorm

Okay, now your strategy is done.

Move on to brainstorming.

Creativity, creativity, creativity.

What are you passionate about?

How can you turn that into a project that will showcase your skills, interests and ambitions?

1. Media / Creative: Start a blog, youtube channel or podcast.

2. Research: You can start off by interning with a professor. Learn everything about research and then you can start working on your project.

3. Service Based Project: Create a community project or a startup.

How does this help?

This shows leadership, initiative and a commitment to making a positive impact in your community.

Step 3: Execute


Now, it’s all about bringing your idea to life.

This is all practical:

Building a website
Starting a social media campaign.

Reaching out to potential mentors or collaborators

Put your plan into action!

Remember: Starting is just the first step

Maintaining momentum is key.

Regular updates, continuous engagement and steady growth.

These are key to transforming a simple project into a compelling story.

This is the story that will convince your college admission officer.

Step 4: Scale


Now that you are executing, next step is to scale.

Scaling is not only just making it bigger but it is also about impact.

Partner with other organisations.

Expand your project’s reach.

Find Innovative ways to increase its influence.

Scaling is also about going deeper. It’s also about refining your idea. Hone your skills and the most important aspect: solidifying your project’s place within your personal and academic narrative.

You can consider seeking external validation here. Testimonials, media mentions and awards!

This helps to make the project even more real. Think of it as an external audit. 

Again, why should you do passion projects?
Passion projects are powerful.

In filmmaking there is a saying, show don’t tell.

Passion projects help you show your interests, skills and commitment to personal growth.

By following this framework, you can create a project that not only boosts your college applications but also provides a fulfilling and rich personal experience.

Key thing to remember:

The best passion projects are those that groove well with your personal interests and goals.

They should be something you are genuinely interested about.
It should be something you are committed to.

Your passion project should not feel as if it has been developed to get to your dream college. Your objective should be to learn and everything else will fall into place.

Stay focused, stay patient and remain passionate.
Trust me, the process will truly change you.

Good Luck and see you next time!

Aanya Janan

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blog | 3min Read

Navigating the World of Active Listening for High School Students

Published on February 19, 2024


Navigating the World of Active Listening for High School Students

The Forgotten Skill in a Noisy World

In the bustling hallways of high school, where whispers of weekend plans and the latest gossip fill the air, there lies a skill often overlooked but immensely powerful – active listening. Unlike the passive act of hearing, active listening is a deliberate effort to understand, engage, and respond thoughtfully to the speaker. It’s not just about staying quiet; it’s about being fully present in the conversation.

Why Active Listening Matters?

For high school students, mastering active listening can lead to improved relationships with friends, teachers, and family members. It can enhance academic performance by enabling better comprehension during lectures and discussions. But how exactly does one transition from a passive listener to an active one? It begins with self-awareness and a genuine desire to understand others.

The Consequences of Not Listening:

When we fail to actively listen, we miss out on more than just the details of a conversation. We risk alienating our friends who seek understanding, we overlook crucial information in class discussions that could enhance our learning, and we create an environment where genuine connection is scarce. The frustration of feeling unheard can strain even the strongest of friendships and dampen the learning experience.

The Path to Becoming an Active Listener

Active listening involves several key strategies, each designed to foster deeper connections and understanding:

Engage Fully: Put away distractions and focus on the speaker. Your undivided attention is the first step toward active listening.

Adapt Your Approach: Recognize that different situations call for different listening styles. Whether someone seeks advice or simply needs to vent, adjusting your listening mode can make all the difference.

Encourage Dialogue: Show interest and encourage the speaker to share more. Ask open-ended questions to delve deeper into their thoughts and feelings.

Empathize: Try to understand the speaker's perspective, even if it differs from your own. Empathy builds trust and strengthens connections.

Empathize: Try to understand the speaker's perspective, even if it differs from your own. Empathy builds trust and strengthens connections.

Reflect on Your Own Behavior: Be mindful of your responses and ensure they contribute positively to the conversation. Avoid shifting the focus to yourself.

By implementing these strategies, students can unlock the benefits of active listening, leading to more meaningful interactions and a greater sense of empathy.

Action: Steps to Take Now

Start practicing active listening today. Choose one conversation to focus on fully, without distractions. Reflect on the experience and identify areas for improvement.

Remember, becoming an active listener is a journey that requires patience and practice.
Active listening is more than a skill; it’s a way of engaging with the world that can change your high school experience and beyond.

Till next Time!

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blog | 3min Read

Avoid These Essay Killers: Insights from a Yale Admissions Reader

Published on February 12, 2024


Avoid These Essay Killers: Insights from a Yale Admissions Reader

Embarking on your college application journey or just want to improve your writing skills?

Got the perfect piece for you. Keeping scrolling!

Your essay is your spotlight moment – a chance to share your story, your spark. 

But, ever wondered what really makes your essay stand out in the sea of applications? 

It's all about nailing that first impression with a killer hook and sealing the deal with an unforgettable conclusion.

Why Hooks and Conclusions are Your Best Friends?

Picture your college essay as a captivating novel.

The hook is like that first sentence that makes you go, "Wow, I need to read more!"

It's your golden ticket to grabbing the
admissions officer's attention.

On the flip side, a strong
conclusion is like a mic drop. It ties up
your story with a bow and
leaves a lasting impression,
making them think, "We
need this student!"

Hook Mastery 101

Embrace the Drama: Starting with a conflict is like dropping your reader right into the action. Think of it as choosing your adventure:

  • You vs. You: Share a moment of personal challenge or change. It’s like saying, “Hey, check out how I grew from this.”

  • You vs. Someone Else: Got a story about clashing or coming together with someone? It’s a great way to show you’re all about understanding and teamwork.

  • You vs. The World: Overcame a big obstacle? Your story of tackling something bigger than yourself screams leadership and resilience.

Mystery is Your Friend: Kick off with a question or something that makes the reader go, "Hmm, what's this about?" It's a clever way to lure them into your world, promising them a journey of discovery.

Let's explore how to effectively incorporate conflict and mystery into your essay.

Engage Through Conflict:

Conflict isn't just about drama; it's a window into your growth, resilience, and ability to tackle life's hurdles.

When choosing a conflict for your essay, think about moments that genuinely shaped you. These stories can range from personal revelations to overcoming obstacles, each providing insight into your character and adaptability.

Intrigue with Mystery:

Kicking off your essay with a question or an intriguing statement pulls the reader into your world.

This method sets a curious tone, prompting the reader to dive deeper into your story. It's an invitation to a journey, one that promises revelation and insight.

Crafting a Conclusion That Sticks

  • Answer “So What?”: Don’t just wrap up; dig deeper. What’s the bigger picture of your story? It’s your moment to reflect on how this experience has sculpted you and prepared you for the future.

  • Your Campus Contribution: How will you sprinkle your magic on campus? Paint a picture of how you’ll make college life even more vibrant with your talents, ideas, or energy

Your conclusion isn't just the end of your essay; it's your chance to tie everything together and project into the future. Please do not just summarise your essay. No quicker way to ensure the death of your essay.

Extra Nuggets for an Essay That Pops

  • Be Unapologetically You: Originality and genuine reflections are your secret sauce. Share those unique moments and thoughts that scream “you.”

  • Dive Deep: Think about experiences that truly shaped you. These are the stories that add depth and color to your essay, making it not just another application, but a window into your world.

Final Thoughts

Writing an outstanding college essay is about more than telling a story; it’s about showcasing your journey, growth, and the unique qualities you’ll bring to college. By weaving in elements of conflict and mystery, and ending with a powerful reflection on your growth and potential contributions, you create not just an essay but a narrative that highlights your preparedness and eagerness for the future.

Remember, the essence of your essay lies in sharing your unique story in a way that connects with your readers. 
It’s about demonstrating your excitement and capability for the academic and personal adventures that await in college. Through thoughtful storytelling, strategic structure, and genuine reflection, your essay will stand out in the competitive admissions process, shining a light on your potential to contribute, grow, and excel in a collegiate setting.

Stay tuned for more insights and strategies to navigate your college application journey with confidence and creativity. Your story is worth telling, and with the right approach, it will resonate with admissions officers, paving the way for your future success.



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blog | 2min Read

Navigating the College Essay: A Deeper Dive with a Harvard Junior

Published on February 8, 2024


Navigating the College Essay: A Deeper Dive with a Harvard Junior

Hey there, future college stars!

I’m Amy, a writing enthusiast from Harvard, here to demystify the college essay maze. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the prospect of writing that perfect essay, you’re in good company.

Choosing Your Narrative

The college essay isn’t just another academic assignment. It’s your narrative podium, a space where the usual rules don’t apply, and the possibilities are as vast as your imagination. But with great freedom comes great responsibility—the responsibility to choose a topic that resonates deeply with you.

  • Finding Your Spark: What lights you up? Is there a story, achievement, or personal trait that fills you with pride? That’s where your essay should live.
  • Narrowing the Focus: Once you have a galaxy of ideas, the challenge is to find the star worth following. It’s about balancing what you want to share with what admissions officers might find compelling.
Crafting the Draft

This phase is where creativity meets structure. Breaking away from the traditional essay blueprint, you embark on a journey of self-expression.

  • Finding Your Spark: What lights you up? Is there a story, achievement, or personal trait that fills you with pride? That’s where your essay should live.
  • Narrowing the Focus: Once you have a galaxy of ideas, the challenge is to find the star worth following. It’s about balancing what you want to share with what admissions officers might find compelling.
Crafting the Draft
Refining Your Message

Your first draft is just the starting line. The real magic happens in the revising.

  • Seeking Feedback: A fresh pair of eyes can offer invaluable perspective. Choose someone who knows you well and isn’t afraid to give you honest feedback.
  • Iterative Process: Be prepared to rewrite. And then rewrite again. Excellence is a product of revision.
Beyond the Essay

The college essay is a pivotal component of your application, but it’s also more than that. It’s a process of introspection and personal growth.

  • Reflective Opportunity: Use your essay as a mirror. What do you see? How have your experiences shaped you? This isn’t just about impressing admissions officers but about understanding yourself better.
  • Engagement and Support: Remember, you’re not alone. Whether it’s reaching out to current students, counselors, or online forums, there’s a wealth of support available.

Writing your college essay is a journey of self-discovery that requires courage, creativity, and reflection. It’s your chance to showcase not just your accomplishments but your aspirations, values, and the unique lens through which you view the world. So take a deep breath, embrace the process, and let your story unfold. Remember, the goal isn’t just to get into college but to get into the right college for you. And that starts with being true to yourself on the page.


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blog | 3min Read

The Evolution of Learning: Primary Years Programme’s Journey in India

Published on February 7, 2024


The Evolution of Learning: Primary Years Programme’s Journey in India


In the bustling, diverse landscape of India's education system, a quiet revolution is taking shape. It's within the classrooms where the youngest minds meet the world through the lens of the International Baccalaureate's Primary Years Programme (PYP). This feature explores how the PYP, a global education framework, is reshaping the foundational years of learning in a country deeply rooted in traditional educational practices.

Long Established

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that....

May 20th 2020

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A Global Curriculum in a Local Context

Core Components of the IB Diploma Programme

Originating from the International Baccalaureate Organization, the PYP is designed for students aged 3 to 12. It’s an avant-garde, inquiry-based approach that nurtures active, caring, lifelong learners. This pedagogy, though globally oriented, is finding a unique expression in India

Challenges and Transformations of PYP in the Indian Context

In a country where education has traditionally been synonymous with rote memorization and high-stakes testing, PYP offers a stark contrast. It emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and a holistic view of learning. The question, however, is how smoothly can a Western-developed educational model integrate into the fabric of Indian society, with its diverse educational ethos and economic disparities?

Ground Realities and
Navigating Challenges in Integration

Indian schools embracing PYP face a labyrinth of challenges. These range from aligning the IB's global standards with national educational norms, to redefining the teacher's role from an information provider to a facilitator of inquiry.

Financial Barriers to Implementation

The cost factor plays a significant role. Implementing an IB curriculum can be expensive, often limiting its reach to the more affluent.

PYP's Adaptive Fusion of Global and Local

Yet, the malleability of the PYP framework allows for an intriguing blend of international and local flavors. For instance, Indian history and mythology find their way into classroom discussions alongside global issues, making learning both globally relevant and locally resonant.

The Teacher's New Role

Embracing Student-Centric Pedagogy

The Teacher's New Role in Indian classrooms undergoes a significant transformation with the adoption of the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Moving beyond traditional lecture-based methods, teachers now play a pivotal role in fostering a student-centric learning environment.

Mindset Evolution through Professional Development

The shift towards PYP not only alters teaching methodologies but also demands a change in mindset. Indian educators are actively engaging in regular professional development, workshops, and IB-certified training programs to align themselves with the evolving educational landscape.

Mindset Evolution through Professional Development

The Fruits and Frictions of Change

The impact of PYP in India is multifaceted:

1. Holistic Growth: In line with the Indian ethos of a well-rounded education, PYP emphasizes emotional, physical, and social development, alongside intellectual growth.

2. Inquiry-Based Approach: This method ignites curiosity and fosters a lifelong love for learning, a critical need in a country as vast and varied as India.

3. Global Citizens with Local Roots: PYP nurtures global awareness without losing sight of the students' cultural and national identities.

However, the journey is not without its bumps.

The perception of the IB as a 'Western' concept can sometimes lead to resistance. Additionally, the elitist tag associated with IB schools due to their higher fee structure is a hurdle in making PYP accessible to a broader segment of Indian society.

Looking Ahead
PYP Expansion in India

The trajectory of PYP in India is one to watch. With each passing year, more schools are adopting this program, acknowledging the need for education systems that equip students for a global futur

Shifting Educational Paradigms

This trend signals a gradual but definitive shift in the Indian educational ethos – from rote learning to a more dynamic, inquiry-based learning culture.This trend signals a gradual but definitive shift in the Indian educational ethos – from rote learning to a more dynamic, inquiry-based learning culture.


The Primary Years Programme is carving a niche in India's educational landscape, bringing a holistic, inquiry-based learning approach to the fore. 

Its alignment with India's evolving educational needs, coupled with its global perspective, makes it a compelling choice for the future of primary education in the country. 

As India continues to grapple with educational reforms, PYP stands as a beacon of progressive learning, promising to nurture a generation of inquisitive, informed, and globally aware citizens.

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