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The Secret Ingredient to the Perfect College Application!

Published on June 30, 2022


The Secret Ingredient to the Perfect College Application!

Did you know that Tomas Lindahl, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry failed the subject in high school? Or that John Gurdon, Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine ranked dead last in Biology in his year?

And yet, both of them made it to prestigious universities and won the most eminent award in their fields!

Sir John B. Gurdon
Winner of Nobel Prize for Medicine, 2012
image courtesy:

Tomas Lindahl
Winner of Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2015
image courtesy:

The truth is, while high school scores are important, they can only take you so far in your college applications to leading global universities. To stand out from the crowd, there is one thing that elevate your college application above all else – A high school passion project!

Unlike a class project, a passion project is an independent or group project created to achieve a specific goal or mission. This could range from helping an underprivileged community, to solving an entrepreneurial problem and more. 

A project like this, especially one that YOU are passionate about, can showcase your commitment, focus, creativity, resourcefulness, motivation, and leadership skills – values that college admission offices are always looking out for in applicants!

In fact, A recent study done by Acceptitas showed that over 75% of current Harvard students completed a passion project in high school and felt that it significantly impacted their application.

Case in point, 16-year-old Saikaran Apalla’s entrepreneurial project – SCOPE.

Started By Saikiran after attending the Ivy Early Entrepreneur program, SCOPE is a dynamic and personalized network that connects entrepreneurs with like-minded people, content and opportunities. It aims to build a collaborative community where users can share their experiences, learn from each other and ultimately be successful.

 Watch here!

Saikiran’s focused and extensive project brought him global attention, and he has even completed a Junior CEO program certified by Brown University. 

But for those of you that have a knack for social skills as opposed to entrepreneurial expertise, the options are endless as well!

Take for example, Sia Bishnoi and Taahira Bhalla’s Social Change Project – Project Drakht.

Started by Taahira Bhalla and Sia Bishnoi of The Shri Ram School, Moulsari – both from Harvard Youth Lead the Change 2016 – Project Drakht was set up to provide Ferozepur Meo, an underprivileged village in Haryana, with access to clean water.

They first pitched their idea during the conference, and after it received considerable attention and support, the duo implemented it. Project Drakht ultimately helped nearly 2,200 people from 300 families!

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Their project impressed a lot of colleges, and Tahira and Sia ultimately landed spots in Babson College and Parsons School of Design respectively!

So, how do you make your own fleshed-out project?

That’s where we can help you!

The Big Red Group offers multiple courses from Ivy League Professors that take you beyond classroom education and into the practicalities of life.

Our flagship programs, Harvard Youth Lead the Change and Ivy Early Entrepreneur teach you the ins and outs of leadership and entrepreneurship respectively, and offer you expert mentorship in creating full-fledged projects!

At Harvard Youth Lead the Change, you work in a group to understand a global issue and ultimately develop a social change project to address it, under guidance from Harvard University Mentors. After the program, you continue to receive a year of mentorship to implement your project in your local communities and beyond.

At Ivy Early Entrepreneur, you learn how to start your business and create a growth-oriented mindset from successful entrepreneurs who are alumni of Ivy League colleges. Picking up skills like market research and design thinking, you create a group project that envisions a start-up, and  subsequently practice your learnings in a guaranteed internship with our partner firms!


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