A Step-by-Step Guide Finding Your Passion in High School
August 27, 2020
A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Passion in High School
What is one thing that all top schools look for in an applicant? Passion. Displaying passion on your college applications is a major key to getting in, and figuring out what you’re passionate about should start early on in high school. Are you ready to turn your many interests into a narrowly defined passion? In today’s information-rich world, there are hundreds of thousands of topics that may pique your curiosity - which can make finding your passion in high school a daunting task.
When reading applications, most admissions officers search for ways that students demonstrate a commitment to an area of interest. In some cases, that might take the form of completing additional research. In other cases, that could mean tutoring others in their favorite subjects. However, since few students know exactly what intrigues them, it’s important to start interest exploration and realizing your biggest interests and goals early. Here are our tips to help with finding your passion in high school!
It’s important to cultivate a critical reading habit early in your high school years. Reading daily news is a great way to become more aware about the issues in your community and to gain perspective on your own life. And it could also help you with finding your passion in high school. For one week, read a national newspaper cover-to-cover.
To save time, feel free to skim through several of the articles. While reading, be sure to mark every article that interests you with a check. After a week of reading, review all of the articles that you marked. Record any trends or overlap with certain subjects. Once you’ve arrived at a few topics that excite you, proceed to step two to further explore your newfound interests.
Take an Online Course
Do you already have a general topic in mind like environmental science or sociology? If so, taking an online course in the area is a great way to narrow your interests down from a more general topic. In addition to learning some interesting facts about one of your subject areas, you’ll gain invaluable exposure to ideas that may reveal your true interests. Even further, once you’ve taken a class in a specific area, you’ll either be motivated to learn more, or ready for a change of topic. If you’re still interested in the subject area after the class, proceed to step three.
Online Course Websites:
When finding your passion in high school, it can be helpful to learn about a subject in a more personal way. Once a student has formed a knowledge base in a particular area, we encourage them to seek out an individual working in that field. So, if you are interested in archaeology, speak with an archaeologist. These types of conversations can give you valuable insights into the day-to-day lives of people in this field.
Maybe you find corporate litigation fascinating, but don’t think you’d enjoy the long hours spent in an office or time devoted to bringing in clients. If you’ve followed this guide, the news articles that you will have read and classes you took, will give you plenty to discuss with a professional. We recommend speaking with one or two people, at first. After each talk, write a brief report of what you learned about the field.
And who knows, maybe this talk could turn into an internship or research opportunity? At the very least, you may start to build up a network.
- Your Parents and Family Friends
- School Teachers
- Community Organizations
Movies, TV Shows, Books, Podcasts
One of the most effective ways to figure out what you’re passionate about involves immersing yourself in books, movies, TV shows, and even podcasts on topics surrounding your interests. Watching a documentary about activism, or reading a book on the history of pop culture can help you go a long way. Not only would you learn more on the topic, if you find yourself wanting to dig deeper, you’ll know that this is something that you’re genuinely passionate about. There are endless possibilities on what you could watch, read, or listen to on any given topic. Consider your fields of interest, and dive in.
Some helpful places to get started:
- The BBC’s 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century
- Huffington Post’s 8 Best Shows of 2019
- Books to Read Before College: A Reading List of Big Ideas for High Schoolers
- 9 Books Every High School Entrepreneur Should Read
- 5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Be a History Major
- The 10 Best Podcasts for High School Students
Journaling and Reflecting
As you take steps towards finding your passion in high school and try out various things, it’s also important that you stop to reflect about everything that you’re involved in to understand where your interests lie. Keeping a journal where you jot down points of interest, as well as think about how you’re staying involved and what you actually enjoy can be very helpful. If you don’t prefer pen and paper, you can also maintain an online journal. What’s crucial is that you maintain consistency in recognizing activities that bring you genuine happiness and find what you actually wish to continue pursuing.
As you journal, here are some questions to think about:
- What helps you get out of bed in the morning?
- What is your most favorite subject in school?
- Are you currently involved in any extracurriculars that don’t make you happy?
- Which ones do you wish to pursue further?
- What topic can you give a 5-minute presentation on at any given moment?
- What brings out the leader in you?
- If you could start a club on anything, what would it be?
Use these questions to think about where you want to dedicate your time and extend just beyond a membership at a club in school. Where do you want to take initiative? How do you wish to collaborate with others?
Finding a passion in high school may not happen in one instant second or even in a week. If you commit to topics that pique your curiosity and call out to you, explore them through reading the latest news about them or watching a TV show on the subject. As you dedicate yourself towards discovering more, you might find yourself with a nuanced understanding of the field and strive towards taking initiatives that portray you as a collaborative and committed leader and member of your community. This in turn will impress colleges, and help you beyond high school. Good luck!