Where interest meets action

Cal Newport wrote in How to Be a High School Superstar:

“When admissions officers say they’re looking for students who show ‘passion,’ what they really mean is that they’re looking for the type of student who would appeal to an NPR talk show producer. That is, a student who could sit down and chat about a topic for thirty minutes and hold an educated audience’s rapt attention.”

He’s not implying that you need to be an expert on your particular interest, or that successful students have the presentation skills to hold an audience’s attention. He means that a student who volunteered for two Saturdays at a blood drive because it would look good on their college applications will run out of interview material a lot faster than a student who spent an entire summer working in an ambulance as an emergency medical technician because they had a genuine interest in doing so. One has demonstrated a passion, the other has not.

I’ve written before that interests make you interesting. Real interests are backed by real actions to pursue them. Whatever yours are, from writing poetry, to learning about the stock market, to cooking, repairing computers, or playing hockey, your passions are wherever the interest is met with the most action. And those are the very passions that should be highlighted on your college applications.