The YoungArts/Masterclass project essentially encourage students to “pursue their passions,” whatever it may be. In this op-ed for Time, Dan Edmonds, VP of Research and Development at Noodle.org, notes that having a non-academic “passion” has essentially become a college admissions requisite. He states that most students who do have a passion tend to devote a large amount of time to it while finding passions for students without one has become a task for parents and guidance counselors. The greater question then becomes how do you find or motivate students to pursue a passion and stick with it? More importantly, as Edmonds accurately points out, parents want to urge and encourage passions that will make their children an attractive candidate for admissions. For instance, students would not want to highlight video games as a passion even though they may devote a considerable amount of time to it and may have even mastered it.
I think students and young people having a passion outside the classroom is vital to their overall success, not just as students but ultimately as adults. Having a passion outside of school teaches discipline, commitment, and learning to work with diverse groups, among others, all essential skills they will need to succeed in college and in their subsequent professional lives.
Why do you think having a passion has become such a key requisite in college admissions and what does this say about the way in which we admit students to our colleges? Additionally, how influential or useful is education related materials such as the YoungArts/Masterclass study guide in encouraging students to pursue their passions?