Welcome to Passion Prep!
I’m Julie Kim, a graduate of USC and Harvard University. When I began preparing for my college applications back in high school, I did what everyone else around me was doing, joining as many clubs and volunteer organizations so I could list them on my resume like a laundry list. I mean, that’s what we were told to do right?
However, by my junior year, this sleepless & caffeine-fueled hustle eventually caught up with me. I was so sick that I missed my finals. While I was bedridden, I couldn’t stop crying and thinking about where I went wrong. I did what everyone told me to do: get involved and stay busy. It seemed all of my hard work was backfiring, and I worried about my GPA plummeting and my top college choices slipping away from my grasp.
However, wallowing wasn’t an option. When my family and I immigrated to the United States from South Korea, I couldn’t speak or understand English. Eventually, I overcame the challenges of being a new student—new to the language, culture, and school—and I was not going to lose sight of the legacy my parents wanted me to create. That’s when I realized I needed to re-think my entire college admissions strategy. What was the point of getting into a renowned university like Harvard if I wasn’t being true to myself?
My next steps were both terrifying and liberating. I immediately dropped the extracurriculars that didn’t bring me joy. Then, I started volunteering at an elementary school because I loved teaching. I was assigned to teach math classes, and I learned that these underprivileged students struggled not only with math but reading and writing at their grade-level, too. This was the moment everything changed for me.
Through my findings, I created a two-week camp to help students improve not only their math skills, but also their overall literacy. My dedication to the project didn’t end there; I reached out to education experts, including professors at USC and the Dean of Education at UCLA. Connecting with these professionals landed me a research position that would allow me to grow in this field.
By focusing on a few high quality extracurriculars and showcasing my authentic self, I was accepted to USC and later Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard, I started working as a college counselor at one of the biggest college consulting companies based in California. This was when I realized something wasn’t right.
As I worked with these high school students, the emphasis was always on their GPA and SAT/ACT scores. There was no talk about motivation or core values. Instead, these students were making the same mistakes I initially made, and not asking themselves true and honest questions.
So as you begin your college admissions journey, you need to focus on yourself and ask these questions: Who am I? What is truly important to me? How can I dream big? You need to dig deeper and be honest with yourself to create a path and legacy of your own.
And that’s why we created Passion Prep, formerly known as Julie Kim Consulting. We mentor our students to live passionately and daringly. Our mission is to inspire, motivate, and mentor high school students to get into their dream colleges using their strengths, real personalities, passion, values, and honesty.
To learn more, check out our brand new website PassionPrep.com.
Are you ready to take your college application to the next level?
If you’re in 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade, now is the time to start your college admissions journey. You can first start with our free 1-hour introductory training, where you can learn 3 Essential Strategies that you can implement to get accepted into the college of your dreams.