Episode #90: Competitions and awards: are they worth it?

Are you wondering if you should be participating in competitions or how many awards you should have when applying to colleges? (Or do you even NEED to get awards?!?!)

These are questions I get a lot, so today on the podcast we’re going to talk about how college admissions officers view competitions and awards. I’ll be coaching my Passion Project Bootcamp student Simi, who is an amazing student (and person!), and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell this by the way she speaks and carries herself in sharing all about her Passion Project.

Just like Simi has, you can also create a Passion Project and figure out how to spend your time wisely during the college admissions process. If you’d like to learn more about the specific strategies I teach inside my Passion Project Bootcamp and Ivy League Formula Program, check out my free training. You can register for the free training here or go to https://juliekimconsulting.com/masterclass.  

The Ivy League Formula Program (intensive 6-month college consulting program) is currently full and closed. But the good news is that we’ll be opening enrollment in 1-2 months! So make sure to put yourself on the waitlist so you don’t miss our announcement! Click here to put yourself on the waitlist

If you have any questions, please contact our support team at info@juliekimconsulting.com

If you enjoy this episode, I’d be so happy if you took a screenshot from your smartphone – and tagged me on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/julie_kim7/. I’ll be back next week with another coaching session episode, and again I’ll be speaking with a student of my Passion Project Bootcamp. See you then!



  • How to fine-tune your theme and narrow down your focus to use your time working on your Passion Project effectively and efficiently
  • What to ask yourself when considering whether or not to participate in different extracurriculars or summer programs.
  • How the Professor Outreach Email Template will help you land research positions, even without having any research experience
  • What Simi could be doing instead of pursuing competitions and awards to improve her college admission application
  • Ways she can be capitalizing on her strengths right now and showing them to college admissions officers



The thing with pitching and getting yourself noticed is that once you get the first one, the second and the third one is so easy.
If `{`an opportunity`}` is deepening and making your academic interests more specific, then yes you should do it.
I would use the next two to three months to focus on landing research positions using the `{`Professor Outreach Email`}` process, and obviously you can use your personal connections as well.
When someone or some program tells you that you need certain awards or competitions, that’s a great way to filter them out, because they are not for you.


Getting into Ivy League & Top-tier colleges doesn’t require perfection.

I repeat: You do NOT have to be perfect.

You also don’t have to spend a million hours volunteering, get perfect test scores, or be a star athlete.

What is required is understanding How to STAND OUT.

Join me for the FREE #ACCEPTED Masterclass where you’ll learn:

Passion Project Bootcamp is a digital course where you get my proven framework to brainstorm, strategize, execute, and scale your Passion Project, so you can get into your Ivy League or Top-tier school of choice!

Using my 4-step framework, you’ll create your BEST Passion Project that will capture the attention of the college admissions officers you want to impress.


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By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University