Passion Project
Based on your selection we recommend:

Passion Project

Find a mentor for a project
Flexible based on student’s needs
6-10 sessions at 60 minutes per session
Virtual, join from anywhere!
Students enrolled with the following partners may be able to register for free by applying for a scholarship.
You’ll be able to request a scholarship application during registration.
Association to Benefit Children logoCollege Match LogoPrep for Prep logoStepping Stone Foundation LogoPeninsula Bridge logoYoung Eisner Scholars logo
Scholarships available for community partners
Class size
Private 1:1
Students work with mentors to create an exciting project plan and deliverable
Mentors act as accountability partners for students
Mentors curate lessons to teach skills necessary for project completion
Project plan and timeline is tailored to student’s needs and goals
Students apply their passion to the real-world and walk away with a finished project they can share and be proud of!
Is your student really into cosmetics? Let’s do a deep dive into Cosmetic Chemistry and have them create their own cosmetic formulation. Are they a video game connoisseur? Let’s build a vide game together!
how passion projects work
Students are matched with mentors who share their interests and have unique expertise in the subject matter.
Once matched, the first session will dive deeper into your student’s areas of interest to identify a focus and come up with a project game plan. The game plan will include relevant milestones so both students and mentors know what to expect from each session.
Then, your project gets underway!
With each session, mentors will teach students relevant skills and background necessary to complete the project.

Mentors will check in on progress and troubleshoot any problems, adjusting the project plan when needed as the student brings it to life.
Time to share and celebrate your work!
When students complete their project, they are encouraged to share it with the Curious Cardinals community. Mentors will talk next steps, including submitting the project to other online avenues, including competitions and rewards, where students can receive feedback and recognition.
Looking ahead. 
Once your student completes their project, mentors will share options for continued learning, whether it’s embarking on another project or delving into a new subject altogether. The journey doesn’t end with project completion: mentors are here to support students as they continue to grow and their interests continue to evolve! 
Not sure a Passion Project is what you’re looking for? Feel free to explore our other programs:

Passion Project

For students who know what they’re passionate about and want to bring a real-world project from idea to execution with the guidance of a mentor.

Students work with a college mentor who specializes in their passion subject to develop a project idea. Their mentor is specifically selected to provide expertise, support, and accountability as your student brings their project to life.

Timeline and deliverables are catered to your student’s needs and goals.

Find a mentor

Exploratory Journey

For students who are still exploring what they’re interested in and want a mentor to facilitate that exploration, curating a journey through subjects that may be of interest.

A mentor guides your student as they explore their subject of interest, immersing them in everything they’d need to know to pursue a project!


Academic Mentorship

For students who want additional help with their current school curriculum.

College mentors are selected for their expertise in the subject matter and shared interests with your student. We’ve helped thousands of students catch up and turn their least favorite subjects into areas of confidence.


Getting Ahead

For students looking to go beyond the school curriculum and take a deep dive into a particular academic subject.

College mentors are selected for their expertise in the subject matter and shared interests with your student, helping students not only master the subjects but also foster a love of learning.

Getting started is easier than you think! you’re already on step 2!
Step 1: Select a scenario that best applies to your student
Step 2: Learn more about passion projects 
Step3: Sign up and tell us about your student
Step 4: Get matched with a college mentor
Step 5: Have your first session!
How much do sessions cost? How is billing structured?

We utilize a monthly subscription model to ensure consistent sessions, which leads to the best student outcomes. The subscription begins after a two-week evaluation period wherein you evaluate your mentor to make sure they’re a good fit. Sessions held during the evaluation period are discounted at $95/hour. After the evaluation period, a monthly $380 subscription will begin, including (4) one-hour sessions, plus exclusive perks. The date you are billed will be determined by your start date.

As an alternative, we offer pay-as-you-go sessions at $115 per hour. Most of our families choose the subscription model because of the significant savings and benefits. Please check out our Subscription FAQs and our Pricing Page for more information!

How are your mentors selected?

Our community of over 600 mentors hail from the top universities in the nation and are the best-of-the-best – think class presidents, Rhodes Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and more! We have a rigorous vetting, recruiting, and interviewing process whereby we evaluate mentors' passion, depth of expertise, professionalism, ability to make concepts intelligible, as well as their emotional intelligence. Throughout the process, we ensure mentors are not only top-tier teachers who can meet students where they're at, but also relatable and empathetic individuals who can identify with students' struggles and provide the necessary support and encouragement to be there for them.

Beyond this, our onboarding process trains mentors to lead and drive sessions, our Education team equips mentors with resources and curricula to lead engagements successfully, and our Student and Mentor Success teams check in to ensure sessions are meaningful and meet expectations. We’re confident that our mentors are not only people your student will enjoy learning from, but are also positive role models they’ll want to emulate.

What if my mentor isn’t a good fit with my student?

We pride ourselves on finding the “magic match” for your student. We aim to find a mentor that aligns with your student’s personality, interests, and mentor preferences. If it doesn’t feel like a great match, please share your feedback so we can understand what went wrong. From there, we’ll thoughtfully source a new mentor and make a rematch.

Note: If you are a Curious Cardinals subscriber, we will refund that first session as it is during the trial/evaluation period.

How do I schedule a session?

You can schedule time directly on your mentor’s calendar using our Easy Scheduling feature! We recommend you work with your student’s mentor to identify the best recurring weekly time. Your student’s mentor can also schedule, cancel, and reschedule sessions easily on the CC platform.

Do you offer in-person sessions or is it all online?

Our usual offering is primarily virtual, which allows us to find the best person in the world for your student with no geographical constraints. Students and parents also appreciate the convenience and comfort of digital learning, especially for neurodivergent students who prefer to learn in their own space. Our education team equips mentors with tools and resources to make lessons interactive and engaging, so your student will be excited to join their sessions.

Note: Students who live near our major university hubs (such as the Bay Area, NYC, etc.) may meet in-person with their mentors. Please speak with our team to discuss what’s possible for your student.

I’m not sure how to get started! What are popular tracks that my student can sign up for?

We offer two clear tracks your student can pursue: academic mentorship or passion project mentorship.

Academic Mentorship: Whether it’s making a subject finally make sense, or getting ahead in an area your student is already competent in, our mentors can infuse new purpose and joy into reaching your student’s academic goals. Mentors can also work with students on soft skills like executive function, interviewing, college essay prep, and more.

Passion Project Mentorship: Not sure what your student is passionate about? We believe the best way to learn is by doing! A mentor can help your student explore areas of interest with meaningful deliverables and goals along the way to finding their ‘thing’. Similarly, if your student has a wide variety of interests that are seemingly disconnected, a mentor can help them bring those passions together in a cohesive, meaningful project.

You can speak with our team to receive personalized recommendations for your student.

What if I am not satisfied with my first session?

After the first session, we check in with our parents, students, and mentors to ensure a great fit. If the first session doesn’t go well, we ask for your feedback to assess, rematch, and re-engage – we can’t fix what we’re not aware of!

Note: Under our subscription model, you will have a 2-week evaluation period to ensure your student and their mentor “click” before transitioning into your subscription. Learn more about our subscription model here.

How long do students typically participate in the Curious Cardinals program?

At Curious Cardinals, we prioritize building strong, lasting relationships between students and mentors. This holistic approach is crucial for outstanding results, but even more than that, allows for deep transformation in the way students approach learning and personal growth. With that in mind, engagements are usually 6+ months and are not dependent upon a traditional school calendar.

Students can work with mentors throughout the school year and the summer, pivoting as needed to keep them most engaged and productive. Mentees may always work with multiple mentors or transition to new mentors as their needs and goals change. Many of our mentees have stayed with us through middle school to college acceptance!

We are not here to just help your student pass Friday’s test – we’re here to guide your student in becoming their best, most confident self.

What is the expected weekly time commitment?

We’ve learned that the most impactful and transformative mentorships happen when pairs meet at a consistent weekly cadence, at least 1-2 hours per week. You can add additional sessions as needed and easily reschedule sessions using our Easy Scheduling feature, or by communicating with your student’s mentor.

The amount of time a student spends working outside of sessions may vary depending on the type of mentorship. For example, students on a passion project track may work on writing a blog outside of sessions, which they later review and edit with their mentor.

How long is a session?

Students meet weekly with their mentors one-on-one for typically an hour. For students in 4th grade or under, and those with learning differences, we may suggest starting off with 30-minute sessions and working up to an hour.

While consistency is key, you can schedule longer or shorter sessions to meet your child’s needs; for example, a longer session for extra help preparing for a test, or a shorter session to quickly review a concept or brainstorm.

How old should my child be to join Curious Cardinals?

We're proud to support students in grades K-12! Our education model, delivered through 1:1 virtual mentorship, is especially impactful for ages 10+.