<p>Is participation in contests and competitions of one's passion an important factor for top school and the Ivies? Will it hurt an applicant if he participates but does not win in a competition?</p>

<p>Why would it hurt one to participate in a contest and not win? Isn't that better than not participating at all. Further, I don't think colleges are going to check every detail of your life, only what you tell them. I would not tell colleges every individual competition that I participated in, only those that I won.</p>