Harvard common app essay

Consider what drew you to your extracurricular activity of choice in the first place. Talking about setbacks overcome or struggles coped with in pursuing your extracurricular interest can add depth, as can talking about eventual successes while maintaining a humble voice. Assess what you have learned from your experience without making conclusions that are too grandiose. Finally, make sure also to consider how your extracurricular experience could be continued or fostered at Harvard. As with the first prompt, concision is vital.

Again, put anecdotal writing at the beginning as explanatory material, and focus the ending around analytical insights. Make sure to eliminate inactive language and filler words. Prioritize writing about how the experience affected you over furnishing evaluators with unnecessary background information.

To quell any last doubts, you must prepare this essay as part of your application.

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There are several different prompts to choose from, but the purpose of writing this essay is singular--a successful essay will demonstrate an applicant's genuine desire to engage with and contribute to a transformational, educative community. Regardless of chosen prompt, writing this essay is an opportunity to further demonstrate you are not just mindlessly filling out applications to gain entry to the most prestigious institution possible, but that you want to engage with an undergraduate experience that will change you and challenge you.

Whatever you write about should be a testament to how education and experience can genuinely impact someone or an examination of strong core values shared with the institution. If you choose to write about "unusual circumstances" in your life, they need not be an exposure to a once-in-a-million hardship. Avoid overplaying the severity of topics. The chosen experience could, however, show a dedication to not letting one's limitations be defined by circumstances. Alternatively, it could explain the pursuit of a passion or interest at the expense of traditional structures.

Whatever the choice, the response to this prompt should utilize anecdotal evidence liberally but intentionally, explaining circumstance in order to demonstrate how said circumstance has shaped your values or experiences, making them more sincere or meaningful. In writing about a meaningful intellectual experience, adopt much of the same strategy. Providing a few key details of the topic of your intellectual pursuit can help vivify the way you render the discovery of your interest.

However, continuing to acknowledge both the guidance you received in this experience as well as the novel or unforeseen insights it may have encouraged is crucial in building the case that this pursuit was significant. How did you first become aware of this intellectual area? Is it relevant to your community, or to the world at large in some way? Did it make you realize something about the way you live your life?

Successful Harvard Application Essay - Seashells

And finally, is it a pursuit that could be broadened or deepened by four years at Harvard? Many of these generative questions should also be helpful for those looking to write how they might hope to use their college education. Betraying an uncomplicated desire to pursue prestige or an advantageous alumni network will not do you much good in answering this prompt. Nor should your answer be entirely speculative or aspirational in a career-oriented sense though these can be important components of a good response.

Instead, focus on how the things you know about Harvard and the programs that Harvard offers can help you. Would Harvard allow you to realize an academic or career goal in a way you feel would be unattainable at any other school? Would a Harvard education allow you to improve a community or create change in a way you find meaningful? Do Harvard's statements of values align with your aspirations for personal growth?

All these topics and more can help vivify an application, and this prompt can be an opportunity to address them. Fee waivers: Do not let the application fee prevent you from applying!

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In the spirit of our honor code , if the fee presents a hardship for you or your family, the fee will be waived. You or your guidance counselor may use one of the official forms, or your counselor—or you yourself—may simply write a short email asking us to waive your fee.

Simply email us at fileroom fas. Please include your full name, your date of birth, the name and location of your high school and indicate which application platform you are using. Complete the Harvard Questions with the Common Application. If you are using the Universal College Application, complete the Harvard supplement and submit it online or mail it to the Admissions Office. Each applicant to Harvard College is considered with great care and homeschooled applicants are treated the same as all other applicants.

There is no special process, but all relevant information about your educational and personal background is welcome. In addition to the application, all applicants are required to submit standardized tests, a transcript you may create your own , and recommendations. Do not resend your application in order to make updates. Be completely accurate in your application materials. If we discover a misrepresentation during the admissions process, you will be denied admission.

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If you have already been admitted, your offer will typically be withdrawn. If you have already registered, your admission will normally be revoked, and we will require you to leave the College.


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When you apply, your school counselor will often send your transcript with few or no senior year course grades included. That is why the midyear school report is required - to allow us to review your performance in the first half of your senior year coursework. Early Action applicants are not required to submit the midyear report by the November 1 deadline.

If you applied Early Action and are deferred to Regular Decision, please submit the midyear report and transcript in February, or as soon as your midyear grades are available. If you study the IB curriculum or the A-level curriculum, then we expect that your school will send predicted grades, based on your current classroom work and the results of any internal or mock exams you have taken up to that point.

If your school does not issue official or predicted midyear grades for your final year of school, then you do not need to submit the midyear report form, although the item may remain on your checklist. If you have already graduated from high school, you should ignore the midyear report requirement though the item may remain on your Checklist in the Applicant Portal and simply ask your school to send a final school report if you have not already done so.

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Ask two teachers in different academic subjects who know you well to complete the Teacher Evaluation forms. Students should challenge themselves by taking courses deemed appropriate by their teachers and counselors. While some students prosper academically and personally by taking large numbers of such courses, others benefit from a more balanced approach that allows them additional time for extracurricular and personal development.

For example, not everyone needs to enroll in calculus if another algebra or a statistics course would be a better fit. Even the best students can be negatively affected by taking too many courses at once, and might benefit instead from writing, reading or research projects on subjects of great interest to them. To learn more, read our Guide to Preparing for College. All admitted students who chose to enroll are required to send a Final School Report and transcript as soon as their final grades become available — no later than July 1.

IB students should send their final results as soon as they are released in mid-July. We will expect to see final A levels results by mid-August. We require all applicants to submit the ACT or SAT, but you may choose to submit with or without the writing component. If you choose to submit Subject Tests, it is more useful to choose only one mathematics test rather than two. Similarly, if your first language is not English, a Subject Test in your first language may be less helpful.

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You should submit scores from tests taken in the past three years. An intellectual experience course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry that has meant the most to you. If you are able to discuss a work of art that motivated or inspired you, this essay question is for you. Remember, this work of art can be anything from a book, play, poem, movie, painting, academic class, piece of music or photography.

Harvard admissions officers are looking for aspiring students who are ready to build their future at Harvard and beyond. A question to ask yourself is, where do you see yourself in ten years? Have you been researching the different programs that Harvard has to offer and, if so, how do those fit in with your own academic goals?

How to Write a Harvard-Worthy College Application Essay

Your reading list can say a lot about your interests, personality and intellectual curiosity. Maintaining a high standard of integrity is not always easy. This question allows an admissions officer to assess your judgment and ability to navigate conflict.

Be open about an instance of integrity during your upbringing and be sure to describe how and what you have learned from it.