Harvard undergraduate essays

How will your experiences enrich the Harvard educational environment? This may relate to topics of social responsibility. This question asks you to share something significant about your day-to-day way of being. You can discuss just about anything here! Although you could approach this essay in a somewhat playful manner, do not be tempted to address a topic for its shock value. Remember Harvard is looking for students who will be excellent educators, think about how that might relate to a future roommate situation in particular and the Harvard community in general.

This response allows you to discuss something that is important to you and to demonstrate how you think about intellectual problems. This is an exercise in creative and critical thinking. It also provides a platform for you to convey your enthusiasm for learning. What excites you about this intellectual experience?

How did the experience challenge your preconceptions? How did it impact your way of thinking? What was your reaction? How did it change your perspective? This response offers insight into your potential to thrive in the demanding academic environment at Harvard. With a look toward the future, this is an opportunity to discuss why Harvard is the ideal place for you to achieve your goals.

It also allows you to discuss your motivations, passions , values, and perspectives on learning. Discuss what excites you about the overall experience at Harvard. Look toward the future and how the Harvard educational experience will support you. Can you articulate the value of a Harvard education?

Your response will convey your aspirations, temperament, leadership, and potential to succeed at Harvard. As you compile your list, think about the breadth and depth of content. You do not need to include every book you read in the last year.

This list should include the books you are most excited about but also the ones that challenged your way of thinking. Each title is a means of interacting with the world of ideas and communicates something significant about you. Clearly Harvard holds honesty as the essential building block of community. Why do you believe honesty is essential to community?

How important are shared values in a community? If you are writing about your own actions, think about what prompted you to act or prevented you from acting, what did you do, what was the result? If you are writing about someone you observed, discuss his or her choice.

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Why was it significant and what do you think about the behavior? Why does that observation resonate with you? In either case, what was at stake based on the decision and what was the impact of the choice that was made? The heart of this prompt gets at your impact on those around you. This is an opportunity to discuss your role within your peer group at Harvard as well as in a broader sense as you look toward the future.

Individual Approach Guarantees Your Admission!

You must also demonstrate your ability to reflect on society from different perspectives. Think about what you can do—from a school club to a larger cultural or religious community to the global society. The most important thing is to convey how you might contribute in a meaningful way.

What might you do to inspire, support, or educate others? This is a good prompt to address if you are considering a gap year or if you have plans to take time off while at college to pursue a particular interest. This could be career related, a personal improvement quest, or something else. Explain what you plan to do during this time away from Harvard, your rationale, and what you hope to gain from the experience.

How would you embrace this opportunity to gain some skill or explore something meaningful? Then consider how that extracurricular experience might help you achieve a future goal and how it might enhance the community at Harvard upon your return. This can be something that actually exists or something you imagine. In short, how might your particular life experience add value to the diverse student body at Harvard? How might you enrich discussions or provide different perspectives?

This is primarily about what you bring to the table but also consider how you might be able to engage with your classmates differently based on your personal experiences. Think about your culture, significant experiences that shaped you, your passions, or issues of concern to your unique intellectual pursuits.

A little more about Harvard

The Harvard admissions committee seeks not only well-rounded individuals; it also covets students who are intensely creative in some discipline or activity, reflective, passionate, artistic, compassionate, talented, and brilliant. Do not be intimidated by these characteristics. Instead, strive to convey your unique self, life experiences, aspirations, motivations, interests and perspectives in a compelling way. Not surprisingly, the applicant pool at Harvard is extremely competitive. It received 43, undergraduate applications for the class of Only 2,, or a new record-low of 4. What is the best way to standout in this outstanding applicant pool?

Be you, convey your strengths, and unique identity through your application and essay responses! These statistics can feel overwhelming. Take solace in the fact that Harvard is assessing your overall application in an effort to provide the best fit for you as a student. Stay focused and try not to get overwhelmed. 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. 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.

Harvard University Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

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. 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.


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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. You should submit scores from tests taken in the past three years. While we recommend two SAT Subject Tests, you may apply without them if the cost of taking the tests represents a financial hardship or if you prefer to have your application considered without them.

If you were eligible for a fee waiver from the SAT or ACT, you are eligible for unlimited free score reports to be sent to institutions to which you are applying. We recommend you use your free score reports to share your scores with Harvard. Standardized testing is only one component of our admissions process and your application will be evaluated on the basis of all of the other information that you submit.

Admitted students who decide to enroll at Harvard College will be required to submit official test scores. We take into account your educational background when reviewing your scores. Such free programs could help to level the playing field for students from under-resourced high schools by providing the academic skills that will serve them well on standardized tests and also in college.

Students who attend well-resourced schools throughout their lives tend to do well on standardized testing. Those without such advantages can also do well by studying widely and deeply over a long period of time on their own with the help of family or school or community organizations.

How to Write the Harvard Supplemental Essay