If you recently read an intriguing neuroscience paper, you could retrace your thought process when analyzing the paper and depict your curiosity in the topic. Perhaps this was the most meaningful to you because it allowed you to explore a new facet of science that you previously had not considered.
Perhaps you used this paper as motivation to pursue neuroscience research in an outside lab, influencing your current passion of studying the complex workings of the brain. You could also discuss a passion that is outside of your primary discipline in order to show Harvard the diverse range of interests you may have. You could highlight how these two disciplines, while seemingly different, overlap and create a need for a deeper emphasis in medical ethics.
By connecting your main passion with another topic, you can provide greater depth on your intellectual vitality.
A mistake that students commonly make is discussing their future dreams without connecting it back to their present experiences and passions. Make sure to draw the connection between the two and fuse the present with the future to avoid making this error.
While students often have large visions for tackling major problems such as global warming or curing cancer, these are often overdone since admissions committees see too many of these essays. Rather than focusing your essay on such a broad topic, try to narrow it down into something more specific that is equally impactful but may often be overlooked. An example of this could be a student pursuing urban studies wanting to convert more rural and suburban intersections into roundabouts.
While this may seem insignificant, such a change could save tens of thousands of lives over a time span of 20 years. Perhaps you hope to create an initiative at Harvard to ban the use of plastic straws over the next few years in an attempt to prevent the accumulation of plastics in nature.
Rather than attempting to show off every aspect of your life, dive deep into your academic or extracurricular passions, or add an element of personality to your list. One way to successfully execute this essay is to order the titles in such a way that shows your progression through a topic. For example, you could begin with Freakonomics, then an AP Economics textbook, followed by the Wealth of Nations, the General Theory of Employment, Interest in Money, and ending with a book on market monetarism.
With the previous example, the key is to show why you found each title compelling and how it further contributed to your passion for economics. Make sure to discuss the changes that occurred between each transition and how this impacted your perspective of the topic.
Why were you intrigued by each of these books and why did it allow you to fall in love with the subject? The same structure goes with any other discipline.
If you were involved in Science Olympiad, you could chronicle your journey through different discoveries based on the scientific novels you read. This novel sparked my interest in the expatriates of the Lost Generation and influenced several of my other book choices on this list.
A depressing take, I know. However, the student expresses humor in book 7, shows an ability to analyze in 11, and connects a book to her passions in 1. This is an extremely strong example and is a great template to follow if you choose to execute this prompt. You should therefore look for a topic that has severe consequences but is also appropriate to discuss in a college application.
An example of this could be if you were the editor in chief of your school newspaper and had to handle a plagiarism issue. However, the lines became blurred when you discovered the individual under suspicion was one of your friends, making it more difficult for you to make a concrete decision.
Perhaps, though, you realized that you must be a role model as the editor and uphold the moral standard that the role entails, ultimately causing you to terminate your friends membership on the team. Although you feared risking your friendship, your conscious proved to be the stronger force in the situation. Did I want to just be the teenager with a camera phone? The interview with Feinstein was humiliating, but the experience forced me to decide if I wanted to be that director with his own camera crew.
I dove head-first into editing, determined to not let my inexperience stop me. I took action. I had a vision of what I wanted, but I also had no idea how to use these programs to get there—I was just an amateur with no film experience beyond the occasional school project with iMovie. The process was brutal—I spent countless hours reading online manuals to solve frequent problems.
But every frustration fueled determination. Over the course of 80 working hours, the video progressed from a barebones slideshow of images to a multi-faceted film with customized titles and transition animations. Go beyond name dropping programs or activities, and deepen your understanding of how an education at Harvard will be beneficial to your personal growth.
Then, reflect how that growth will translate into real-world success. For example, if you want to pursue a Government concentration while at Harvard, do some research on their program. Discussing how the Institute of Politics will help mold you as a debater and a student of the social sciences is far more effective than simply saying that you know they have a good program. Then, go further. Talk about how the skills and lessons you will learn from the Institute of Politics and the Government Program will help you use your degree to the fullest.
Specificity is key here! It is important to not only know specifics about the school but about your field as well. Any student can write about their passion for law, but only you can write about why you want to be a civil rights attorney.
Talk about how you want to expand voting rights or change the immigration system in your career. Rather, talk about what problems in cardiology you are passionate about and why , and link your pursuit of fixing those problems to your degree. This prompt is perhaps the most intimidating of them all due to its simplicity. However, it is doable — CollegeVine students are accepted every year having chosen this essay prompt. At first glance, a simple list of books seems very impersonal, and it deprives your ability to use your own voice and tell stories about your own life and experiences.
However, if you are an avid reader, this could be a good prompt to address. Keep in mind, though, that your Harvard supplement should highlight aspects of your profile not covered very much in the rest of your application. For this prompt, Harvard asks for a list, but it does not prohibit any commentary on the books you have read. If you have some sort of original not taken from the Internet! If a book had an abnormally profound impact on you, talk about it and how it changed you as a person.
In fact, unless your list is exceptionally interesting because of how unique and different your book choices are i. Finally, keep in mind the message you are trying to relay throughout your application. Here is a chance to showcase your softer qualities of compassion and self-reflection. Throughout life, we have all encountered instances where we have a choice between honesty and dishonesty. For this essay, though, you must make sure that your experience is uncommon enough to draw in your reader.
For example, if your teacher once gave you extra points on a test due to a calculation error and you brought it to their attention, this essay is not for you.
If you led a team of reporters at your school newspaper to pressure your school administration into releasing salary data, you may have come to the right place. It is okay to talk about an instance in which you lied, so long as you show steps you made to rectify the lie and improve your integrity. The point of this essay is not to make you preach about the importance of honesty, but rather to force you to show a more complete understanding of the concept and its importance.
If it took a lie to make you grasp the concept of honesty, be honest about it and tell the story. The most effective answers to this prompt will detail situations where the choices presented to the author are morally ambiguous. The subsequent analysis of how the author reasoned through the situation are what make this essay come to life. Just make sure to be wary of the lie you choose to write about.
Also feel free to use their sample prompts as inspiration. Overall, remember the purpose of any admissions essay is to showcase something about yourself that admissions would not otherwise know about you. For International Students: What specific plan do you have, if any, for using the education you hope to receive? Harvard University wants to know why you chose to apply to Harvard and why you want to attend Harvard above all other schools in the US, your home country, and abroad!
Since you only have 50 words, you have no choice but to keep your answer short and sweet. That said, you can still focus on specific, personal details that show how much you know about the school. Will a BA degree in Environmental Science and Engineering set you on the path to be a leader in reducing or even reversing water and air pollution?
Most people like generic things like chocolate and sleep, so try to focus on things more personal. However, beware of trying too hard to be creative, as this can feel disingenuous and will be blatantly obvious to admission readers.
How did your experience mature your interests or intellectual development? Expressing a sense of citizenship or regard for humanity in the essay is a strong plus for the Harvard adcom.