HOW TO WRITE PHENOMENAL SUPPLEMENTAL ESSAYS FOR HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Harvard University is a renowned institution that stands apart due to its unique attributes and exceptional contributions to academia. As the oldest university in the United States, Harvard boasts a rich history and tradition, with a distinguished faculty consisting of Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and prominent scholars across various disciplines. Harvard's distinctive residential house system fosters a close-knit community and encourages meaningful interactions among students from diverse backgrounds. Furthermore, Harvard's global reach and extensive network provide students with unparalleled networking opportunities and a platform to effect change on a global scale. With its commitment to intellectual exploration and emphasis on cultivating leaders, Harvard University stands as a beacon of academic brilliance and innovation.
The Harvard University supplemental essays provide applicants with the opportunity to delve deeper into their personal experiences, aspirations, and perspectives. The prompts invite students to reflect on their intellectual pursuits, unique backgrounds, personal growth, and potential contributions to the Harvard community. The essays aim to uncover the applicant's individuality, intellectual curiosity, and capacity for growth while aligning their values with Harvard's mission. Through thoughtful and introspective responses, students can demonstrate their readiness to engage in rigorous academic exploration, embrace diversity, and make meaningful contributions to their future college experience and beyond.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 1
PROMPT: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (Maximum 150 words.)
Select an extracurricular activity or work experience that is meaningful and relevant to your personal and academic development. It could be an activity you are passionate about or a job that has had a significant impact on your growth. Make sure to choose an experience that allows you to showcase your skills, values, and interests. Make your answer concise yet engaging, and clearly explain the nature of the activity or job, including its purpose, the role you played, and any significant achievements or responsibilities you had. Help the admissions committee understand the significance of your experience. Also, delve into the personal growth and development you gained from the activity or work experience. Share how it has shaped your character, values, and worldview. Reflect on specific challenges you encountered and how you overcame them, demonstrating resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to learn. As space permits, discuss the impact your involvement had on others, your community, or a cause you care about. Describe how your actions or accomplishments made a positive difference and contributed to the overall growth or success of the activity or workplace. This will demonstrate your capacity for leadership, teamwork, and making a meaningful impact. Finally, connect the dots between your extracurricular activity or work experience and your future aspirations. Show how this experience has influenced your academic and career goals, and how it aligns with the resources and opportunities available at Harvard University. Discuss how you envision continuing your involvement in similar activities or applying the skills you gained to your future endeavors.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 2
PROMPT: Your intellectual life may extend beyond the academic requirements of your particular school. Please use the space below to list additional intellectual activities that you have not mentioned or detailed elsewhere in your application. These could include, but are not limited to, supervised or self-directed projects not done as school work, training experiences, online courses not run by your school, or summer academic or research programs not described elsewhere. (Maximum 150 words.)
Start by creating a comprehensive list of the notable intellectual pursuits you have engaged in outside of your regular academic coursework. Include a diverse range of experiences. Next, identify the activities that have had the most significant impact on your intellectual growth. Choose activities that have challenged you, broadened your perspectives, or allowed you to explore new areas of interest. This will help you focus your response and highlight the most meaningful experiences. Make sure these demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and a genuine passion for learning, items that sparked your interests and have contributed to your intellectual development and growth as a person. Further, these activities should ideally align with your interests, values, or future aspirations, and should have enhanced your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Finally, they should showcase your capacity for self-learning and self-improvement, and possibly even demonstrate how they have shaped your worldview or inspired you to make a positive difference in the world.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3
PROMPT: You may wish to include an additional essay if you feel that the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your accomplishments. You may write on a topic of your choice, or you may choose from one of the following topics:
1. Unusual circumstances in your life
2. Travel, living, or working experiences in your own or other communities
3. What you would want your future college roommate to know about you
4. 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
5. How you hope to use your college education
6. A list of books you have read during the past twelve months
7. The Harvard College Honor code declares that we “hold honesty as the foundation of our community.” As you consider entering this community that is committed to honesty, please reflect on a time when you or someone you observed had to make a choice about whether to act with integrity and honesty.
8. The mission of Harvard College is to educate our students to be citizens and citizen-leaders for society. What would you do to contribute to the lives of your classmates in advancing this mission?
9. Each year a substantial number of students admitted to Harvard defer their admission for one year or take time off during college. If you decided in the future to choose either option, what would you like to do?
10. Harvard has long recognized the importance of student body diversity of all kinds. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, personal development or the intellectual interests you might bring to your Harvard classmates.
Similar to the common app essay, this prompt allows you to choose a topic from a list of options. Read the options over carefully, and look for one that truly resonates with you. Make sure it complements your common app essay and is not repetitive. Following are suggestions and advice for answering each of the ten options for this prompt.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.1
PROMPT: Unusual circumstances in your life.
Take some time to reflect on your life. Circumstances can be personal, familial, societal, or even global in nature. Consider events or situations that have set you apart from others and have had a significant impact on your life, and select the one that is most compelling and impactful. Choose a circumstance that allows you to showcase personal growth, resilience, adaptability, or valuable lessons learned, something that has shaped your character and influenced your perspective on life. Start your essay by providing context for the unusual circumstance. Explain the background, setting, and any relevant details that help the reader understand the situation. Paint a vivid picture to engage the reader and make them empathize with your experience. If the circumstance is a challenge or obstacle, emotional, physical, or intellectual, be honest and transparent about the difficulties you encountered. This will demonstrate your ability to overcome adversity and your resilience in the face of challenging situations. Discuss the valuable lessons that you learned, the insights you gained, or the skills you acquired as a result, and perhaps even how the experience shaped your character, values, future aspirations, or desire to make a positive impact in the world. Remember, authenticity is key: be sincere and reflective in your essay, allowing the admissions committee a deeper understanding of who you are.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.2
PROMPT: Travel, living, or working experiences in your own or other communities.
For this prompt, instead of simply recounting your experiences, focus on the personal growth and development you gained from these experiences. Highlight how living or working in a different community broadened your perspectives, challenged your assumptions, or helped you develop new skills. If applicable, share specific instances where you had meaningful interactions with members of the community you visited or lived in. Discuss how these interactions shaped your understanding of the local culture and created lasting connections. Describe any challenges or difficulties you encountered while traveling, living, or working in the community, and how you overcame these challenges, what you learned from them, and how they contributed to your personal growth and resilience. While sharing your experiences, emphasize the positive impact you made on the community and how the community influenced your own life. Discuss any community projects you were involved in, such as volunteering initiatives, sustainable development programs, or cultural exchange activities. To make your response even more engaging and compelling, include specific examples or anecdotes that vividly illustrate your experiences and the lessons learned. These personal stories will help the reader connect with your narrative and understand the depth of your experiences. When discussing your experiences in another community, avoid generalizations, stereotypes, or negative portrayals of the community, focusing instead on the positive aspects and the lessons learned. You can also discuss how these experiences have shaped your desire to engage in global issues, contribute to diverse communities, or work towards building understanding and inclusivity.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.3
PROMPT: What you would want your future college roommate to know about you.
Be genuine and honest when describing yourself to your future college roommate. Share your true passions, interests, and values. You can highlight your communication style and how you typically navigate conflicts or disagreements, and share information about your living habits. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you prefer a quiet study environment? Are you neat and organized, or more laid-back when it comes to cleanliness? Share your interests, hobbies, and extracurricular activities. Discuss the clubs, sports, or organizations you plan to join or are currently involved in, showing how this can lead to opportunities for bonding and friendship. Emphasize your respect for personal boundaries and studying habits, and highlight your willingness to collaborate and contribute positively to the community living experience. Discuss your enthusiasm for engaging in community-building activities, supporting one another's goals, and creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. Share your academic and career goals, and how you envision your college experience contributing to them. Discuss your enthusiasm for personal growth, learning, and making the most of your time at college. Remember, the purpose of this essay is to provide your future roommate (and the admissions committee) with insights into your personality and who you are deep down.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.4
PROMPT: 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.
Choose an intellectual experience that has had a significant impact on your personal growth, academic journey, or worldview, something that truly resonates with you. Start by providing a brief context: explain why you pursued it, how it came about, and why it captured your interest. This will help the reader understand the significance of the experience in your academic or personal development. Next, provide a detailed account of the intellectual experience. Explain the specific tasks, challenges, or concepts you encountered and engaged with, and discuss the methods, resources, or approaches you employed to explore the subject matter. Highlight any notable discoveries, insights, or realizations that occurred during the experience; reflect on how the intellectual experience has influenced you. You can also discuss the ways in which it has shaped your thinking, perspective, or goals. Finally, consider the skills, knowledge, or values you gained as a result of the experience and convey how it influenced your academic or career trajectory and how it will contribute to your success in your chosen field. Make sure to let your passion for the intellectual experience shine through in your writing. Close the essay by expressing your genuine enthusiasm for the subject matter and your eagerness to continue exploring it, which demonstrate your curiosity, dedication, and commitment to intellectual pursuits.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.5
PROMPT: How you hope to use your college education.
Begin by reflecting on your career aspirations and long-term goals. Identify the specific field, industry, or profession you aim to pursue after graduating from college. This will provide a clear direction for your response. Next, articulate how your college education will serve as a foundation for your future, and explain how the knowledge, skills, and experiences gained in your chosen field of study will directly contribute to your desired career path, emphasizing the relevance of your education. Identify and discuss the transferable skills you will acquire during your college education, which can include critical thinking, problem solving, communication, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, and technological proficiency. If you have already gained relevant experiences or completed internships in your field of interest, highlight them. Discuss the skills and knowledge you gained from these experiences that will support your post-college endeavors. Discuss how your college education will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to address global trends and meet the evolving demands of the path ahead of you. Demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and professional development beyond college, and express how you will actively seek opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills and that you understand the importance of staying updated and adaptable in an ever-changing world. You can also discuss how you hope to use your college education to make a positive impact on society or address pressing societal issues. Additionally, you may want to explain how your chosen field of study or career path aligns with your values and enables you to contribute meaningfully to the betterment of communities or specific causes. Finally, emphasize how pursuing your passion and finding personal fulfillment in your chosen path are important to you.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.6
PROMPT: A list of books you have read during the past twelve months.
Include both fiction and non-fiction books, covering a range of genres and subjects. It's important to showcase your diverse reading interests and demonstrate your intellectual curiosity. Genres can include literature, science fiction, biography, history, philosophy, self-help, or any other genre that you have explored. This shows your openness to different styles of writing and your willingness to engage with diverse perspectives and topics. Choose books that have influenced your thinking or worldview or have had a significant impact on you or have shaped your thinking in a meaningful way; also consider books that have influenced your intellectual growth, expanded your knowledge, or sparked new interests. Aim for a balance between breadth and depth in your reading list. Showcase a wide range of authors, topics, and styles to demonstrate your curiosity and versatility. Consider how the books you have read align with your personal interests, academic pursuits, or career goals. Do not feel pressured to include books that you haven't actually read or to list books that you think would impress the admissions officers. Be true to your reading experiences and share what genuinely resonated with you. If you feel that your reading list lacks diversity or you want to expand your literary horizons, seek recommendations from others. The purpose of this prompt is to showcase your reading habits, intellectual curiosity, the impact books have had on your personal and intellectual development and your love for reading and learning.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.7
PROMPT: The Harvard College Honor code declares that we “hold honesty as the foundation of our community.” As you consider entering this community that is committed to honesty, please reflect on a time when you or someone you observed had to make a choice about whether to act with integrity and honesty.
The more personal and meaningful the experience, the better you can convey your reflections and insights. Begin by providing context for the situation. Describe the environment, the people involved, and any relevant details that help the reader understand the circumstances leading up to the choice of acting with integrity and honesty. Next, clearly articulate the dilemma faced by either yourself or the person you observed. Explain the conflicting factors or pressures that made the decision challenging. It's important to provide a clear understanding of the ethical challenge at hand. Next, share the thought process involved in making the decision. Discuss the factors that influenced the choice to act, such as personal values, ethical considerations, the potential consequences of dishonesty, or the impact on others involved. Describe the outcome of the decision made, and the immediate and long-term consequences that resulted from choosing honesty and integrity. Reflect on how the decision impacted you or the person you observed, as well as the broader community or individuals involved. Discuss how the experience shaped your perspective on honesty and integrity, and reflect on any personal growth, insights, or lessons learned from the situation. You may consider how the experience influenced your own values, behavior, and commitment to acting with integrity in the future. Make sure to connect your experience to the values upheld by Harvard's Honor code, and discuss how the experience aligns with the commitment to honesty and integrity in the Harvard community by emphasizing the importance of fostering a culture of trust and ethical behavior within the academic and social environment. Show introspection by sharing your thoughts and emotions during the decision-making process, and discuss any internal conflicts, doubts, or fears you experienced, as well as how you navigated through them. Admissions officers value self-awareness and the ability to reflect on moral and ethical challenges. Conclude by emphasizing your commitment to acting with integrity and honesty in your future endeavors, and how the experience has strengthened your resolve to uphold these values in your future pursuits.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.8
PROMPT: The mission of Harvard College is to educate our students to be citizens and citizen-leaders for society. What would you do to contribute to the lives of your classmates in advancing this mission?
Begin by reflecting on your personal values, strengths, and passions, and then consider how these align with the objective of the prompt. Identify specific areas where you can make a meaningful contribution, and think about the different aspects of college life where you can contribute to the lives of your classmates, which could include academic, extracurricular, social, or community engagement activities. Next, discuss how you have previously taken initiative, organized events, or collaborated with others to achieve common goals, and how you would leverage these skills to contribute to the lives of your classmates. Previous endeavors could be a project, event, or organization you were involved in. Reflect on the lessons learned and how you would apply them at Harvard. Demonstrate your understanding of the Harvard community and its values, and discuss how you would actively engage with your peers, faculty, and staff. Make sure you highlight your willingness to contribute to the community's intellectual, cultural, and social growth, and stress your commitment to promoting inclusivity and celebrating diversity, creating an environment where all students feel valued and respected. You can share ideas on how you would actively engage with individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives to foster a sense of belonging for all. You can also discuss how you would offer mentorship and support to your classmates, and highlight your willingness to share knowledge, resources, and experiences to help others succeed academically and personally. Emphasize your commitment to creating a supportive network where everyone can thrive. Showcase your creativity and innovative thinking by proposing specific ideas or initiatives that could enhance the educational and personal experiences of your classmates, which could involve organizing workshops, creating platforms for interdisciplinary collaboration, or initiating community service projects. While it's important to showcase ambition, ensure that your ideas are realistic and actionable within the context of the college community; consider the resources and opportunities available at Harvard when presenting your ideas. Finally, show your genuine enthusiasm and passion for contributing to the lives of your classmates, and make your love for making a positive impact shine through in your response.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.9
PROMPT: Each year a substantial number of students admitted to Harvard defer their admission for one year or take time off during college. If you decided in the future to choose either option, what would you like to do?
Begin by reflecting on the reasons why you would consider deferring your admission or taking time off during college. Is there a particular experience, opportunity, or goal that you would like to pursue outside of the traditional academic setting? Next, articulate what you hope to achieve during your deferment or time off. It could be pursuing a passion project, engaging in meaningful research, gaining practical work experience, volunteering for a social cause, or exploring a different culture through travel. Identify specific goals that align with your interests and aspirations, explain how the activities you plan to pursue align with your long-term vision and personal development, and discuss how this experiential learning will contribute to your overall educational journey. Make sure to present a well-structured plan for how you would utilize your time off effectively by outlining the steps you would take to ensure productive engagement, setting clear milestones. Discuss how the experiences you plan to pursue will enhance your academic, personal, and professional growth, and how they would broaden your perspectives, develop valuable skills, and contribute to your overall readiness to make a meaningful impact in the world. Also, discuss how you would remain intellectually engaged during your time off and ensure that this time is a productive and enriching experience. Finally, convey your enthusiasm and passion for the opportunities you plan to pursue. Show that you have carefully considered this decision and are genuinely excited about the potential growth and learning that await you. Admissions officers are looking for individuals who are proactive, self-driven, and eager to make the most of their educational journey.
How to Write Harvard University Supplemental Essay 3.10
PROMPT: Harvard has long recognized the importance of student body diversity of all kinds. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, personal development or the intellectual interests you might bring to your Harvard classmates.
Begin by highlighting the unique aspects of your background, which can include your cultural heritage, family background, upbringing, or any experiences that have shaped your identity. Discuss how these aspects have influenced your perspectives, values, and beliefs, and reflect on your personal development journey and the experiences that have contributed to your growth. Discuss any challenges you have overcome, significant achievements, or transformative moments that have shaped your character, and emphasize how these experiences have fostered resilience, empathy, and an open-minded approach to life. Harvard loves intellectual curiosity and passion for learning, so you can also discuss the specific fields, subjects, or areas of inquiry that captivate your interest, and highlight any research projects, academic pursuits, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your dedication and commitment to intellectual exploration. Make sure to show your understanding of the importance of diversity within the Harvard community and how you would contribute to the broader tapestry of perspectives on campus, bringing different viewpoints, experiences, and ideas to classroom discussions, group projects, and campus events. If applicable, discuss any experiences or skills that have developed your cross-cultural competence, situations where you have interacted with individuals from different cultural backgrounds, demonstrating your ability to adapt, collaborate, and appreciate diverse perspectives. Don’t forget to explain how you would enrich the lives of your Harvard classmates; demonstrate your alignment with Harvard's commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and intellectual exploration. Make sure to share your story with authenticity and passion and focus on conveying your unique experiences and perspectives in a sincere and compelling manner. You can conclude by expressing your enthusiasm for personal growth, embracing new perspectives, and learning from your future Harvard classmates. Emphasize your commitment to evolving as an individual, embracing challenges, and making a positive impact not only on campus but also in the wider world beyond Harvard.
Would you like one-on-one expert assistance with crafting amazing supplemental essays that help you stand out from the crowd and get you admitted? Whether you need help brainstorming ideas, structuring your essays, or refining your writing, we're here to provide personalized guidance every step of the way.
Don't hesitate to reach out - we'd love to chat with you!