|Students who got into Harvard say:|
Essay (8) |
| | Obviously get good grades, try your best on the act/sat. Instead of being in one million extracurriculars, stick with a few and become leaders in them. Being good at sports helps. One thing I wish I did in high school was pick one or two teachers and suck up to them like no other. It really helps. Try to take the hardest classes, but honestly my cousin was in 90% regular classes throughout his high school career, and was EXTREMELY talented in math, and he still got in. But when I say extremely, this kid aced AP calculus in 8th grade. I mean really there are so many qualified applicants applying to this school, there isn't much else you can do. Prove you are special. I bet each and every one of you has had something happen in your life that makes you special. That's not the issue. The real problem is how well you can DEMONSTRATE it. You should work to be a top-ranked athlete in a sport that is not very competitive (meaning that you should NOT choose a sport that pretty much everyone participates in like soccer or basketball) such as crew, fencing, diving, golf, rugby, water polo. A white boy from my affluent suburban public high school got accepted to Princeton even though he had a 1200 SAT score and a 3.0 average with NO honors/AP classes. Guess what? He is a nationally ranked diver. He does not even write with proper grammar and punctuation, but he still got accepted. Actually, he was suspended last year from Princeton for poor grades but they let him return. Now he is going to graduate at least two years behind his peers but they want his diving skills and are cutting him some slack because he brings in those shiny trophies. Do you still want another way to get accepted? I suggest that you try to get published by a respectable publisher. Case in point: Robert "Nick" McDonell, author of "Twelve" and Harvard College '06. All that pre-release hype for his book came at a very opportune time for him (senior year of high school). Sure, the publisher was his godfather but he still got in to Harvard (even with that huge cloud of nepotism hanging over his head. Ok, how to get it? Don't attempt to get into Havard if you are just smart. That probably is not going to cut it. Don't attempt to get into Harvard if you just have really good SAT scores and above average grades. At Harvard, unlike MIT and others, they honestly care about "well-rounded individuals." Now when I saw well-rounded I do not mean you did 100 things that you were sort of good at or that you sort of did. I mean 2-3 things, (ie sports, clubs, music, drama) that you stand out in. Extremely stand out in. Be able to express yourself and be able to hold a decent conversation in your interview. Oh, and hold at least a 4.0 in high school. And you're in! I was diverse. I sacrificed most of my social life for work until late in high school, and when I wasn't working, I was doing theatre and activist stuff. I never played any sports, although that's not going to hurt you or help you if you do. Beware of doing ONLY sports, though. I was involved in community service, a junior space-engineering program, musical theatre/drama, amnesty international, tap dancing, science olympiad, volunteers of america, people for animal welfare, national honors, etc. My essay was about how I went to the 150th Women's Rights convention in Seneca Falls and came back and realized how silent the female contingent of my school was, and expressed my shock and anger (eloquently). I was very lucky in my interviewer, as we shared the same concentration/interests, and because so friendly she didn't really ask me the questions. We just talked for an hour and a half.