My Successful Harvard Application (Complete Common App + Supplement)
Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van. Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back. More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it.
My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing-all meant my house was functioning normally. My Graduate application essay sample, a retired Sample application essays pilot, was away half the time.
When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill-you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. Clear a hole! Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try.
So what if our dining buy an extended essay table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night. But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power.
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The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo. Then, I realized I knew the answer.
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I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me. Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence. This has everything we talked about earlier, in the Hook Section.
It describes a scene - he is standing next to a car, and he is about to break in, it has a hint of danger and drama application essay samples he is making a transgression - and then there is cliffhanger too - how will it turn out, will he get caught? Stephen uses extremely detailed language to build up a visual scene that really makes this experience come to life.
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Firstly, in a practical way - his resourcefulness has resulted in him unlocking the car door. In this playful way, he is changing the situation from the narrow story to the broader deeper aspects.
The insight he has gained from it. His personal growth. The humor relaxes the reader and actually draws them closer to the essay writer while providing details about the author's life. Another thing to take notice of is that this type of humor and phrasing is kept to a minimum in the statement, and is only used around topics where the reader could feel discomfort to relax them.
The moderate amount of humor helps keep the prose meaningful and serious rather than flippant. Stephen ends his essay by reflecting on how his life has prepared him to deal with the future. Describe the event or accomplishment that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed. Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection-pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth.
This prompt is an invitation to write about something you care about. So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you. Colleges are looking for curious students, who are thoughtful about the world around them. Make sure you explain how you pursue your interest, as well. You can even write your own question! Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: 1.
Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2. Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why.
Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them:. When I first moved to the United States from Jakarta 8 years ago I was upset about leaving all of people I knew and loved behind me to follow my mother and brother here where we could find better "educational opportunities".
I resented the fact that my dad, who is a physician, had to stay in Jakarta to keep up his practice to fund this move, and that we would only be able to see him on the odd occasion he could get away long enough for the endless flight to Arizona, this land where we knew no one The curtains are swaying slightly before me and I know that they will soon part and a sea of faces will suddenly be before me, staring up with their eyes burning into mine, unseen because of the footlights, but felt nevertheless.
I can remember decades ago in high school when I first began dancing in front of an audience There are many challenges facing my generation today: our spanish checker is at war, there are people in our own extremely prosperous country who go to bed hungry every night, and this spring, when I will be lucky enough to graduate from one of the best private high schools in the country, there will be other students application essay samples yourself pdf in America who are also graduating even though they can't read their own diploma The application essay is a common part of the university and college admissions process.
Some applications may require one or more essays to be completed, while others make essays optional or supplementary. Essay topics range from very specific to open-ended.
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Essay on self discipline is the key to success. Although every aspect of your college application is important, a strong college admission essay is one of the most important elements of the application. It is one of application essay samples yourself pdf final pieces of information that can influence admissions decisions, and it's the only part of your application that is totally within your control.
Your essay is also the only part of your application that is guaranteed to be unique; many other students may have the same GPA, nearly identical transcripts, or the same extracurricular activities as you, but none will have an essay like yours. Beyond helping you get in to school, well-written college admission essays can help students gain scholarships, grants and other financial aid.
Investing the time to learn how to create a memorable essay can pay rich dividends. There's no reason to rush your phd application essay sample. You won't score extra point with the admissions department for finishing your essay in an hour.
Unless personal essays topics helped write the State of the Union, your admissions essay will likely be the most influential essay you've written so far, at least as it relates to your own life. Give yourself at least a week to compose your courage essay. In writing, there are few application essay samples yourself pdf as intimidating and insurmountable as a blank page.
Templates can give you a good starting point for your college admissions essay. You can browse the Internet to find templates and sample essays to help your ideas begin to take shape. Templates can also help you get an idea of how to create a solid college admission essay format. For example, you may want to include a heading with the name and address of the person who will be receiving your letter.Make them want to meet you after they finish reading your essays. Our world-class team helps you stand out from the competition and get accepted.
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Team up With an Experienced Admissions Pro! This section is pretty straightforward and is similar to what you'd see on a Columbia application. Just as in my Common App, I noted that I was most likely to study biological sciences, choose Uf application essay samples as my vocation, and participate in orchestra, writing, and research as my extracurriculars.
Nothing surprising here-it's all part of my Personal Narrative. Interestingly, at the time I was "absolutely certain" about my vocational goals, which clearly took a detour once I left medical school to pursue entrepreneurship to create PrepScholar Want to improve your SAT score by points?
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I had the space to list some additional honors, where I listed some musical honors that didn't make the cut in my Common App. The most interesting note here is that the admissions officer wrote a question mark above "Music tape or CD.
The reason was that I was actually pretty mediocre at violin and was nowhere near national-ranked. Again, remember how many concertmasters in the thousands of orchestras there are in the world-I wasn't good enough to even be in the top 3 chairs in my school orchestra violin was very competitive.
I wanted to focus attention on my most phd application essay sample materials, which for my Personal Narrative meant my research work. You'll see these supplementary materials later. For the most part, the Harvard supplemental essay prompt has stayed the same. You can write about a topic of your choice or about any of the suggestions. There are now two more prompts that weren't previously there: "What you would want your future college roommate to know about you" and "How you hope to use your college education.
Even writing a statement of purpose this is optional, I highly recommend you write something here. Again, you have so few chances in the overall application to convey your personal voice-an extra words gives you a huge opportunity. I would guess that the majority of admitted Harvard students submit a Writing Supplement.
After a lot of brainstorming, I settled on the idea that I wanted to balance my application by writing about the major non-academic piece of my Personal Narrative-my music training. Also, I don't think I explicitly recognized this at the time, but I wanted to distance myself from the Asian-American stereotype-driven entirely by parent pressure, doing most things perfunctorily and without interest.
I wanted to show I'd broken out of that mold. Reading it now, I actually think this was a pretty bad essay, and I cringe to high heaven. But once again, let's focus on the positive first. I used my violin teacher as a vehicle for talking about what the violin meant to me. You can tell I love the concept of the vehicle in essays. He represented passion for the violin-I represented my academic priorities. Our personal conflict was really the conflict between what we represented.
By the end of the essay, I'd articulated the value of musical training to me-it was cathartic and a way to balance my hard academic pursuits. Halfway in the essay, I also explicitly acknowledged the Asian stereotype of parents who drove their kids, and said my parents were no different.
The reader underlined this sentence.
Phd application essay sample
By pointing this out and showing how my interest took on a life of its own, I wanted to distance myself from that stereotype. Despite all that, this essay was WAY overdramatic and overwrought. Some especially terrible lines:. OK, please. Who really honestly feels this way? This is clumsy, contrived writing. It signals insincerity, actually, which is bad. To be fair, all of this is grounded in truth.
I did have a strict violin teacher who did get pretty upset when I showed lack of improvement. I did appreciate music as a diversion to round out my academic focus.
I did practice hard each day, and I did have a pretty gross callus on my pinky. As an applicant, you're tempted to try so hard to impress your reader.
You want to show that you're Worthy of Consideration. But really the best approach is to be honest. I think this essay was probably neutral to my application, not a strong net positive or net negative.
Harvard lets you submit letters from up to two Other Recommenders. The Princeton application, Penn application, and others are usually the same. Unlike the other optional components the Additional Information in the Common App, and the Supplementary EssayI would actually consider these letters optional. The reader gets most of the recommendation value from your teacher recommendations-these are really supplementary.
If your Other Recommenders don't fulfill one or more of these categories, do NOT ask for supplementary letters. They'll dilute your application without adding substantively to it. To beat a dead horse, the primary component of my Personal Narrative was my science and research work. So naturally I chose supervisors for my two major research experiences to write supplemental letters.
This letter validates my participation in RSI and incorporates the feedback from my research mentor, David Simon. At the time, graduate application essay sample RSI students were the most talented students I had met, so I'm also flattered by some of the things the letter writer said, like "Allen stood out early on as a strong performer in academic settings.
I didn't get to know the letter writer super well, so he commented mainly on my academic qualifications and comments from my mentor. My mentor, who was at one of the major Uf application essay samples hospitals, said some very nice things about my research ability, like:. Once again, it's much more convincing for a seasoned expert to vouch for your abilities than for you to claim your own abilities. My first research experience was done at Jisan Research Institute, a small private computer science lab run by a Caltech PhD.
My research supervisor, Sanza Kazadi, wrote the letter. He's requested that I not publish the letter, so I'll only speak about his main points.
In the letter, he focused on the quality of my work and leadership. He said that I had a strong focus in my work, and my research moved along more reliably than that of other students. I was independent in my work in swarm engineering, he says, putting together a simulation of the swarm and publishing a paper in conference proceedings.
He talked about my work in leading a research group and placing a high degree of trust in me. One notable point-both supplemental letters had no marks on them. I really think this means they place less emphasis on the supplementary recommendations, compared to the teacher recommendations. Let me beat the dead horse even deader. Because research was such a core part of my Personal Narrative, I decided to include abstracts of both of my papers.
The main point was to summarize the body of work I'd done and communicate the major results. As Harvard says, "These materials are entirely optional; please only submit them if you have unusual talents. This is why I chose not to submit a tape of my music: I don't think my musical skill was unusually good.
And frankly, I don't think my research work was that spectacular. Unlike some of my very accomplished classmates, I hadn't ranked nationally in prestigious competitions like ISEF and Siemens. I hadn't published my work in prominent journals.
I made sure to note where the papers had been published or were entering competitions, just to ground the work in some achievement. So there we have it-my entire college application. This triggers the need for students to hire essay writers.
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It made perfect sense! All the people that didn't have a job could be Fixer-Uppers. I was like a ten-year-old FDR. Seven years down the road, I still take a second glance at the sidewalk cracks and think of my Fixer-Uppers, but now I'm doing so from the driver's seat.
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I smiled, thanked him, and left. But it occurred to me that, while my desired occupation was decided, my true goal in life was still sample application essays become a Fixer-Upper. I'll do one thing during the day, then spend my off-hours helping people where I can. Instead of flying like Sue, though, I'll opt for a nice performance automobile.
My childhood self would appreciate that. Bridget takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but her essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of her essay. The essay is arranged chronologically. Bridget starts each paragraph with a clear signpost of where we are in time:. I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst.
What makes this essay fun to read is that Bridget takes a child's application essay sample of a world made better through quasi-magical helpers and turns it into a metaphor for the author's future aspirations.
It helps that the metaphor is a very clear one: people who work with students with disabilities are making the world better one abstract fix at a time, just like imaginary Fixer-Uppers would make the world better one concrete physical fix at a time.
Every childhood Fixer-Upper ever. Ask your parents to explain the back row to you. This essay uses many techniques that make Bridget sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know her.