How to Write the Harvard University Application Essays 2016-17

"When we're reading applications, the essay is usually the piece of the application that we get most excited about."-Jennifer Gandy, Senior Admissions Officer, Harvard UniversityWe hit the road to speak with admissions counselors at colleges and universities around the country, gaining a deeper understanding of the role the admissions essay in undergraduate admissions. David J. Dent, founder of Write for the Future, interviewed Jennifer Gandy, a senior admissions officer at Harvard, for our first Conversations on Admitting column-- the kick off in a series to help de-mystify a process that compels schools to choose between thousands of applicants, who, in the case of Harvard, may have perfect or nearly perfect GPAs and SAT scores. "Yes, while looking at their perfect SAT scores and looking at their straight A records and reading the list of items on their resumes - those can be impressive, " Gandy said. "But the essay is really the one piece, along with what teachers say about a student, that can be the most compelling and most exciting. Those are the things that we usually end up sharing with the admission committee when we're discussing, and making cases to accept applicants. The essay is usually the first thing that goes up on the screen, we say 'Look at this kid, look at this thing he or she wrote.' So I would hope as students are going through this process, the essay would also be what most excites them."

Harvard University Application Essay, Harvard University Admission Essay
Photo provided by Flickr

It will come as no surprise that Harvard consistently ranks among the top universities in the world. Its highly regarded reputation and academic chops attract the best and brightest. It accepts as well as the Universal College Application (with no preference). Both of these applications require an essay response.


How to Write the Harvard University Application Essays 2016-17 ..

Nov 20, 2013 - Here's John F. Kennedy's personal essay from his Harvard University application.
Photo provided by Flickr

This may be something you did not choose to share in your Common Application (or Universal College Application) Essay response but feel is essential to a deeper understanding of you. Your goal is to discuss unusual circumstances that provide a better context to your life experience. Consider what this experience(s) reflects about your personal qualities, personality, and character. How do these circumstances influence your perspective and aspirations? How might your background make Harvard a particularly good fit for you?