Essay Intellectual Experience

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For this prompt, be specific in terms of how your experience changed your outlook.

For example, if you choose to write about how you moved 13 times over the past 17 years, don’t just plainly state that changing residencies repeatedly throughout high school changed many aspects of your life.

A bit about Harvard’s culture: Harvard encourages an environment of diverse thought and a global outlook.

Among the biggest priorities of Harvard College is to build future leaders and innovators that will change the world.

It is important to note that the goal of this essay should not be to gain sympathy in the form of an acceptance letter.

While you are definitely allowed to tell a sad story in your essay, the main takeaway from your writing should be your personal strengths and qualities.Express and focus on what shifted in your relationships, perspective, and family life as a result of your nomadic lifestyle, and share anecdotes to show what changed.Details are key — the more you can include, the more your essay will come to life.If you don’t have a prospective concentration yet (remember, Harvard students have “concentrations” and not “majors”), you should still explore your potential interests when researching the university.If the research points you gather align with your essay topic, feel free to mention them, and, more importantly, demonstrate why they fit you!Finally, the university specifically looks for genuinely good people.Expressing a sense of citizenship or regard for humanity in the essay is a strong plus for the Harvard adcom.In fact, after surveying over 200 members of the Harvard Class of 2017, we discovered that ~86% of accepted students opted to write the optional essay.Right away, you may have noticed that the Harvard essay doesn’t have a specific word count.If you are writing this essay completely from scratch for Harvard, an important guideline to use in framing your essay is that it should substantially differ from your Common App essay in terms of content (obviously), personality traits developed, and even style/tone.This essay is supposed to add something completely new to your app — a totally different angle — so it’s best to go for a full 180, or an essay that adds shock factor.


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