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, then you will be on your way to answering this prompt effectively.The second part — “the ways in which your circumstances have influenced you” — in particular is key; while taking the time to explain your unique circumstances is important to beget a full understanding of what happened, it is even more critical that you link your experience to who you have become today.
Second, you want to try to convey some sort of curiosity to Harvard — whether that curiosity is academic, intellectual, extracurricular, or philosophical.
Harvard students, for the most part, are really passionate about something; you want to convey how you will also contribute to that pool.
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.
Each year, students are confused by Harvard’s assertion that its essay is optional.
To clear the air, at College Vine, we advise our students to take every opportunity available to showcase themselves on their applications.Harvard encourages its students to be well-rounded and driven, ready to take on a rapidly changing globe.Ask yourself: What types of internship opportunities, research projects, curriculum styles, and activities within Harvard interest me?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.A few key points to think about when writing this essay (considering it’s for Harvard).First, the school tends to value community involvement/passion development over pure academic success.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 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!