My main motive in this section was to add more detail around my most significant activities: The only parts the reader underlined were the name of my research supervisor, and the fact that my research was then a Siemens-Westinghouse Semi-Finalist.
Both of these legitimate my research. I highly recommend you take the time to write an Additional Information section. You have so little space in your Yale application or Duke application to express yourself — this is purposely designed so everyone doesn't submit pages of drivel. Here you have an extra words to add more color around your life and accomplishments — DO IT.
Along with Activities, Academic Honors is the other major area where you can really shine and develop a big Spike. The higher the level of competition and the more prestigious the award, the more the honor is worth. This has an exponential relationship, because of how quickly the field is narrowed at each stage of competition.
This can also mean an international ranking is worth x that of a regional ranking — again, why a big Spike is so impressive. Academic honors and awards are a great, quantifiable way to show that. By far, the biggest academic honor I had was competing in the US National Chemistry Olympiad , where I ranked 6 in the country in junior year, out of roughly 11, students who took the first round test. At the highest international level of competition, countries send their top students to wage battle against each other, just like the sports Olympics.
The best known subjects are Math , Physics , Chemistry , and Biology in order of descending prestige, among nerds. I ranked at the national level, before the US selected their final team — a study camp of 20 students. But this was still a national level honor, in a well-known competition.
This is why I say a big Spike makes you stand out clearly among a bin of well-rounded applicants. At Harvard in my class, I knew International Math and Physics Olympiad gold medalists, people who were on their national teams for the hardest subjects AND ranked in the top percentiles worldwide. And there were students with similar level accomplishments in other arenas, from music performance to writing.
Earning this kind of honor was nearly a golden ticket to getting into schools like Harvard , because you literally are the best in the world at what you care about. But remember there are thousands of nationally-ranked people in a multitude of honor types, from science competitions to essay contests to athletics to weird talents.
And I strongly believe the 1 differentiator of high school students who achieve things is work ethic, NOT intelligence or talent. Yes, you need a baseline level of competence to get places, but people far undervalue the progress they can make if they work hard and persevere.
Far too many people give up too quickly or fatigue without putting in serious effort. The truth is everyone who achieves something of note puts in an incredible amount of hard work.
My research work took up the next two honors, one a presentation at an academic conference, and the other Siemens a research competition for high school researchers. At the risk of beating a dead horse, think about how many state medalists there are in the country, in the hundreds of competitions that exist.
The number of state to national rankers is probably at least So state honors really don't help you stand out on your Princeton application. There are just too many of them around. On the other hand, if you can get to be nationally ranked in something, you will have an amazing Spike that distinguishes you.
How could anything I write compare to these tales of personal strength? The trite truth is that colleges want to know who you really are. But they do want students who are:. I do think my Spike was nearly sufficient to get me admitted to every school in the country. Back then, we had a set of different prompts:.
I chose to write on a topic of my choice, which no longer exists as an option probably for good reason - kids just went all over the place. I also felt a need to be distinctive and thought that a free essay topic might give me more freedom.
The way I saw it, the personal statement was a vehicle to convey my personality and my interests. To build my Personal Narrative, I wanted to showcase my personality and reveal a bit about my life experiences.
The idea I used was to talk about my battle against the snooze alarm. Frankly this personal statement is really embarrassing. Each time I read it, I cringe a bit. I think I sound too smug and self-satisfied. But again in the interest of transparency, here goes:. I want to as well. The theme of the essay — battling an alarm clock — shows this well, in comparison to the gravitas of the typical student essay. The frank admission of a realistic lazy habit — pushing the Snooze button — served as a nice foil to my academic honors and shows that I can be down-to-earth.
So you see how the snooze button acts as a vehicle to carry these major points and a lot of details, tied together to the same theme. So overall, I believe the essay accomplishes my goals and the main points of what I wanted to convey about myself. Note that this is just one of many ways to write an essay.
It worked for me, but it may be totally inappropriate for you. Looking at it with a more seasoned perspective, some parts of it are WAY too try-hard. I try too hard to show off my breadth of knowledge in a way that seems artificial and embellishing. With just words, I could have made the essay more cohesive by keeping the same theme from beginning to end.
Some phrases really make me roll my eyes. A key principle of effective writing is to show, not say. The mention of Nietzsche is over-the-top. I mean, come on. Where in the world did fried rice come from? I could have deleted the sentence and wrapped up the essay more cleanly. I think it accomplished my major goals and showed the humorous, irreverent side of my personality well. However, it also gave the impression of a kid who thought he knew more than he did, a pseudo-sophisticate bordering on obnoxious.
I still think it was a net positive. At the end of the day, I believe the safest, surefire strategy is to develop a Spike so big that the importance of the Personal Essay pales in comparison to your achievements. You want your Personal Essay to be a supplement to your application, not the only reason you get in.
There are probably some cases where a well-rounded student writes an amazing Personal Essay and gets in through the strength of that.
Without a strong application to back it up, your mileage may vary. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. This is a really fun section. Teacher recommendations are incredibly important to your application.
The average teacher sees thousands of students through a career, and so he or she is very well equipped to position you relative to all other students. Furthermore, your teachers are experienced adults — their impressions of you are much more reliable than your impressions of yourself see my Personal Essay above. They can corroborate your entire Personal Narrative as an outside observer. The most effective recommendation letters speak both to your academic strengths and to your personality.
For the second factor, the teacher needs to have interacted with you meaningfully, ideally both in and out of class. Check out our guide on what makes for effective letters of recommendation.
Starting from sophomore year, I started thinking about whom I connected better with and chose to engage with those teachers more deeply. The minimum requirement for a good letter is someone who taught a class in which you did well. Beyond this, I had to look for teachers who would be strong advocates for me on both an academic and personal level. These tended to be teachers I vibed more strongly with, and typically these were teachers who demonstrably cared about teaching. This was made clear by their enthusiasm, how they treated students, and how much they went above expectations to help.
If you honestly like learning and are an enthusiastic, responsible, engaging student, a great recommendation letter will follow naturally. The horse should lead the cart. Read my How to Get a 4. She was my favorite teacher throughout high school for these reasons:. By the time of the letter writing, I had known her for two full years and engaged with her continuously, even when I wasn't taking a class with her in junior year.
All of this flowed down to the recommendation you see here. Remember, the horse leads the cart. The Common Application now has 16 qualities to rate, rather than the 10 here.
You can tell that the updated Common App places a great emphasis on personality. The most important point here: The more experienced and trustworthy the teacher, the more meaningful this is.
You'll see below how you can accomplish this. As you read this, think — what are the interactions that would prompt the teacher to write a recommendation like this? This was a relationship built up in a period of over 2 years, with every small interaction adding to an overall larger impression.
You can see how seriously they take the letter because of all the underlining. The letter here is very strong for a multitude of reasons. First, the length is notable — most letters are just a page long, but this is nearly two full pages , single spaced. The structure is effective: This is a perfect blend of what effective letters contain. On the micro-level, her diction and phrasing are precise and effective.
She makes my standing clear with specific statements: This letter was important to complement the overall academic performance and achievements shown on the rest of my application.
My second teacher Mrs. Swift was another favorite. Emotionally she was a reliable source of support for students. You can see right away that her remarks are terser. You might chalk this up to my not being as standout of a student in her mind, or her getting inundated with recommendation letter requests after over a decade of teaching.
Regardless, I did appreciate the 3 marks she gave me. Once again, as you read this letter, think: Overall, this letter is very strong.
She also writes with the flair of an English teacher:. These comments most support the personality aspect of my Personal Narrative — having an irreverent, bold personality and not being afraid of speaking my mind.
She stops just short of making me sound obnoxious and argumentative. An experienced teacher vouching for this adds so much more weight than just my writing it about myself.
Teacher recommendations are some of the most important components of your application. If you want detailed advice on how to interact with teachers earnestly, check out my How to Get a 4. The first piece of this is reporting your academic status and how the school works overall. So it was pretty distinctive that I got a letter from our Principal, compared to other leading applicants from my school. This was also a blessing because our counseling department was terrible. Our school had nearly 1, students per grade, and only 1 counselor per grade.
They were overworked and ornery, and because they were the gatekeepers of academic enrollment like class selection and prerequisites , this led to constant frictions in getting the classes you wanted. But the counseling department was still the worst part of our high school administration, and I could have guessed that the letters they wrote were mediocre because they just had too many students.
So how did my Principal come to write my recommendation and not those for hundreds of other students? Come senior year I might have talked to him about my difficulty in reaching counselors and asked that he write my recommendation.
Since I was a top student he was probably happy to do this. As I struggled to understand the theory of relativity, the opening of my door startled me.
No one was there. In came a dancing fool, wearing only a pair of tighty-whiteys, high socks, a vest of chest hair, and a thick coat of shaving cream covering his face except his prized mustache, of course.
It was my papa! I think it is safe to assume that no one would consider me incredibly ladylike. I usually have a calculator in one hand and my lacrosse stick in the other. During school, I sit quietly working on my latest math or science assignment. I have always been content to be a silent force, wearing blue jeans and sweatshirt. Make sure to search through profiles of students accepted to see essays, stats, and advice. See how they got in, and how you can too!
For any editorial ideas, contact info admitsee. We have some people who may have some experience with that. Letters of recommendation are important, because they give the While having five- and six-figures in student loan debt can Do you know how to evaluate your athletic abilities?
One of the first Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students. Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4. With a GPA of 4. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.
If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 4. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you. Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application. This is based on the school's average score.
In other words, a on the New SAT places you below average, while a will move you up to above average. Those who live near Harvard may want to look into tutors in Acton and elsewhere in the Boston area to strengthen their test performance.
In other words, a on the Old SAT places you below average, while a puts you well above average. This is also known as "superscoring. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit. Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was , Harvard will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore.
You can raise your composite score from to in this example. This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Harvard forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score. Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a , we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it.
You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in. Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time.
If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers.
If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements. Just like for the SAT, Harvard likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.
The average ACT score at Harvard is Even though Harvard likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 32 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application.
There are so many applicants scoring 34 and above that a 32 will look academically weak. If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.
This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 35 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can.
When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.
Top 6 Successful Harvard Essays. These college essays are from students who got accepted at Harvard exswatgd.cf them to get inspiration for your own essays and knock the socks off those admissions officers!
WHEN YOU APPLY TO Harvard, you will fill out the Common Application, the Universal College Application, or the Coalition Application (we have no preference), followed by our own supplement to help us Application Tips | Harvard College.
In this guide, I’ll show you the entire college application that got me into Harvard - page by page, word for word. In my complete analysis, I'll take you through my Common Application, Harvard supplemental application, personal statements and essays, extracurricular activities, teachers' letters of recommendation, counselor . Recent Harvard University graduate Soa Andrian used one of her childhood memories as a jumping-off point on her college admissions essay. She told the story of a visit to Antananarivo, Madagascar, where she has relatives, and .
Aug 11, · Every time a high school student views a college student’s application materials, that college student is paid a stipend by AdmitSee. AdmitSee found students whose application essays had a sad tone were more likely to be accepted to . Tips for Answering the Harvard Supplemental Essay Prompts Facebook Tweet Google+ Pin Email It will come as no surprise that Harvard consistently ranks among the top universities in the world.