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April 2, 2024


How to Write Essays That Get You into Harvard: Insights and Strategies

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Securing admission to Harvard University, one of the most elite colleges is a coveted achievement for many ambitious high school students worldwide. With its prestigious reputation, rigorous academic programs, and esteemed faculty, Harvard attracts some of the brightest and most talented individuals from around the globe. Crafting essays that stand out in the competitive college admissions process is essential for aspiring Harvard students. In this guide, we'll provide valuable insights and strategies to help you write essays for your college applications, mainly focusing on the Common Application, to increase your chances of admission to Harvard.

1. Understand Harvard's Values and Culture

Before you begin writing your essays for the Common Application, take the time to research and understand Harvard University's values, mission, and culture. Harvard seeks candidates who not only excel academically but also demonstrate qualities such as intellectual curiosity, leadership, innovation, and a commitment to service. Familiarize yourself with Harvard's academic programs, extracurricular opportunities, and campus community to tailor your essays to align with the university's ethos.

2. Be Authentic and Genuine

Harvard values authenticity and seeks genuine, self-aware, and reflective applicants in their writing. Avoid writing essays you think college admissions officers want to read and instead focus on sharing your unique experiences, perspectives, and passions. Be honest and introspective in your writing, and strive to authentically convey your personality, values, and aspirations. Admissions officers appreciate applicants who are true to themselves and can articulate their thoughts and beliefs sincerely and clearly.

3. Tell Compelling Stories

Compelling storytelling is a powerful tool for engaging readers and conveying your message effectively. Use your essays to tell compelling stories illustrating your character, resilience, growth, and achievements. Share personal anecdotes, experiences, and challenges that have shaped your identity and influenced your aspirations. Highlight moments of impact, transformation, or discovery demonstrating your introspection, empathy, and leadership capacity.

In your journey to become a part of Harvard University or other elite colleges, leveraging resources like college counseling services is essential. These services can provide personalized guidance and essay feedback, helping you refine your application essays and navigate the complexities of college admissions effectively.

4. Show Your Fit with Harvard

Demonstrate your fit with Harvard University by showcasing how your academic and extracurricular interests align with the university's offerings and values. Discuss specific academic programs, research opportunities, faculty members, or campus resources that appeal to you, and explain why they are essential to your educational and personal growth. Articulate how you envision contributing to the Harvard community and how you will take advantage of the myriad opportunities available on campus.

5. Emphasize Your Achievements and Contributions

Highlight your accomplishments achievements, and contributions throughout your essays, providing evidence of your academic excellence, leadership, creativity, and impact. Showcase awards, honors, research projects, extracurricular activities, or community service initiatives that demonstrate your initiative, dedication, and ability to make a difference. Quantify your achievements when possible and provide concrete examples of your skills, talents, and accomplishments.

6. Be Concise and Clear

Harvard has strict word limits for its application essays, so it's essential to be concise and transparent. Make every word count and avoid unnecessary filler or repetition. Be direct and to the point, focusing on conveying your message succinctly and effectively. Use precise language, logical organization, and transitional phrases to guide readers through your essays smoothly. Proofread carefully to eliminate errors and ensure your writing is polished and professional.

Moreover, when crafting your Common Application essay, remember that high school students worldwide are aiming for excellence in their college applications. Stand out by demonstrating not just your achievements but also how you've embraced learning opportunities, showcasing a well-rounded profile that elite colleges find appealing.

7. Seek Feedback and Revision

Seek essay feedback from teachers, counselors, mentors, or peers to improve your essays further. Share your drafts with trusted individuals who can provide constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. Consider their feedback carefully and revise your essays accordingly, making revisions to strengthen your arguments, clarify your points, and enhance the overall quality of your writing. Take the time to polish your essays before submitting them as part of your Harvard application.


Writing essays that stand out in the competitive admissions process at Harvard University requires careful planning, research, and reflection. By understanding Harvard's values and culture, being authentic and genuine, telling compelling stories, showing your fit with Harvard, emphasizing your achievements and contributions, being concise and clear, and seeking essay feedback and revision, you can craft essays that increase your chances of gaining admission to this prestigious institution. Please remember to start early, give yourself ample time to brainstorm, write, and revise, and approach the process quickly and determinedly. With dedication and effort, you can write essays that showcase your unique qualities and experiences and impress the admissions committee at Harvard University.