Harvard University Supplemental Essays Workshop

Ready to write and edit your supplemental essays for Harvard University? Get tips and tricks on how to stand out to Admissions Officers with CollegeAdvisor.com.

Senior Advisor and Essay Expert Chi Chan will share his insider knowledge on how to write your supplemental essays during a 60-minute webinar and Q&A session.

In this webinar, you’ll have all your questions answered, including:

– What are the Harvard supplemental essay prompts?

– When can I do to write a great supplemental essays?

– How long should I spend writing and editing my supplemental essays?

– What do Admissions Officers look for when reviewing our supplemental essays?

– How much do supplemental essays factor into admissions decisions?

Come ready to learn and bring your questions!

Date 11/17/2022
Duration 1:03:39

Webinar Transcription

2022-11-17 – Harvard University Supplemental Essays Workshop

Hi everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s, Harvard University Supplemental Essays Workshop. I’m McKenzie and I’ll be your moderator tonight. So if you have any tech issues, you can direct message me. Otherwise, leave all other questions to the Q&A tab. But, uh, to orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start up with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar.

You can download our slides and you can start to many of your questions in the Q&A tab. Now let’s meet our panel. So, hi everybody. Um, my name’s Chi, uh, he, him pronouns. So a little bit about myself. Um, I am a Senior Advisor with CollegeAdvisor. Been with the company for a little over a year and a half now.

Um, as you can see, I focus specifically within the education realm. Um, my full-time job outside of CollegeAdvisor is an education research, got my master’s degree at UPenn. Um, and I studied econ and politics during my undergrad experience at UVA. I identify as, you know, first generation students. So if there are any first gens that are attending this webinar in the room, shout out to you all.

Um, you know, know that you’re not alone and more than anything, um, excited to, you know, share more details about the Harvard supplemental. Yes. And real quick, we just wanna do, um, a pulse. So where, what grade are you currently in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th or other. And other can be if you’re a transfer student or if you’re taking a gap year.

And while we wait for those responses to roll in, she can you tell us when is the best time to start writing your essays? Yeah, really great question. So, you know, if you are currently a senior, I’ll start with that, right? It’s never too late to start writing your essays, um, especially given that we’re in the holiday season.

Um, perfect time after you have your Turkey and your stuffing to, you know, brainstorm some ideas. I’m sure everybody in the crowd is excited about that. Um, if you are right, currently a junior, um, going to be a rising senior soon this summer, um, I think the perfect time is, you know, during the summer is when you can really brainstorm right between June and August in between, you know, your junior and senior year, um, you know, jot down journal, think about some right, like ideas and also tips based on what we’re about to share with you.

Yes. And for those interested, the common application, and most applications open on August 1st, your senior year. So that’s when you’ll be able to see the, um, supplemental essays. Whereas the personal statement, you can definitely start early and you can start brainstorming most supplements because they’re pretty repetitive.

Um, , and it’s looking like we have 3% ninth graders, 15%, 10th graders, 46% 11th graders, 30% 12th graders, and 6% others. So we have a great mix and she, you can control the slides. Awesome. Well, hey, welcome everybody. Glad to see we have, like, you know, diverse range of grades with us here tonight. Um, and part of what I’ll try to do as well, right, is like, you know, engineer right?

Couple responses when we have our Q&A at the end, um, taking into consideration, right, just where everybody is in the process. So, wanted to start off by just giving some learning objectives for what to expect in our webinar tonight, right? You know, so the first piece is, you know, what are the Harvard application requirements, right?

The second piece being, you know, what do AOs. AOs being admissions officers or admissions committee. I’ll use those terms interchangeably tonight. Um, you know, what do they generally evaluate within an application? And, you know, what are the factors, right? As I’m sure we’re all here for that, make a strong supplemental essay overall.

So to start off with, right, you know, this is ultimately the pieces of the application process as a whole. And so you’ll see, right, the application itself, you can choose either the common app or the coalition app. Both of these are basically application portals that function the same. Um, you know, you have your application fee of $85 or a fee waiver, letters of recommendation.

So Harvard itself will require two academic recommendation, um, letters, and then one from your counselor, right? So the one that comes from your counselor will be required and will, they’ll automate the process with you, um, once you’re in your senior year or for our seniors, right? Like, you know, make sure that you have your letters of recommendation if you haven’t already done so and asked for them.

Your school report and your transcript. This is something that your counselor’s gonna do from their perspective. But basically your transcript, if you don’t know, is a report that lists the different classes that you’ve taken, the grades that you’ve received. Um, and depending on the school, right, some other miscellaneous details like, you know, perhaps standardized test scores as well.

So speaking of standardized tests, right? Um, you know, Harvard is one of the many universities that are still test optional, including up until, right, like, you know, for this year’s class as well. Um, so you know, if you’re thinking about taking the SAT or ACT, I would still recommend it, but know that if you are a senior for our webinar and are applying to Harvard, it is still test optional.

And then finally, um, what is known as the mid-year report, which is also something that your counselor will help support you on as well. Basically, your mid-year report is your transcript plus your first semester senior year grades. So for our seniors that are applying through the regular decision process, as you can see with the deadline of January one, you’ll be able to write, like, have your counselor submit, um, the school report, your trans.

Your mid-year report and your letter of recommendation. Um, and as you can see right deadlines, um, they don’t really change from a year to year basis sometimes, right? Like, you know, they might give you an additional week depending. So this year, for example, because of, you know, uh, the hurricane in Florida schools such as Cornell and University of Florida gave additional time.

But know that usually November 1st and January 1st are the Harvard deadlines. And so one piece to take a note into as well, right? Within the application process as a whole, we’ll be chatting about the essays primarily, but also know, certainly, right, your transcripts as well as other components of your application are viewed equally within the application evaluation piece, um, itself.

So let’s take a deep dive, right, um, into just some of the supplemental questions as a whole. So within the first one, right, like, you know, they ask the question of academic learning. So, you know, I’m not gonna necessarily repeat the prompt itself. As you can see, it’s rather lengthy. What I’ve done for you all is the red text that’s in the middle of this prompt is basically asking the question of right, how to tackle it, right?

Harvard’s wanting to know, um, within their supplemental essays, different components of who you are, right? How you think, what you’ve learned, details that really make you stand out, um, from your experiences, right? And your own identity. So it starts with your intellectual curiosity and interest, right? You know, it’s really asking what are some things that you, you know, have participated in that maybe you haven’t listed elsewhere.

So, as mentions, right, training, online courses, schoolwork, if you’re someone who’s, you know, dabbled a little bit into the online course world, this is, you know, your time to shine and being able to talk a little bit about the different works that you’ve done. Um, if you’re familiar with what’s known as a passion project, right?

Where you’re able to explore a particular, like, you know, subject field or topic and owning, right? The process of describing maybe creating a website or being able to lead, right? A particular academic based project, this is also right. Your opportunity to be able to write a little bit about that. Three bullet points that I think are really valuable when it comes to this particular essay.

The first one, right, is really not just listing in particular what activities or which activities that maybe you haven’t talked about prior in this application, but really sharing why they’re meaningful to you, right? You know, if you’ve been able to have the opportunity, right, to do a training experience, not only listing it itself, but also sharing really, right?

What did you learn from this experience? You know, how have you grown or have there been any new skills that you’ve been able to develop since you have taken right, a part of this experience or initiative? You know, really the question overall that it’s asking is right, like, you know, what were moments where you learned something new and something new could be about yourself.

It could be about the topic that you’re studying. It could be right, just, you know, when you’re out there, um, participating what was right, the idea or the topic that really captivated you. Um, In terms of structure overall too, bullet point style, right? Where you just sort of list the different pieces and then elaborate into there, or if you wanna write it in a traditional essay format.

For me personally, I’ve advised students that have tackled it both ways. It really is just up to your preference, the long run, right? And the most important value is being able to share, right? Why it’s most meaningful. Um, ultimately at the end of the day for this prompt, and as you can see, it’s only 150 words, so much of it is really just gonna be succinct, right?

You know, make sure that when you’re listing these activities, make it ones that are truly impactful or right. Experiences where you’ve grown the most, um, outside of the classroom.

Yes, and real quick, you can find this, um, specific supplement by going on the, and this is on the common app format, but you’ll be able to find it by going to my colleges, then going to Harvard University. If you’ve al so long as you’ve already added Harvard to your list of colleges on the common app. And then you go to the question section under the Harvard section, then go to academics, which you can see in the little blue tab right here.

It’s a little bit blurry. If you download the slides, you can see it to be clearer. Uh, and then go to academic. Um, and then you’ll be able to find the academic learning, uh, question at the very bottom of the tab. Uh, you can take it away. Yeah. And so, yeah, part of this process, right, is we’ll also be showing you, um, sometimes it can be tricky to navigate the common app itself, the whole portal.

So certainly like, you know, once we reach the Q&A session of our webinar, if you have any, you know, non like technical questions, but just, you know, questions related to where to find this information, please do know that we have these slides ready for you as well. So the second one, um, it’s, you know, it’s funny because, uh, this is a type of essay that you’ll often find in a lot of numbers of different universities, right?

As McKenzie alluded to before. Um, sometimes admissions offices aren’t the most unique or creative, right? When designing their supplemental essay prompts. This one in particular is really asking you to elaborate on one particular activity, right? Or work experience. So think about right, a couple different approaches that you can go about it.

And again, because it’s a one 50 words, you. What is an activity, right, that you are really craving to talk more about that maybe you weren’t able to from your activities list. Right? So for our folks in the crowd that are, you know, um, underclassmen rights, freshman, sophomores, juniors, um, part of the application process in addition to your essays and your academics right, is an activities list where you’re able to incorporate, right?

Just a number of the different extracurriculars, clubs, internships, work experiences that you’ve done. Um, and they give you an opportunity to share that as part of your application, right? Harvard, as well as a number of other schools are gonna weigh it just as equally, um, you know, if not right, of similar magnitude compared to what you’re writing.

So certainly something to keep in mind as well. But you know, in this case, right? If there was one that you listed from your activities list that you really just wanted to talk more about, this is your, you know, your time to shine, right? And that space to do so. As you’re writing this particular, like, you know, whichever one you’re talking about, focus it around your growth.

Right? And not necessarily about the prestige of the activity itself. And what I mean by that is like, you know, if you work a part-time job, right, at a fast food establishment, there’s nothing wrong with writing your essay on that compared to, right. If you attended, I don’t know, like a state level, right?

Like debate team competition, as long as you’re able to communicate right? How this experience has really been able to showcase, right, how you’ve grown or what you’ve learned when they talk about elaborating your extracurricular activity. Right? I do want to mention that, you know, it’s not from a literal sense of saying, you know, these are my responsibilities.

You know, these are the details. It’s more about you. What is it right that was meaningful from this experience? You’ll, you’ll tend to notice, right, this running trend that I’ve talked about, being personal, right? Being reflective in your experiences. It’s the same case here. Focus it on your growth. Um, the most impactful essays are where you can really tell someone, right?

And you can show. Someone who’s reading your application, just a different part about you that they otherwise would not have seen before. Right. Reading your application, rather than necessarily saying, you know, this is a big level. Right. Or, you know, this is a prestigious organization, but not really be able to elaborate why it was meaningful to you.

Right. And that being said, like, you know, if, if you’ve been a part of really phenomenal Right, like work experiences, definitely, you know, write about that too if you’re able to connect it back to you. But that’s just sort of like a general tip that I always have. Right. And the last piece is, you know, don’t feel that you have to connect this back to Harvard.

Um, one common right error that I’ve seen in a lot of applicants so far that have applied to Harvard is, you know, they really want to connect this back into, you know, what you wanna do at Harvard specifically with this activity. When it comes to prompts, you know, take it sort of right, like at face value.

If it’s not asking you to connect this back to what your future goals are, extracurricular wise, don’t feel like you have to right. Focus in on just, you know, what have you done, why is it important to you, and how have you grown, um, since then. And so I’ll turn it back to McKenzie. Yeah, so, um, the extra, you can find this by going again to Common App and then my colleges Harvard.

Uh, and then you go to the question section again and it’s under activities. And, um, usually the activity section will show a little check mark even if you don’t fill out, because the section is optional technically. Um, and you can add up to five activities and you’ll be able to explain them in the little text box right here where you can see circled.

And instead of having 150 characters like you do in the activities list section under um, common app, uh, you’ll be able to, um, explain it in 150 words, which is a whole lot more. Space, um, to really explain those finer details. And since we are onto that, um, and again, you can download the slide from link, the handouts tab if you would like to, um, look at this information again.

But real quick, we’re gonna do another pulse. So where are you in the application process having started? I’m researching schools, I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together. Or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done. And when we wait for that, she can you tell us how long does it take to complete the supplements for Harvard and how long should a student spend writing it and editing their supplements?

Yeah, really great question again. Um, so I personally would say, right, like, you know, and I know it might not be the most clear answer, when you feel that you’ve been able to communicate right, something new about yourself that you know. You haven’t listed in your application yet, that’s where, right, I would tell all of my students that I currently coach and my past ones as well.

That’s when it truly feels finished within your essay. Right? So there’s two parts that go into making a really great supplemental essay. Um, and I know that this isn’t an explicit time-based message, right? But you know, for some it might be brainstorming and really thinking reflectively about what is that topic or what is that story, right, that you want to share to the reader.

Others, it might come a little bit easier, right? But the two different parts is, one, thinking about the content, right? What is that message that you want to share? Right? What you know, aka what have you grown? Or how have you grown, right? What have you learned once you figure that? At that point, it’s really just structuring it so that you know it flows well.

The grammar’s there. Um, I’ve had students write when the past, when they tackle the Harvard essays, they get them done in like two weeks. I’ve had other ones write that might sometimes like, you know, take a little bit longer. Um, and it’s truly just feeling and making sure that your message that you wanna convey to the reader is substantial and personal, right?

Mm-hmm. , so it’s looking like we have 22% haven’t started. 38% are researching schools, 22% are working on their essays. 11% are getting their application materials together and 7% are almost done, and you can control the slide. Awesome. So let’s talk about Harvard’s optional essay, right? This is what makes it a little bit more unique to Harvard.

Um, let’s be honest here, right? They’re one of the schools where admittedly, the reputation might proceed itself a little bit. So they’re not going to be asking, right, like, you know, a why Harvard essay. It’s gonna be, as you can tell, right? The academic question was much more about, you know, what’s something you haven’t shared already?

The extracurricular question, right? Is, you know, elaborate, right? More about something that you’ve shared and maybe haven’t shared this optional essay. As you can see by the 10 different bullet points here, you get the freedom to choose, right? Really just what particular idea you want to convey with. Um, and ultimately, even though it’s optional, just to sort of answer that question in advance, yes, you a hundred percent should tackle this one, right?

And part of that reason is, you know, with the Harvard application, , all of its supplemental essays are basically how you can interpret as opportunities, right? For you to share more about your profile, right? So again, your interest, you know, what makes you stand out, what are right, like personal passions that you have.

Um, and as you can see, right, you know, you can never go wrong with whichever direction that you go. So given that there’s a number of different prompts, I’m just gonna basically run over, um, you know, what these particular prompts are asking for, right? And, you know, should you go for this one versus should you not go for this one.

Um, well actually, first off, McKenzie, to you, in terms of where to find this ? Yes. So again, going to Harvard, um, Yeah, my college is Harvard. Uh, and then you will go into under writing supplement instead of under the application portion. And then, then you’ll be able to go to questions and you’ll be able to find the long list of options you have to write.

And then you’ll also need to, um, pick the prompt that you are responding to and then you’ll need to click upload and you’ll be able to upload a document of this essay. So one piece that is, you know, more unique to Harvard, right, is that, um, so unlike the first two essays where you can, you know, copy, paste or write directly into text box, this one is asking you to just directly upload, right?

So, you know where document pdf I would personally err on the side of PDF if available. Um, but just know, right? Regardless, you know, they’re gonna be asking for more of an update, uh, uploaded format. I. So when talking about the particular right, um, optional essay prompts as a whole, what you’ll see here is that those in the red asterisk slash red bullet point, basically these prompts in particular are ones where I would encourage you to actually tie it back to Harvard or reference right.

Specific Harvard examples, um, that you find to be right fitting if applicable. The other prompts, if you don’t see a red bullet point or an asterisk at the end of them, um, you know, I would suggest right? Gearing them more towards you personally, right? Or, you know, not having to necessarily write, focus it on tying it back to Harvard.

Um, so the first particular one is, you know, unusual circumstances. I think, like, you know, if you’ve been an applicant, right, that have perhaps a non-traditional pathway, right? Like, you know, if you’ve taken outside of the other parts of your common application, right? Say for example, if you’ve taken a gap year, if you’ve taken a break in general from school, if right.

Say for example, um, you can interpret unusual circumstances really broadly here. So I think, right, if you’ve had an experience where truly right, like you can say life altering, absolutely. Think about using this prompt as an opportunity to share more about how you’ve grown from set experience, right?

Travel, living or working, um, you know, in your own or other communities. If you’re someone who’s really like, you know, just has this rich history of being involved in community service, if you’ve traveled a lot, right? Like, you know, if you’ve maybe done, um, half year study abroad, perhaps right? Or living abroad, or even just, you know, have explored a lot of different places, um, throughout your childhood.

This would be a great prompt where, you know, it’s not necessarily just talking about the places that you’ve been or the communities, right, that you’ve lived and supported, but also making sure, right, that again, it’s all about what is it, right? Why are, why is this important to you? You know, what does it mean for you to be well traveled?

Or what does it mean, right, that you are able to help support and work within this community? Um, the third prompt, one of my personal favorites, you know, what you would want your future college roommate to know about you? So this prompt, right? How Harvard, uh, really engineers it is more of a letter format.

So, you know, think about it as if right, like you had a pen pal, or if you were legitimately, you know, writing a note to someone. Um, Think about it in the perspective of your roommate, right? Like, you know, what would you want to write to your roommate if you were given the opportunity to, you know, share something about yourself to them.

This is probably like the most casual that you can ever get in your prompt, right? Like, you know, if you use a lot of like, you know, colloquial language, like, you know, define it, but like this is the space for it, right? If you have a lot of just different passions, if you wanna talk about right. How you organize your room and everything, um, this is a really fun prompt that you can also tie back into Harvard, right?

Referencing, you know, just if there’s something on Harvard’s campus that you would love to bring your roommate to with, right? Great place to talk about it here. Um, the fourth one being an intellectual experience that has meant the most to you. So, you know, if you’re someone who has done research in the past, right?

Are doing research, um, you know, if you’ve published before, right? If you’re working on particular, say for example, right? Like, you know, if you’re taking, um, AP research or AP seminar and you’re working on a really particularly engaging project that you know, maybe you didn’t get the chance to share elsewhere in your application, guess what?

This is the space for you, right? Um, talk about how you’ve been able, right, to make this the most out of just your overall experience so far. What you’ve grown from it, what the topic is in itself. Um, really this prompt is shifting and, and focusing a lot about just intellectual inquiry, right? Like, you know, how do you display your curiosity?

Why is this topic important to you? You know, what have you grown the most from out of this experience? The, the fifth one, you know, how you hope to use your college education. Um, you can tie a little bit back into Harvard here, right? This is about as close as you’ll get, like, you know, by 50% to a why Harvard essay.

Um, the prompt really is focusing though a lot more on, you know, from your experience, right? Like, you know, if you are to attend Harvard or through your college education, what are the goals that you’re hoping to achieve after you graduate? Right? So, you know, potentially you can reference in, um, you know, just what is it that you want to explore during your time as a student, but really focus your essay around, right?

What do you hope to do? What are your goals after college? Um, and then the last one, at least for this page right, is like, you know, a list of books that you’ve read during the last 12 months. Again, they say it’s a list. You know what I would say is, as you’re right, marking the different books, I would actually also incorporate a sentence or two about why each book was meaningful to you.

Right? The really beautiful part about this particular Harvard, right, like optional, we’ll say like supplemental essay, is that they don’t necessarily have a strict word limit. Um, so to answer that in advance, right? I don’t know if that was a question that was proposed, but, um, you know, to answer that in advance, my sort of right strategy is I wouldn’t exceed over 650 words.

So 650 words is the word limit for the personal statement or otherwise known as the common app, like general essay. I wouldn’t really exceed that because you know, for the most, You’re gonna be able to tell a compelling, not only a compelling story, right, but get your message across, you know, use the space that you need.

But also I would personally write hard cap it around that range. But you know, definitely share more. Were applicable for you. Right. Uh, I just wanna interject. So, um, there again, there isn’t that word count, but there is a document or a file size limit of 2000 kilobytes, and that is about, um, 500 to 600 words.

So there kind of is a word count, but you just wanna make sure your document size is below that 2000 limit. Yeah. One, one way to, to prevent hitting that is like, you know, um, if you’re someone who likes to space out, write your document a lot, um, condensing it a little bit more, you know, could be helpful.

But yeah, really great point. McKenzie, . So a couple of the other ones here, these ones are a little bit more, we’ll say like more dense right? To sort of. Interpret, um, basically for the Harvard College Honor code prompt here, right? If you wanted to approach this particular prompt, it’s asking, you know, to reflect about a time, right?

Where you had to make a choice about whether to act with integrity or honesty. Um, so when it talks about honor code, it’s really right referencing what are experiences where, you know, you’ve told the truth, right? Where you hold yourself accountable. Accountability is really the forefront and central if you would like to tackle this particular prompt.

So say for example, right, like, you know, if you’ve had a situation where, right, you’ve made a mistake, um, minor or major, you’ve owned up to it, right? You’ve learned the importance of holding yourself and others to, right. Keeping that standard. This could be a great opportunity where you could approach this pro prompt right?

To, to share that experience. Um, you know, when you’ve been able to act with integrity and honesty, um, they want to see people of character, right? And so, you know, what are some of the values that you hold closely? Um, you know, what does that accountability look like? That’s where I would, you know, certainly take a peek at this one.

Um, the second prompt for this page, right, again, with the asterisk and in red, you know, it’s talking about the mission of Harvard College, right? Mm-hmm. , um, as you know, it’s really just being able to educate citizen leaders, um, and, you know, being able to contribute, right? To advancing this mission. Couple things to start off with, with this prompt, right, is, you know, the first one is if you google Harvard University mission statement, you know, you’ll be able to find it, right?

We’re not necessarily gonna talk about it, you know, in, in extend here tonight, but know that if you search through the mission statement, right, it’s really gonna be focusing in on that sort of citizen leadership style. And so really the question is asking right from your own perspective, right? As a leader, and as you know, again, very much focused on your values, how do you see yourself really contributing, right?

Your values to, again, holding others right to that high standard. What do you want to contribute more from a mission based or a values based perspective, right? So values could be, you know, being dependable. It could, right? Like, you know, also again, you know, being responsible, um, holding yourself accountable.

You know, what are traits and strengths that you see within yourself? And if you feel that you’re able to really own right the pieces, um, of your identity that are to your strengths, then I think this could be a really great prompt for you to tackle as well. And the last piece, um, you know, in terms of the different prompt options, right?

So the first one is asking about just, you know, for students who decide to take a bridge year or a gap year, um, you know, if you were to take a year off, right, what would you want to do? Um, one thing that I do want to sort of, um, clarify here, this isn’t necessarily saying, you know, if you are a current right bridge year or gap year student to tackle this essay, this is asking if you had the option to do this when you’re at Harvard.

What would you decide to do? So, you know, anybody, um, can answer this question. If you have your eyes set on, like, you know, maybe take a year off to really be able to focus on family, maybe take a year off to pursue your own passion, right? Um, if there’s anybody who’s a master chef, uh, you know, , like watcher out there as much as me, um, whether they’re finalist, right?

Nick Digi Giovanni, you took a year off, um, from Harvard to be on Master Chef. So I’m not saying, you know, maybe, maybe you might be a future nick out there, right? But if you’re planning on taking right, perhaps some time off during college, you know, what would your strategy or what would your goals set out to be, right?

I think this is a really great opportunity where if you have sort of right, like a path for it or a plan moving forward, um, this is a great spot to be able to elaborate that for your admissions officers. Last prompt is, this is more of sort of like, Just more of an inclusive direction. Um, if you just sort of have right, like distinctive aspects about your background, um, or intellectual interests that you feel would help contribute to the Harvard community, right?

This is your place to share it. You can almost think about this right? As like, you know, almost like a tell me anything else about yourself that maybe wasn’t reflected right anywhere else in this application. Um, you’ve, you’ve really been able to tell the running theme, right? It’s all about what is right, what are details outside of what you’ve already submitted in write your personal statement activities, list, maybe what your letters of recommended, you know, what your recommenders have written in your letter.

What else about you right? Is distinctive. What else about you do you take pride in? You know, if you’re, again, for me, when I introduce myself, right? If you’re a first generation student and you wanna talk about that, you know, as your background in this. Talk about your identity here, right? If you, if you, you know, so wish to, if you have specific, right, personal development.

So like, you know, if you’ve taken a lot of classes that have really like, you know, given you a lot of right, a toolkit of your strengths and your values, also a really great opportunity, um, to be able to do so here as well. So lots of options as you can, you know, sort of see that you’re really able to pick and choose from.

But I would say, right, like, you know, in terms of deciding which one might be the best fit for you, I would really just take a swing, right? And see like, you know, based on from write my comments to each prompt. Um, and you know, perhaps if you’re out there thinking about, right, like, oh, does this fit me? Uh, you know, I definitely know this doesn’t fit me.

Um, choose the ones, right. I would say pick one or two that you feel best suits you, and then just sort of take a swing at it, right? Like, you know, how has it helped you grown? You know, is there something you haven’t already mentioned that’s relevant for this prompt? That’s where I would really take this prompt in particular, um, as your first draft when you’re diving into it.

And so a couple essay writing tips, right? I know some sort of jumping the gun at the end of the last slide as well. Really two major essay writing tips, right? That I want to share what the audience here tonight. Um, and this, so this is coming from a culmination, right? I know I didn’t share this necessarily in my work ex in my work experience, but, you know, part of my experience has been reading for three cycles as an admissions reader for Yale University and Yale and US College.

Um, in addition to my work with CollegeAdvisor, right? Coaching my students. Have read thousands of essays, right? Whether it’s personal statement or supplemental essay. Really, it’s two big things that I’ve summarized that I would say as you’re writing to really think about, right? So the first one is focus on the big picture.

You know, I’ve tend to notice that a lot of my students this year have really been sort of like, you know, lack of a better term, right? Hooked on what you know, how to create a great hook. It’s great to think about how you wanna draw the reader’s attention, but don’t get stuck on just rewriting the first paragraph repeatedly, right?

Take a swing at everything, you know, outline the structure that you wanna go about. Think about that personal and that takeaway message that I talked about from before, right? A great essay keeps the reader engaged, right? So, you know, don’t necessarily, you know, pigeonhole into just thinking about, right, like that hook or that first starting paragraph.

And on that note, you know, essays take more than one draft, right? Don’t be afraid to just sort of word vomit or like stream of consciousness writing. You know, if you have an idea and you think it’s a good one. For me. Right? Even for my students, I’m always like, don’t think about the word limit. Right?

Don’t think about like, you know, anything holding you back. I just wanna see right. What you got from me. Um, my advice to all my students is like, you know, I can’t review what I don’t see. And so, you know, definitely if you have an idea, right? Even if it’s like 300 words for a 150, write it out. Take a swing at it, see where it gets to you, then come back, right?

And summarize and think about, okay, I like this more. Or, you know, maybe I don’t have to keep this for the next draft. The second piece, right? And it’s, I know it might sound a little intuitive, but the personal voice, right? In your essay, it comes from you, right? Not from the institution. And what I mean by that is like, you know, oftentimes I’ve read essays, whether it’s, you know, personal statement or supplemental essay where I often find like, you know, the, the writer is in the third person.

So it’s like, you know, he, she, they, right? Harvard College, Harvard University. But I wanna read about you, right? Like, you know, I felt this, I did this, my values, my responsibility, right? When you’re rereading your essay, if you see that it’s been two sentences, right? No matter how short or long, and you haven’t written in first person, then you know that the essay’s not personal enough, right?

You wanna give yourself the attention because this is right. Your application is about you. It’s about your strengths. It’s about what makes you, you make sure that you don’t forget that, right? As you’re going through. . And you know, in terms of, right, for these particular supplements, think about how Harvard aligns to your interest, right?

Not exclusively what you want to contribute. And so what I mean by that is like, you know, I know oftentimes it’s when we think about, right, for the academic essay, like, you know, do we have to tie this back into Harvard, right? Like, you know how I want to study an XYZ program or major or you know, in the optional essay, right?

Like, you know, all the things I’m excited to contribute to Harvard. Remember that it’s all about, right? When you think about at the end of the day, your experience, you know, this is your journey, right? Think about what it is that Harvard has that aligns to the goals that you want to achieve, right? You want to go to a school that’s you.

Not just prestigious, right? But like, you know, I’m talking, do you want to involve, you know, involve yourself in a lot of research? Do you want a school that’s like, you know, in New England, right? Do you want a school that has a small right, really intimate residential community? Think about these qualities first, and then tie in how Harvard aligns to what you’re looking for, right?

And not necessarily the other way around, where it’s more about just describing, you know, what Harvard has, because the AOs right? The admissions officers, they’ll have an idea of what, you know, they know what Harvard’s good at, right? Like, you know, they, they know their stuff. So make sure that it’s focused, um, the perspective is focused on you in particular.

Yes. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful. And remember, again that you can download the slide from the link in the handouts tab. And this webinar is being recorded. If you would like to view it again later, it should be uploaded by tomorrow on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com/webinars.

You can find this information in the public chat where I’ve listed some different, uh, tidbits of information as well as some links to Harvard’s website where they go into more detail about what they’re looking for, um, what parts of the applications. Four. Uh, and then just how to complete the overall application for Harvard.

Um, but moving on to the live Q&A, I’ll read your questions you submitted in the Q&A tab and read them aloud before our panelist gives you an answer. As a heads up, if your Q&A tab isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the, um, custom link sent to your email and not from the webinar landing page, also known as the website, or else you won’t get all of the, um, features of big markers.

So just make sure you join through that custom link now onto the Q&A. So our first question we’re gonna ask a student is asking should the essays usually relate back to your major? Yeah, really great question. Um, so in terms of, I’ll answer this for both Harvard specifically, but also just, you know, essays in general, right?

So for the Harvard ones, um, you know, they’ll ask their academic learning question as I mentioned before, like, you know, right? Like what have been intellectual curiosities or perspectives that you had? I wouldn’t necessarily say you have to ever relate it back to your major, right? When it comes specifically to the Harvard supplements.

You know, like I mentioned, it’s really a school, right? That, you know, kind of precedes its reputation. They kind of wanna just know more about who you are as a person, right? That’s the goal for at least like, you know, through this admissions office, it’s wanting to learn, right? More than just the statistics next to you, your application, more than just the list of accolades that you have.

You know, how do you think and perceive about the world, right? That’s really what they’re looking for. Um, essays as a whole, right? Uh, when it comes to supplementals, or for your personal statement, I’m always of the philosophy of, you know, you never have to feel obligated to talk about your major or your academic interests unless if the essay is asking for it, right?

So, like, you know, if it’s an academic interest essay or you know, why major, you know, definitely right? But say for example, if it’s for your common app essay or if it’s for, you know, right. A why particular college essay. You don’t have to feel that you need to necessarily reference it unless, right. If it’s something where you’ve shown that you’ve grown.

Right. So say for example, like, you know, if you’re, um, an aspiring computer science major, right? You’ve done a project where you’ve really grown and learned more about yourself and the process at the end. Yeah. You can talk about how, because of this project, right, and because of how much I’ve learned, this is why I wanna study CS, but I’d won’t necessarily, you know, force it into the topic of an essay if it’s not asking.

Uh, going on to the next question, another student is asking, uh, well, I can take this real quick. Um, the resume and project posters, you can upload those under. Um, if you’re applying to like an arts major, there is a section in the common app, uh, under Harvard’s thing that says, do you wanna upload a supplemental, like an art piece or a PDF or a video of your stuff.

So you can do that in terms of the resume. There is not a section for Harvard’s application specifically for your resume, but you can like, upload more information through the activity section like we listed. Other applications may have a space for you there, but going onto the next question, another student’s asking, is it okay, um, to make a prompt of your own for the essay?

Or is it better to choose from your, um, from the prompts? And there is a make your own prompt, um, Yeah, really great question. Um, so what I would say right is, you know, if you have a particular right, like question that you want to answer, right? That, you know, maybe it’s not listed on there, right? As you, as you mentioned, I say go for it, right?

In terms of weighing, like what’s more important, no one question, right? Is more, you know, of a greater magnitude than the others, right? When they put it out. The optional essay discussion question. Um, the most valuable piece, right? Again, regardless of which prompt you choose or if you wanna throw your own in there, is being able to write, to share a story about yourself, you know, All they really want to care about is right.

How are you demonstrating your curiosity? What have you learned about yourself, right? Or perhaps the people that you’ve worked with in this process. Um, you know, and what it is, right? Sometimes that, you know, you want to demonstrate about you to the admissions officers themselves, right? So it’s not necessarily which is the best prompt, I would say.

It’s really more of, and you know, from my right, um, interpretations of just the different questions. It’s more about right, which do you feel gives you the best shot at sharing more about who you are? So, you know, if that means that none of the prompts there were really a good fit, then yeah, take a swing at your own.

Yes. Uh, also, please don’t vote on your questions. It disrupts the order of the, um, Q&A tab. Uh, but moving on to the next question a student asked, is it right for, uh, is it all right for something mentioned in your personal statement to be mentioned again in the supplemental essays? Or should each essay talk about an entirely different concept aspect of yourself?

That’s a phenomenal question. So kudos right to, to whoever asked that. Um, so I would say for the most, Your application as a whole, right? So each specific indicator, so you know, an AO is gonna read through, write your transcript, your classes that you’ve taken. They’ll see the, you know, kind of on paper, right?

Academic side, they’re gonna see your activities list, right? You know, just what do you do in your spare time, right? What are the extracurricular involvements that you’ve had? What are the accolades that you’ve received, right? The read your personal statement, they’ll read your supplemental essays after, and then they’ll read your letters of recommendation, right?

Um, not every school does this most, you know, most of them, this is how the process works. Um, just as an fyi. So by the point they reach your supplemental essays, right? They’ll get a firm clients like, you know, clients into just a number of the different activities that you do. I would say, you know, if you can, right, make each essay unique, right?

Don’t reference something that you’ve already shared in your personal statement. Um, like, you know, this is a moment where you kind of wanna avoid, right? That continuation. Because again, you wanna just be able to tell, right, what are the many, many dimensions of who you are, the great things that you’ve done, right?

What you’re fascinated by. Um, if your personal statement, and, and again, I say this because I, you know, I have some students that I’ve been coaching that are doing this, right? And that’s not a bad thing if your personal statement is focusing, right? The examples themselves about activities that you’re already involved in, that maybe you’ve listed on your activities list, then I would say for your supplemental essays, right?

Again, if you feel that it’s a really impactful experience, right? Like, you know, if National Honor Society, um, and again, this is just very broad example, if you’ve not only Right. Founded a completely, right, I don’t know, like new community service branch of it, you know, and you feel that that is very distinctive from just what you’ve listed right?

In the activities list, then I would say absolutely right? Um, as long as you’re showing something new about yourself. Uh, going on to the next question. Oh, yeah. And also for my supplements for Cornell, this is a bit different, but for my personal statement, I wrote about my interest in access to education, whereas in my supplements, it was a why Cornell question, which is a bit different, but I did focus more on like my career interest and medicine and my interest in healthcare and women’s health.

Um, so I was able to show different facets of myself and really expand. And then in that personal statement, when talking about educational access, I was expanding on an activity that I had on my activities list. So I was able to, um, clarify more of what the impact was and really ha use that word count to go, um, beyond just saying like, what the stats or like just a basic description of that, um, club that I started.

Uh, going on to the next question, a student’s asking to clarify should the activities and academic, um, 150 word questions be answered in a bullet point or essay format? Yeah, great question. Um, so in terms of, right, like the academic one, um, I would say, you know, pick whichever you feel is more suitable, right?

So like, you know, if you want to write it more in a bullet point format because you know, they, they do say right list. The different, um, write like pursuits or initiatives that you’ve had. If you want to write it more in sort of like a list format, you can just remember that when you’re writing in a list, you know, don’t keep it to just write like, you know, xyz, right?

Like project or XYZ work experience. Make sure to also elaborate at least within like, you know, a sentence, right? So, you know, it could be XYZ organization, colon. I did, you know, blah, blah, blah, responsibility. Right? Um, if you wanna write it in a traditional, you know, traditional essay format, that also works.

Um, too, there’s not really, you know, again, it’s not really one favored over the other. It’s more of just, you know, how do you communicate, right? Your perspective, um, about, you know, all the things that you’ve done for the activities. One, I would keep it to probably more of a traditional, um, essay sense, because they’re, you know, the question isn’t necessarily asking for a list.

Um, it’s really just asking for one. So be able to write, like, share an anecdote or share how you’ve grown. Um, for the particular experience. Mm-hmm. , uh, students asking how many supplemental essays there are, and then we’ll get onto like the, whether or not the optional, but there technically is only one because it’s like the optional supplemental.

And then you have the activities section where you can expand on activities, which isn’t technically a supplement, but it can be called that. Uh, and then the, um, academic learning essay is, Similar, uh, it is a supplement and it isn’t. It’s, it’s weird how it’s. Sort of jumbled, but there are technically, I guess two supplements and then the activities, uh, section where you can expand, if that makes sense.

Yeah. From, from a strict interpretation of that. Right? So if you go into Harvard’s, like, you know, if you’re on the common app, right, and you go into their specific college tab, what you’ll see is that like, you know, if you go to the supplemental essay questions or just like, you know, the writing tab, it’s only gonna give you right the choose your own optional prompt.

But when you go into, right, like, you know, just the, the part where you fill in, like, you know, what’s your major, right? What are the, the specific questions that they’re asking? That’s where you’ll find the short 150 word prompts as well. So we’re, we’re being inclusive by including them right as supplements because they are required questions before you submit the application.

Um, but just know that technically speaking, right, uh, under the writing tab, very strictly it’s just the one. But like, you know, you do have to, uh, write the, the first two. . Uh, going on to the next question, will, um, doing the optional essay give you an edge in the application and on the opposite end, will not doing it, um, be, uh, at will you be at a disadvantage?

Great question. Um, so in terms of interpreting, right, like advantage versus disadvantage, um, part of right, the application process as a whole is being able to, right, like, again, share just the multidimensional parts about your interests, who you are, how you’ve grown, et cetera. So, if you feel that like, you know, you’ve gotten an opportunity to truly like, you know, Tell everything that you’ve wanted to tell about yourself right then, you know, you can leave the optional essay as optional.

Um, that would be the only rare instance where I would say like, you know, don’t tackle it. Right? Not because you know, you’re running outta time because it’s New Year’s Eve . Um, I would certainly say, right, like, you know, it’s not gonna be right. The AO sees, oh, they’ve done all the essays. They automatically get a leg up.

It’s more of, you know, they’ve done the essays, which means that they’ve shown the effort as well, right. In not just doing the bare minimum, that is an indicator right, of you displaying your interest in really wanting to take this process seriously. So, you know, I, I, you know, long, long story short answer is technically yes, you.

I wouldn’t say it’s an advantage in the fact that it raises your chances of admission, but it’s more of, you know, you get to share more about who you are. Right. And the AO also gets to understand that again, like, you know, you aren’t just doing the bare minimum, you’re putting your, you know, you’re putting yourself out there, you’re sharing more about yourself and you know, you’re doing everything that you can to really demonstrate that to the admissions committee.

Mm-hmm. going on to the next question. What benefit is the activities, uh, essay? If you already talked about the activity in your activity section and adding onto that as student is asking, does the extracurricular activity supplemental have to be an activity already listed on the comment app, or can it be an activity you have not mentioned at.

Really great questions. Um, I’ll tackle one at a time, right? So the first piece is that the purpose behind it is like, you know, um, just to share a little bit of context, like for, for the seniors in the room, you might have already tackled the activities list and know how painstaking it is. The activities list itself, it gives you 150 characters to describe each activity that you wanna list, right?

So you can list up to 10 and you can describe it in up to 150 characters, right? So to put some perspective, like before Twitter, like expanded your tweet count, like the original tweet count of one 40, like think about writing everything you’ve ever done, right? for, you know, a particular club in a tweet.

Um, it can be kind of frustrating, right? As you can see. So this essay is giving you an opportunity where you know, if you’ve had something right, like, you know, if you found in a club and you’ve done a lot to really like raise it from ground up and you know, it’s a really big pride point for. Share that, right?

This is your opportunity to deep dive into why it’s so meaningful, um, and to not have to feel as constrained right. By just how brief the activities list is. And to the second question as well, or, you know, part two of that, um, I would say that like, you know, for a number of different students, right? Like, you know, if you have more than 10 activities that you’ve done throughout high school, but you didn’t get the chance to share all of them, um, and say for example, right?

Like, you know, if it’s, I don’t know, like number 12, right? That didn’t make it, but you still wanna talk a little bit more about it. Yeah, sure. You know, definitely write your essay around that one. Um, you know, the AOs themselves aren’t gonna be, you know, cross-referencing, oh, like they’re talking about this, but it wasn’t in their activities list.

I would just approach it from the perspective of the right, if you are sharing about something that you didn’t list in your activities, um, you. Think about is it really that meaningful, right? That either you left it out of the activities list or is it that meaningful that you’re writing an essay about it, but like, you know, could another activity, right?

Possibly have been more impactful that you could be spending time on. Um, and again, ultimately, you know, it’s not gonna disadvantage you if you write one that’s outside the 10. Um, but that’s just something that I would think about. Mm-hmm. , uh, and if she, if there are any questions you see in the chat that you would like to get to, please feel free to like stop me and read them aloud.

Um, but a student is asking, I feel that a lot of applicants have similar accomplishments and activities. What is the best way to stand out in the application? Really great question. Um, like, you know, if you go to a really competitive high school, if you, you know, want to do a major, that’s really common, right?

I think I’ve thrown around National honor society like a couple times this webinar. Um, it’s kind of my scapegoat when it comes to involvements, right? Not that that’s a bad thing if you have it on there, right? So tying that example into how you can stand out, right? If you right. Have a similar background to write some of your peers that are applying to also like similar schools.

Again, the focus of the application process as a whole really is all about, right? It’s not necessarily. How prestigious right. Your involvements have been. It’s not necessarily about how impactful, right? Like, you know, you’ve placed it in the school or the community. It’s about how well you can sell yourself, right?

And you know, the skills that you’ve learned, who you are, um, how you distinguish yourself is really and truly thinking, right? Like, what are your strengths when it comes to these particular involvements that you’ve had, right? You know, if you’re pursuing a major that others are also thinking about wanting to major from your school or you know, from the college itself, right?

What got you into that interest, right? Um, even if it’s not different from others, you know, what were the ways that you discovered this, right? You know, if you are a really bright, motivated student or maybe like, you know, if say for example, right? Like, you know, certainly recognize how Covid. You know, devastated or impacted just so much of our own, like, you know, educational lives.

Right. If that’s really changed, just your trajectory of like, you know, how you’ve wanted to pursue, right. Just the interests that you have. Think about like, you know, what have been Right. Examples that are true to you that no one else can share, right? Like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s all about right. Your experiences.

Even if you’re right, your best friend is also an officer at the same four clubs, right? Or if you’re applying to the same schools, their story differs from yours. Because how you are engaging and perceiving life, right, is different from how they perceive different situations. And that is the focus, right, of what aos are looking for.

Um, you know, we’ll see a lot of the similar activities or, or essay styles, but how you communicate why they’re meaningful to you, that’s what makes it stand out. Um, more, more than anything. Yes. And uh, to clarify, the extracurricular essay is 150 words, so you get full words to do it, whereas the activities list section is 150 characters.

So that’s each individual letter and punctuation. Um, but, um, we know that all of that can be confusing, especially when trying to figure out how to answer these questions and how to edit your essays. And for those in the room who are already working with us, we know that the admissions process is overwhelming for parents and students alike.

Our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts, such as she and myself are ready to help you and your family navigate it on one-on-one advising sessions. Uh, take charge of your family’s, uh, college admissions journey by signing up for a free 15 minute strategy session with an admissions expert by scanning the QR code on the screen where you’ll be taken to an additional form to fill out, um, what your needs are, when a good time to meet.

And you can find out more about our packages rates and what, um, services we offer. But just to give a little tidbit, we have a great college list. Building team who can really help solidify which schools would be a great fit for you in terms of your needs and wants. And then also our essay review team can really help make sure that these supplements are on point.

And um, really meeting those word counts and getting your point across and really demonstrating who you are. And then again, our amazing advisors, such as she will really help with, uh, getting those essays together. I really love the, um, word vomit thing where you just get everything on the page and then edit from there.

Cuz I know with my students too, getting that word count down is hard for most people. But having something on the page is always better. And having an advisor who knows you well and really gets to know you through the admissions process can really help with tweaking your essay so that it still highlights and keeps your voice while also making it as strong as possible for the admissions process.

So scan the QR code on the screen, but now back to the q and. Okay. Going on to the next question a student is asking, and we did touch upon this, but a student is asking, what is the best time for a sophomore to start writing their essays? Really great question. Um, and I know this is gonna sound a little counterintuitive, but I would say you should not be writing your essays if you are just a sophomore, right?

The best time to really think about when to start tackling your, not just your supplemental essays, but also your personal statement is truly, you know, brainstorm. Think about it. In the spring of your junior year, you know, I’m saying like, you know, if you stumble upon the questions, right, and you kind of want, you know, fancy 30 seconds taking a peek at them.

That’s what I mean. Like, you know, don’t be writing drafts upon drafts until really, you know, spring of your junior year or summer of, you know, before your senior year. Right? And the reason I say that is because, like, you know, if you’re still an underclassman in high school, your first and foremost priority should a hundred percent be doing well in classes, right?

Academics are really what you need to be focusing on, um, during your first couple of years so that you can show, right, that you can handle the rigor of the coursework that your school is offering. Um, but that also, right, you’re preparing yourself for, you know, AP, IB, um, you know, other, other advanced curriculum, right, that your school offers.

So I would say, right, like, you know, wouldn’t tackle these, you know, don’t think about the essays themselves at all. I would really say like, you know, sophomore year, the most that you should do with the college application is think about right? What are the qualities that you’re looking for in your, you know, potential dream school?

Right. You know, again, is it, think about right. How big do you want your school to be? Where do you want to go? Right? What are the programs that you’re really fascinated by? Um, like, you know, even what are the type of people that you wanna surround yourself with, right? Living away from home or maybe close to home, right.

For the next couple of years, that’s what I would really be focusing on more. Um, just thinking about Right. What schools are out there, but not to worry about the essays, particularly because you’re gonna grow so much, right? Like, you know, if you think about where you are now versus where you were a year ago.

Um, even for me, right? Like, I know I’m not applying to school, but like I’ve grown and changed so much, right? Just within the past year. You don’t want to necessarily jump the gun if Right. You learn and really understand more about who you are and your strengths. That’s something that will come with time.

Right. And the time is when it comes with after you have an idea where you want to apply and really, you know, what you see in yourself as your strengths, um, before your senior year. Mm-hmm. . Real quick. Um, the reason why, uh, Harvard is having people upload is because they’re Harvard. There really isn’t a special reason to it.

It’s just cause they’re Harvard. Most schools will just ask you to copy and paste your essay into the actual comment app, but they want you to upload an essay, um, in a doc format. Um, there’s no particular reason, but going onto the next question, I’m seeing two, uh, students asking something similar. So one is asking, what should I not do on my supplemental essays?

And another is asking, are there any topics, um, that you should avoid? Um, and if so, um, yeah, are there any topics you should avoid? , really great tandem of questions. Um, so I think, you know, things to avoid, right? Necessarily in your supplemental essays. Um, or, or like, you know, rather just like, you know, what are sort of like the big no-nos.

I think the first one, right? And I suggest this to all of my students. Don’t put the school name in your supplemental essay. Like, you know, if it’s a why this college question, even like, don’t put like the name of the college in your essay one because like, you know, they, they know you’re writing the essay for, for that school, right?

Like, you don’t have to repeat it and then take up the word count, but also two, right? Like for the extracurricular question, um, I can tell you like up to like 10 other schools that ask that same exact question off the top of my head, right? So, you know, if you’re applying to Vanderbilt who asks a similar question, like the extracurricular question that Harvard does, you don’t wanna have to spot check every single time, right?

Oh, did I put this college in there? Um, that’s, that’s one of the things that’s kind of like a pet peeve that’s really, you know, I would advise not to do. Um, the second piece that I would also say, right, is like, you know, This ties back to some of the advice that I mentioned, but keep that perspective on you, right?

And not necessarily the school itself. So, you know, the personal statement, you know, for everybody it’s a lot more of a broad question, right? It’s expecting you to be, you know, more introspective to think about your experiences, right? To think about why they’re valuable to you. Supplemental essays, even though they’re written a little bit differently, right?

They might be saying, Hey, like, you know, what is right? Like, why this school? Or, right. Like, you know, writing a letter to your future room. The perspective ultimately is still focused on you, and it should be. So, you know, don’t get lost in the fact that, just that, just because they’re asking right, how you hope to contribute to this school or what you wanna do at this school, that it means that, like, you know, you’re compromising what you know best about yourself.

Right? Those are the two main things that I would really say to, you know, don’t take for granted or like, you know, forget as you’re writing supplements. Um, in terms of topics themselves, I am of the school of philosophy, both in my professional experience, um, and even now that like, you know, I don’t think there’s necessarily right, like a quote unquote taboo topic to talk about, or that there’s like a negative one.

What I would really say right, is, and, and I’ll, I’ll address this too, um, I’ve had questions before where it’s like, you know, you shouldn’t really write your essay about like, you know, mental health, right? Or like, you know, there’s a stigma around it. I think that’s a load of BS for me. It’s all about, again, What have you done, right?

Or how have you learned from this experience? How has it changed you? Why is this experience meaningful, meaningful for you? Right? And again, that’s not necessarily saying that like, you know, you have to perform, right? This traumatic or, you know, rewrite this experience that might have been negatively impactful on you personally.

But it’s more about, right, what is it that has shaped who you’ve become today? And so like, you know, sometimes, right? Our brain might be thinking, you know, again, don’t write about things that are often stigmatized in society. It’s a little bit less about, right? Just avoiding those all together and a little bit more about, well, so if you do want to go that route, right?

What. Has been impactful to you. Right. And does it show right that you’ve been able to overcome if it, if right. If it was a negative, um, experience? So that’s my 2 cents on that. Yes. And is, as the webinar is coming to a close, is there any last minute advice you would like to give to students or any questions that you see that you wanted to jump to?

Yeah. Um, I think like, you know, just in terms of general advice, right? Especially for my seniors that are out there, um, like, you know, and, and really for everybody, right? Like, you know, it’s been November. Um, this can be a stressful time, so certainly know that like, you know, if you’re an underclassman, right?

Like, you know, focus within your journey, right? Focus on your classes first. Really, you know, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and just explore, you know, really all of the different dimensions that are there, right? I, you know, I fully recognize that, you know, we’re on a webinar that’s talking about Harvard, right?

Like it’s a brand name that a lot of people will know. Don’t be afraid to sort of also explore, right? Maybe schools that you might not have heard of, but that are also really valuable and really like, you know, prestigious in their own. You know, um, and for my seniors, you know, keep up the hard work. Um, I know y’all got this , the journey is almost over, but like, you know, um, a lot of my seniors too, right?

It’s like, you know, November is a great month where you can continue building your momentum on your applications or, you know, perhaps for some of you, right, start your application process. So, you know, use this time to build your momentum so that when it comes time to the holidays, right, everybody here, um, we’re able to help like you.

Be with our families, our guardians, relax, um, and you know, enjoy the time. Yes. So that is the end of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful. And thank you Chief for all this great information. Uh, again, you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab and this webinar is being recorded if you would like to view it again later on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com.

Um, but here’s the rest of our November series where we’ll have additional webinars on, um, various supplements for different schools. We had one on Yale the other week, which she again, uh, and then we also will have some other webinars on various other aspects of the application process. And you can view those in the future or you can view them um, later on our website, again at app.CollegeAdvisor.com.

So thank you everyone for coming out tonight and goodnight.