Harvard: 5 Common App Essay Introductions That Worked

Harvard: 5 Common App Essay Introductions That Worked

Many applicants struggle with writing the perfect Common App essay introduction to get into their dream school. Your essay’s introduction is one of the most important parts of a successful Common App essay that will make an impression on the admissions officer reading your application.

We’ve compiled 5 Common App essay introductions that were accepted to Harvard University to show you exactly what it takes to make an impression in your first paragraph and grab the admissions officer’s attention.


Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

“Hey kids, here’s twenty bucks. If any of y’all have the guts to ask that there bride to dance, it’s yours,” offered a bearded man in a cowboy hat. He wore a slick black suit and shiny purple tie. His words made me feel like he was giving me a fantastic opportunity, but his smile was that of a used car salesman’s. The four of us kids stared at the man, and then three of them stared at me. I was staring at the bride.

See the Full Harvard Application Essay »


Prompt: Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

In northern Wisconsin there is a small cabin, built years ago by my great-grandfather. The cabin rests on the shore of Bass Lake, named such despite the fact that no bass have ever actually made their home there. My father swam in Bass Lake decades ago, watched the grown-ups play cards at night, played touch football with his brothers in the yard. Today the cabin is collectively owned by the Bonsall family, including my dad, and no doubt he will one day pass along that ownership to me, and I will receive my own stake in the family heritage. When I was younger, the entire Bonsall clan would assemble at the cabin each summer, just as they always had. During those summers I swam in Bass Lake, caught my first fish in its waters, sat on the iron swing by the lake and gazed into the flames of the campfire, listening partly to the conversation between my relatives, partly to the chirping of the crickets in the woods. I heard the sound of spring rain pattering against the tent on wet summer nights, and the call of the loons on the lake on dry ones. I have rarely felt so content as on those nights at the cabin.

See the Full Harvard Application Essay »


Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Most of my friends asked me why I did it. It took four days and left me completely exhausted. What reason was there to embark on such a journey?

It all started the summer before my freshman year in high school when I rode my bike off of my grandma’s street for the first time and rode up into a neighboring subdivision. From then on I was hooked. I started riding all over the place; from the main drag in town up into the country along narrow roads I didn’t know existed.

See the Full Harvard Application Essay »


Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The pungent yet strangely welcoming odor of acetone permeated my senses as I entered the familiar lab environment. All around me, white-clad students hurriedly gathered chemicals and watched their flasks intensely as the solvent simultaneously boiled and condensed. Foggy safety goggles and furrowed eyebrows revealed the immense concentration of everyone in the room as they tackled various challenges. From my vantage point, I watched as a captivating transformation evolved at each station. Striking shades of green and orange contrasted with dull strokes of brown and grey in flasks around the room; soft, white powder stood out from needle-like blue crystals as both slowly dissolved into beakers of water. The randomness of each adventure added to my excitement as I impatiently waited to begin.

See the Full Harvard Application Essay »


Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Entering my kindergarten classroom, I shuffled around my blueberry shaped classmates as some began throwing their  winter layers into cubbies.  Admittedly, my torso was equally bulbous – covered with the threats and extortions of my mother: a heavy jacket, gloves, and a hat. But, below the waist I wore only a pair of frigid khaki shorts. As I walked proudly to my seat, my teacher quickly approached me. Bug-eyed, in what I assumed was intense admiration, she asked “Stephen, aren’t you the tiniest bit cold?”.

“No,” I replied, smiling. “I don’t get cold.”

See the Full Harvard Application Essay »


See Full Applications That Got Into Harvard

To see full applications and essays that got into Harvard and other Ivy League schools check out our roster of successful applications to top schools. IvyApps has full applications to Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale and other top schools and features full essays, supplements, as well as students GPA and standardized test scores.

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