Top 12 Harvard Admissions Essays


Successful Harvard applications and essays

These are successful college essays of students that were accepted to Harvard University. Use them to see what it takes to get into Harvard and other top schools and get inspiration for your own Common App essay, supplements, and short answers. These successful Harvard essays include Common App essays, Harvard supplements, and other Harvard admissions essays.


  1. Harvard Supplemental: Spanish Romance - I have had a fascination with the people, languages and cultures of Spain since middle school, when I would watch Spanish professional soccer on television. These were my heroes, who dangled a ball before their opponents as though it was a matador’s cape. The rivalries between soccer teams was my window into the regional mosaic of Spanish culture. The most remarkable team, F.C. Barcelona, was the all consuming passion of proud and prosperous Catalunya. The team Athletic Bilbao of the Basque country, though typically no match for the Catalans, played in a fierce and resilient style reflective of the Basque’s Continue Reading »
  2. Harvard Common App Essay: What you would want your future college roommate to know about you - What you would want your future college roommate to know about you? Hello roomie! It’s nice to be able to talk to you about myself before I meet you. This way, when I do meet up with you, we will hopefully be based the awkward phase, and finally starting to become friends. I hope that everything has been going well for you prior to packing your bags and heading into the dorms. But I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, and let you know a few things about me. I am a fairly diverse individual. I like Continue Reading »
  3. Harvard Common App Essay: Evaluate a Significant Experience - Evaluate  a  significant  experience,  achievement,  risk  you  have  taken,  or  ethical   dilemma  you  have  faced  and  its  impact  on  you. The  most  gratifyingly  productive  and  exhilarating  hours  of  my  life  were  spent  frantically  typing  by  the  glow  of  a  laptop  on  a  desk  in  the  dark  corner  of  a  crowded  basement  office.  Glamorous,  working  in  politics  is  not.  When  the  campaign  office  in  which  I  toiled  for  most  of  my  waking  hours  didn’t  smell  like  dirty  feet,  it  was  due  to  one  of  two  things:  someone  had: emptied  a  bottle  of  Febreeze  in  a  futile  attempt  at  air  freshening  or Continue Reading »
  4. Harvard Common App Essay: Breaking the Ice - The Cayman Islands, our home, are renowned for their crystal clear waters, stunning beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. Of course, the absence of alpine features is self-evident for a tropical island, yet these ostensibly challenging aspects of Cayman’s climate and terrain did not hinder the establishment of the team I now represent: the Cayman Islands Confederation and Association of Snow Sports (CICASS). Unfortunately, I have been the object of frequent derision due to the peculiar nature of my ski team; few ski racing competitors suppress their initial feelings of unease towards a diversified pool of nations participating in our sport, Continue Reading »
  5. Harvard Common App Essay: Topic of Your Choice - When I was seven, I thought garbage trucks were a conspiracy–a ploy by no-good evildoers to convince people to pay them to take their possessions. Nobody believed me, but what did they know? Despite my parents’ warnings, I biked after a Waste Management vehicle up and down a steep hill to find out what it was really up to. I fell off and returned with a shattered jaw–and shattered hopes about my theory.   I love to argue. I always have, as my parents discovered rather quickly with my childish inquiries about trash trucks and other mysteries. Asking why, why, Continue Reading »
  6. Harvard Supplement: Elaborate on One of Your Extracurricular Activities or Work Experiences - Short answer — Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below. As my cursor hits “refresh” at 5:59 am., just before the debate topic is released, I’m an explorer. But treasure maps don’t lure me: the depths of LexisNexis are my uncharted turf. I scour databases, seeking answers to my questions. I break into a contented smile as the clock hits 6:00 a.m. The topic? Universal healthcare! The first debate, I’m a radical anarchist, hunting for market alternatives to break Big Brother's grip. The second, I’m a policy analyst surveying single-payer care. Continue Reading »
  7. Harvard Supplement: Tell Us About a Person Who Has Influenced You In A Significant Way - In addition to the essay you have written for the Common Application, please write an essay of about 500 words (no more than 650 words and no less than 250 words). Using one of the themes below as a starting point, write about a person, event, or experience that helped you define one of your values or in some way changed how you approach the world. Please do not repeat, in full or in part, the essay you wrote for the Common Application. Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way. I have always regarded Continue Reading »
  8. Harvard Supplement: I See Things Differently - Being colorblind isn’t all bad. In fact, as of late it has allowed me to see more than I otherwise would have. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved airplanes. I’ve drawn them, read about them, built models of them, and watched them take off and land at the local airport. I can look up at a plane and identify it by shape, no color necessary! Naturally, ever since I learned that people make money playing with airplanes, I wanted to be a pilot. As I got older though, I found that perhaps my colorblindness would prevent me from Continue Reading »
  9. Harvard Supplement: The Essence of Music - Music has always been a dominant force in my life, inspiring and motivating me to challenge myself. With music, I could work towards mastering increasingly demanding passages while releasing my emotions through the melodies. For many years, the desire for acclamation drove me to practice and perform. I yearned for acknowledgement of my talent and the assurance that my playing was unparalleled; I wanted people to be astonished by my technical abilities and stylistic interpretations. Even when I played at volunteer concerts for seniors, my focus was on displaying my technical capability and receiving compliments after the performance. I chose Continue Reading »
  10. Harvard Supplement Essay: When In Rome - It was the first day of step tryouts, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I’d seen other students perform step routines and thought to myself “I want to do that!” But the moment I entered the cafeteria to tryout, I started feeling uneasy. Everyone towered over my diminutive 5’6” frame. These kids were nothing like the crowd I was used to. Everyone spoke with a different dialect of English, wore their jeans at lower altitudes, and several even sported tattoos on their forearms. Honestly, I thought they looked like thugs. It wasn’t that I’d never seen anyone like that Continue Reading »
  11. Harvard Common App Essay: Empathy - This summer I flew down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend the University of Alabama Honors Academy. For a week, I lived in the UA Honors College dorms and attended college-level classes and lectures. There were many fascinating lectures, but only one will stay with me for the rest of my life – in a very real sense, it has changed the way I look at the world, and my place and purpose in it. It was the morning lecture on the second day of the program –Stephen Black, the Director of the University of Alabama Center for Ethics and Social Continue Reading »
  12. Harvard Common App Essay: Who I Am - 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.” For as long as I can remember, Continue Reading »
  13. Harvard Supplement Essay: Taiwan - Projecting a glob of what I had once assumed was toothpaste into the bathroom sink,  I quickly realized mandarin was a bit more confusing than I had assumed. Glancing around the sink, suddenly, none of the characters seemed familiar. What was  the character for tooth? Was it ten strokes or eleven? And  why were there so many tubes in this bathroom? My host dad’s voice drifts lazily from the kitchen “Do you need any help? “ Oh, he would. Trying to make me ask him. Forcing me to admit that I can’t differentiate the character for “Tooth” and “fungal” cream. So Continue Reading »