How to Write the Harvard University Supplemental Essays 2020-2021

Recorded Thursday, October 1 at 11:00 PM

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About this livestream


Learn how to write an awesome essay for your Harvard application.

Elias Miller, a recent graduate of Harvard College, will provide an in-depth breakdown of each of the Harvard essay prompts, discussing how to write a great essay in response to each one. He'll also share his take on the essays and topics you shouldn't write about for each prompt.

Finally, he'll open up the floor for a Q&A session, where he'll answer any and all questions about the Harvard essays.

Your host

Undergrad College: Harvard University '17

Major: Music

Graduate College: University of Michigan, M.M.

Work Experience: Now in my fourth year at CollegeVine, I have helped dozens of students gain acceptance to their top-choice schools and have also advised and mentored thousands more through my livestreams. Apart from my work at CV, I am also a professional conductor and a multi-instrumentalist. I currently serve as the music director of the Apollo Ensemble of Boston, and I have led symphonic concerts and operatic productions throughout the United States.

My Admissions Story: Initially interested in pursuing a career as a performing cellist, I applied almost exclusively to music schools with dual and double degree options and ultimately enrolled in the Tufts University/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program. Unhappy with the combined program and worried I'd never feel like I was fully a student at either school, I logged back into in October of my freshman year. I can't say I went about the transfer process in the smartest way (I only applied to two schools!), but Harvard miraculously accepted me (or 'excepted me' as I wrote in a celebratory Facebook post that day - no one ever let me live that one down), and the rest was history.

Audience questions

These are questions from the audience that we had time to answer during the live session. If you have any other questions, you can request an answer from Elias and other CollegeVine experts in an upcoming livestream or on the Q&A Forum anytime.
59:27@anonymous:Can we answer all of these prompts?
59:29@anonymous:How did you hook the admission counselors in your essay? Was it about orchestra?
59:31@anonymous:Is there a way to get out of your ED decision?
61:50@Applesauce:What are the chances that you apply ED do a college (I'm applying to Wharton ED), request some financial aid, and you get almost none?
61:55@Applesauce:How would you rank the importance of supplemental essays vs your common app/coalition essay?
62:00@anonymous:Like the student programs last week , is this presentation recorded for later viewing?
94:48@wnelms:hello. should/does the essay approach change if you apply REA? take more risk with the prose since they are fewer apps?
96:35@anonymous:Can the essay be descriptive and slightly conversational?
104:38@anonymous:What kind of questions are frequently asked that are actually useful (not what everyone knows already)? I also have a 5 star reading and I’m a music major!
105:30@CMSH:Sorry was in a meeting! So, if I want to list my online Edex courses in the additional info section of the common app so all colleges see it, is it ok to write a paragraph about just one activity for the intellectual independent activity Harvard supplemental section ( instead of “listing” they ask for. I’d like to write about my national resource website I created.
107:18@CMSH:This is not for extracurricular essay, I have another activity for that. I need to write about the website .
108:01@anonymous:For my question, it can be whatever you feel the best talking about or you know about the most. I’ll be content with anything!
109:52@anonymous:Is it okay to talk about how an art has impacted others?
109:57@anonymous:Like how doing an art helped lives?
110:51@anonymous:Like visual art for awareness about a social issue.
112:10@CMSH:Is 740 word count too long for the supplemental unlimited essay?
113:43@CMSH:I’m still not clear , my stream cut out... so if it asks for a list of intelectual things- can I possibly write about just my website. My additional section is maxed out in words.
114:14@anonymous:For the supplement where you can write an essay for your choice for harvard
114:41@CMSH:The EdEx courses are already listed in additional info, and other schools may not see them if I can’t fit them in their essays
115:27@CMSH:When will the recording be available.
115:38@anonymous:What are some great ways to study for the SAT? I bought 6 books and will use Khan Academy if course; but, I was wondering how much a day to study?
120:01@anonymous:Could I work with you?
120:03@anonymous:Or who can I look for?
120:19@anonymous:Should we take dual credit?
120:33@anonymous:How could I get Vinay or you to review my common app essay? Tx
121:18@CMSH:Do YOU have any essay reviews come up?
121:46@anonymous:Should we be worried if we don’t have a perfect GPA but have other “perfect” aspects?

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