10 months ago
Admissions Advice

Does it matter if my essays are unrelated to each other?

I'm applying for the Harvard Secondary School Program, and the application requires 4 essays and doesn't have an activities section. The prompts are very general and could really go in a lot of different directions. The essays are really the only place that I will get to showcase my personality, interests, and even my extra-curricular activities. One of my essays is really focused on my academic interests (literature & philosophy), while the other one touches on my background in relation to my general outlook on academics. There are two essays left, and I'm wondering whether I should use that space to expand and really continue my theme of literature and philosophy or use that space to talk about my other interests even if they're unrelated to anything else in my application. I want to showcase other parts of my life, but I'm worried it might seem random or disorganized if one of my essays just randomly starts to talk about a completely different thing that isn't mentioned in any parts of my application.

For context, here are the essay prompts:

1. What course(s) at Harvard Summer School interest you and why? Please consider the previous year's course offerings if next summer's courses are not yet available in the course catalog on our website. - (This is where I talked about my love for literature and philosophy)

2. Define what academic integrity means to you. How has it impacted you as a student? - (This is where I talked about my view on education and threw in a bit more of my background)

3. Reflect on a book you have read or a film you have seen where you strongly related to a character. State and describe the character, their traits and significance, and how they personify you. - (This one is where I feel I could talk about who I am, but I'm worried it might be either too random or too academic-focused and come off like I have no life besides school)

4. You are tasked with creating a new high school course or student club. Tell us the name of the course or student club, the description, and why you chose to create it. Be creative. - (This is the one I'm most unsure about as my ideas right now are all almost completely unrelated to philosophy or literature)

Thanks for answering guys!!

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@swazzy.k10 months ago

Is the Harvard Application still open? I thought that all IVY's are done now, or is that just for the secondary program at Harvard?

@durhamsellis10 months ago

I think its Jan 31 deadline

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
10 months ago

From my experience with applications, I would say that if the essay topics are unrelated then it doesn't matter. In fact, it might help you.

Colleges want to see that you're interested in the school and your proposed major. They also want to see that you have a diverse personality and diverse set of interests. This is because colleges aim to build a very diverse freshman, and would rather go for students with more unique sets of interests.

So it wouldn't help to talk about your interest in literature and philosophy in more than one essay.

But keep in mind, your entire application should be cohesive and well-rounded, so the admissions officer can see you as a whole person and not just a set of grades, test scores, ECs and essays. Hope this helps. Good luck

10 months ago

I got accepted into Harvard Seconday School, I jsut answered the prompts. It's ok to come off too academic. Your counselor or reference can be more about you.


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