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Universal College Application Harvard Supplement Essay

First Year Essay Instructions

Many UCA colleges require or accept the UCA Essay or Personal Statement. The college may also ask additional essays as part of their college-specific supplement. Use the information below to prepare your responses in advance.


Essay Prompts

Personal Statement

650 or fewer words
First-Year Admissions Application


Please write an essay that demonstrates your ability to develop and communicate your thoughts. Some ideas include: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event.

Activity Description

100-150 words
First-Year Admissions Application


Tell us about one of your extracurricular, volunteer, or employment activities.

College Specific Essays

College Supplement


In addition to the topics above, a college may also require additional essays in the Supplements section of the application. To learn more about a specific college's requirements, visit their UCA page. See the complete list of colleges on the UCA Colleges page.

Transfer Essay Instructions

Many UCA colleges require or accept the UCA Essay or Personal Statement. The college may also ask additional essays as part of their college-specific supplement. Use the information below to prepare your responses in advance.


Essay Prompts

Personal Statement

650 or fewer words
Transfer Admissions Application


Please write an essay that demonstrates your ability to develop and communicate your thoughts. Some ideas include: why you are transferring; what you have learned about yourself at your current institution; or a description of an experience at your current institution that has changed your viewpoint.

Activity Description

100-150 words
Transfer Admissions Application


Tell us about one of your extracurricular, volunteer, or employment activities.

College Specific Essays

College Supplement


In addition to the topics above, a college may also require additional essays in the Supplements section of the application. To learn more about a specific college's requirements, visit their UCA page. See the complete list of colleges on the UCA Colleges page.

This prompt should tell you that Harvard holds leaders in high regard. Here, they test your self-knowledge as to where and how you can help fit society’s needs. In a similar way to Prompt 5, they are trying to see the type of graduate you will become.

 

If leadership has been central to your life experiences, be sure to make note of those roles here. Be picky when deciding what roles to highlight, though! Make sure the group you led has something to show for your leadership (whether that thing be tangible or intangible).

 

For example, if you helped a club on campus better the culture of its membership, talk about how your leadership contributed to that. If you helped a diverse set of teammates come together for a common goal, discuss what aspects of your citizenship helped bring everyone together. Your goal here is in two parts: create an assessment for your personal leadership skills, and address how your community or society has benefited from it (more than simply pointing to trophies or awards, this is intended to show how society itself can change because of you.)

 

Make sure you showcase your leadership style, and how you believe it was effective. More importantly, make sure to show why you think it will be effective in the future. Remember, this essay should relay back to you as a graduate of Harvard!

 

One strategy could be to build up your leadership skills, then direct them to a specific area where you feel inspired to change society. If you choose this route, be specific in terms of the needs you can fill. Ask yourself: What qualities of a leader does a good lawyer need to have? How does citizenship help you be a good engineer? Most importantly: How do those necessities in those positions lead back to who you are?

 

Remember to answer the other aspect of the question. Besides being a good citizen-leader, how will you be a good citizen? Admissions officers want you to discuss how you would be an important part of something greater than yourself. You could use an example of something you did as a part of an extracurricular activity of which you were not the president or the de facto leader. For example, if you built an app for a conference your town was hosting, helped organize logistics for a school recital, or even volunteered at a food bank throughout high school, this prompt would fit your experiences well.

 

Harvard finds it very important that the citizens of their learning community come from diverse backgrounds, allowing students to learn from one another. Think about how you can add to this environment of diversity, or discuss your experience in a diverse environment in relation to your citizenship within it. Essays about discrimination or inequality in your community, and your development as a citizen-leader as a result, could fit well to this prompt.

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