Early Action

You are currently browsing articles tagged Early Action.

I made a joke over the weekend about how I couldn’t make my bed because I’m really busy as a full time student. My snide elicited pity laughter at the very least, but it got me thinking about how being a student has been my job day in and day out for the last 15 years of my life…and I’m not at all sick of it! Wouldn’t it be the best if students got pensions??

My peers and I are truly full time students – even on weekends and during vacations. When we’re not in class, we may be working to save money to invest in our education, or we may be in labs building both fundamental and advanced skills to directly apply to classes, or we may be eagerly awaiting highly intellectual conversations so we can casually bring up the coolest concept from our recent lecture. Regardless of our extra-curriculars,  we’re full time students. Personally, one of the most thrilling yet high-pressure aspects of attending Harvard is that I represent Harvard when I meet people. I feel like if people aren’t familiar with the institution, their impressions of me will either positively or negatively influence their perceptions of Harvard…scary!

Fellow blogger, Jesse, was at the event too!

My last post ended with how excited I was to attend the Harvard Club of San Diego’s Early Admit celebration. The undergraduate college has recently reinstated Early Action and a bunch of high school students are taking advantage of it! I sure wish there was Early Action when I was applying! Anyway, I was rightfully excited about the event as it was cool to finally meet people behind all the local club’s emails and also see how eager-nervous the newly admitted students are. It was a great event where newbies could ask questions to both current students and alumni, as well as have current students share with each other about their current experiences. I met and caught up with a lot of great people and had so much fun that I went to another event later that week! It was a Happy Hour get together for alum in the area and the turnout was super diverse! There were people who were in school while I was in school, but we had just never met. There were people who were the high school teacher of my current friends in college. I was essentially drooling over everyone’s cool stories. Since I was the only current student present at the event, there was a lot of interest in discussing how the university is in its current day – there wasn’t always OWAW (Optional Winter Activities Week, explained further below) or finals before winter break!

This past winter break, I dedicated a fair amount of my time studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) – basically a standardized test that all students who want to pursue medical school must take. When I originally tried registering for the test, there were no open spots in Boston or California for the January dates, so I figured I’d have to take the test after Spring Break, which definitely wouldn’t have been an ideal situation. Yet, the MCAT decided to give me an early birthday present this past December, meaning when I checked the MCAT registration site again, there were open testing spots at a test site just 3 miles away from my dorm room! Winter break was the only time I spent preparing for the test, although I’ve technically been preparing my whole life while taking all these classes and whatnot. I’m not an advocate of spending tons of money to prepare for standardized tests – this includes SATs, ACTs, AP tests, etc. as well. My plan of attack included reading some review books and practicing questions. Yet there’s something about being home that makes me extremely lazy and unproductive. The comforts of home is definitely not conducive to productivity, but it was especially nice for my parents to see me study hard so they know I’m actually working hard at school across the country.

Harvard has this week called OWAW (Optional Winter Activities Week, pronounced “Oh, wow!”) which is the week right before the spring semester starts. Students are allowed to return to campus early with most meals provided. Although I didn’t participate in any of the planned activities, I was able to utilize my quiet room and the Harvard libraries to catalyze my MCAT studies. T-day (test day) finally came and my nerves were way worse than the test!! I’ve never been so freaking nervous. Hopefully, when the scores come out in a month, I’ll be pleasantly surprised 🙂

Being a premedical student at Harvard is … interesting to say the least. I feel like there are pros and cons with this decision at every university, but the extremes of these factors are dramatically emphasized alongside the brand of Harvard. I think I feel a lot more pressure to attend a top medical school and be successful due to the fact that my bachelors degree comes from Harvard; yet I sometimes rationalize this concomitant, heightened pressure with the fact that I am so lucky to have tons of resources at my fingertips – this goes from amazing faculty and graduate students, as well as friendly and knowledgeable advisers! There’s also this (mis?)conception that Harvard students are more intense – we stab each other in the back and are just obnoxiously competitive. I can’t say that all of the above isn’t true, but I really, truly, deeply don’t think that we’re evil. Whenever I seek advice about a class or need help understanding a concept, my friends are always willing to sit down with me, even when I’m impatient, rude, and using a mean voice! We’re a community, and a community that I’m proud and happy to be a part of!

As junior spring begins (snowy!), I have the majority of my requirements finished. The weird thing is I haven’t taken a lot of intro classes like genetics and physical science, so I’m creepily excited to make a lot of freshman friends this semester. Let’s just hope that I’m not being presumptuous by assuming that freshmen want to be my friend in the first place…

My next post will be a list of the classes I’ll be taking this spring. I’m currently driving myself crazy because enrolling in 6 classes currently seems both a possible and desirable option…

Tags: , , , ,

You’ll knock on wood and throw salt over your shoulder for all the same reasons why I submitted my Harvard College application on November 11th at 11:11pm. Selectively following superstitions may help, but can’t possibly hurt, right? The mere possibility of benevolent supernatural forces swinging for your team is too tempting to miss out on.

Although Harvard College did not offer Early Action during my application cycle, I didn’t see a more opportune time to submit my application. The past two months consisted of neglecting high school assignments and slaving away for the hopeful prospect of pursuing a magical (Harry Potter-like?) higher level of education. I had not only ruthlessly sliced and diced my various personal statements, but also seasoned and sautéed the wording of each extracurricular activity – making sure to reference my (borderline unhealthy) obsession with Michael Phelps when I described my high school swimming career and also making sure to use my favorite word (concomitant) at least once per essay. Personally, it was of utmost priority that my application manifested my academic passions and intentions as well as my (dry and witty) sense of humor. When I caught myself subconsciously reciting my essays during school, I knew the time had come to thrust the weight off my shoulders like Karyn Marshall by clicking submit.

It’s an understatement for me to say that I’m eternally elated about the fact that Early Action at Harvard College has returned. A mid-December decision relative to an April Fool’s Day decision is exactly like getting three scoops of cookies and cream ice cream when you expected one scoop of plain vanilla; meaning there are endless benefits from Early Action.

I’d like to first take a moment to address those who chose not to submit early, were deferred, denied, or the like. You are in no way inferior; it’s completely illogical and unhealthy to think of yourself in this way so don’t!! I’m a big believer in the saying “everything happens for a reason” so whatever disappointment or frustration you’re feeling needs to be leveraged into positive energy, used to assess your academic plans. It’s most definitely not the end of your life and your future can appear even brighter than before if you take advantage of your extra time. By having at least one decision this early on in the application cycle, you can choose to apply to even more schools or different schools as well. Don’t be discouraged! I know this is much easier said than done but this seriously is not the end of the light in a tunnel – think of it more as one dark turn that you have to make before the light reappears.

Secondly, I’d like to take a moment and send congratulatory and celebratory vibes to all those accepted as members of the Harvard College Class of 2016. It’s a true honor and was genuinely earned by your admirable, lofty efforts so please don’t let anyone else lead you to believe otherwise. I really hope you consider enrolling at the College just as seriously as the Admissions Officers did because I have confidence that you can really add that extra kick of diversity that no one can ever have too much of.

I remember my high school senior spring April Fool’s Day when my California lifestyle gave me a three hour advantage. Decisions were emailed at 5:00pm EST (that’s 2:00pm PST) so I was still in school and avoided publicly checking my email at all costs. I even left my last class a few minutes early to make up a Biology test I had been absent for. As I handed in my test, my teacher offered to grade it immediately. I spent this time hesitantly meandering to one of the student computers to check my email. One epic unread email was bolded in my Gmail inbox account. As I eagerly clicked and scrolled down, my eyesight and fine motor functions escaped as a result from my lack of breathing. Tears streamlined down my cheeks as I slowly comprehended what I was reading. I ran outside to make some phone calls and returned as a snotty mess when my teacher summoned my presence to return my test. Her profound worry quickly transformed into a warm embrace as I mumbled the news in between hyperventilating gasps. Then, I went to swim practice. #storyofaswimmerslife

One of the common questions during Freshman Week is acceptance stories so you might want to rehearse jokes and bring props 😉 Being an eager beaver has paid off and I hope you’ll soon have many encounters with friendly (erm..semi-friendly) Harvard Yard squirrels!


Tags: , ,

Hi everyone!  Elise here,  it’s my favorite time of year in Cambridge, and after several weeks on the road, I’m really happy to get back to campus.   My colleagues and I have had some exciting travel adventures this fall and have talked with students all across the country and throughout the world.  Here are just a few of the places Harvard Admissions Officers have visited in the United States over the past few months:  Montgomery, Alabama; Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles, California; Tallahassee, Florida; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Providence, Rhode Island; McAllen, Texas; Washington D.C., Sioux Falls, South Dakota– and the list goes on!  Beyond the US, we’ve visited China, South and Central America, 4 African nations, 4 Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom.   See photos below from the recruitment trip to Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania that our International Director of Admissions Robin Worth took last month:


Information Session at the US Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe


Presenting at Masibambane High School, outside Cape Town, South Africa


Back on campus, the academic year is in full swing, and Harvard Yard is buzzing with activity.  New England is stunning in the fall, and I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be here.  When the leaves begin to change, Harvard Yard glows with brilliant yellows, reds, and oranges, enough to take your breath away.   Photos to come– I promise!  Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had lots to celebrate at Harvard.  Two weeks ago, students and alumni from all over gathered together to wish Harvard a Happy Birthday.  If you haven’t already, check out what Caroline and Kate had to say about Harvard’s 375th Anniversary!  This past weekend was Head of the Charles, the world’s largest Regatta, and thousands of students and families flocked to the banks of our beloved Charles River to compete, watch races, and partake in the festivities.

Here in the Admissions Office, we’re gearing up for the Early Action application deadline next Tuesday, November 1.  If you’re planning to apply to Harvard under the Early Action deadline, make sure you have your materials in by November 1.  We’ll look forward to reading your application!  And while we’re on the topic of applying, please humor another quick plug to check out our new Application Tips section of the Admissions website for some great helpful hints.

Lastly, as you may have noticed, we have some new faces on the blog.  Visit the updated “Meet your Bloggers” page for bios of our new writers.   Our students can’t wait to tell you about their experiences!  I’d like to offer a big  welcome to our new writers– Natalie, Shannon, Kemie, Scott, Jeanie, Shaun, and Reid.  And we’re delighted to have some familiar faces– Caroline, Jesse, and Kate– on board again this year.  Stay tuned for posts from each of these students throughout the next few months, and let us know in the comments section if there are topics you’d like for our writers to cover.  We’re here for you!

That’s all for now– good luck with your applications!

Tags: , , ,