My counselor informed me that she's nominated me for the HPB Competition. From what I read in the accompanying letter, I have to participate in a roundtable discussion with nominees from other high schools in my area.
My questions are: Does everyone who gets nominated win the prize book? It's unclear in the letter exactly what the benefit is although my counselor did say that Harvard accepts 30% of the people who "win" vs only 7% of worldwide applicants.
I would like to get any advice from former Prize Book recipients. How did you prepare? How many students and judges were at your table? What was it like? Etc, etc.
I received the Prize Book, but I didn't have to go through any judging or discussion with other students from my area. It was very mysterious... I honestly didn't even know it existed, but then at my school's annual award ceremony last spring they just announced that I was a winner and handed me the book. If this helps, the bookmark on the inside says this:
"The Harvard Prize Book Program was established by Harvard alumni in 1910 as part of an effort to attract the attention of talented young students to the opportunities at the College. In the program's first years, a Prize Book was awarded at only a handful of schools in the New England Area. Today, nearly 2,000 Prize Books, sponsored by local Harvard alumni, are awarded in schools all over the world.
As was defined by the Harvard Alumni Association, the Prize Book is awarded to the outstanding student in the next-to-graduating class who 'displays excellence in scholarship and high character, combined with achievement in other fields.' The winners of this award, through their intelligence and variety of achievement, exemplify Harvard's commitment to excellence."
So I'm not really sure about your specific situation, but getting the nomination definitely can't be a bad thing. Maybe different local alumni networks have different ways of deciding who gets it. In my case, I was selected for it by a panel of teachers and administrators at my school, but it sounds like maybe in your area, you are nominated by the school and ultimately chosen by alums. At any rate, congrats on the nomination! And I'm sure you're well aware that it's still pretty impossible to get into Harvard, even with a beautiful "Harvard book" in your hands. (But hey, I'm still applying!) At the very least, it's a nice accolade to add to your resume.
"Harvard Prize Books are presented annually in more than 1,900 high schools around the world. To establish a Prize Book award in a local high school, a Harvard Club or club member need only contribute the cost of one book. Participating Harvard Clubs should contact the local high school principal and guidance counselor to introduce the program and to select the student to receive the award. "
It's really PR for the local Harvard club. It has no bearing whatsoever on Harvard Admissions.
I can bet you the inner city HS never gets a Harvard Book Prize...
It has no bearing on admissions. If there exists any statistic that says HBP winners get in more frequently than non-HBP winners (and I don't know if there is one), it's probably because the most qualified kids in a high school win the award and thus this pool doesn't include applicants to Harvard that would have no/low chances, as the normal applicant pool does. In other words, the HBP doesn't boost your chances but rather it usually just signifies that you're more qualified than many of your classmates in your own school/area.
Of course every school selects it differently so it could be that it doesn't even speak to your position among your classmates..
Back in the Jurassic Era, it was some elaborately bound outline of world history that has probably been the most-consulted reference work I have for the past 35 years. I swear, of all the prizes I won when I was in school (and there were a bunch), that was the best, or at least the one that has been useful longest.
Wow! You're not kidding they are less interesting! They seem positively cheesy.
What I got was called Encyclopedia of World History, and it was a 1968 fourth edition of a 1940 book that itself was an updated of a late 19th-century German book called The Epitome of History. The four American versions has all been edited by various Harvard history professors, and the book was bound in crimson leather with gilt lettering and a Harvard seal. Despite the high-falutin' title, it was really just a series of time-lines, but lots of them, pretty much covering the world through the end of WWII, including high points of culture, science, and technology, as well as political events/wars and the like. But it's great for a quick check on which happened first, or what the 30 Years' War really was, or when and how one Chinese dynasty turned into another, or what was happening then in Africa anyway?