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ask harvard siblings

just2helpjust2help Posts: 20Registered User New Member
edited October 2012 in Harvard University
Hello. Both my sister and I currently attend Harvard. My sister is a sophomore while I will be a rising freshman (I took a gap year off from school after my high school to travel!)

Currently, I am on my time off but I will be able to answer a lot of questions and help all those interested! And no, my parents are not Harvard alumni.

I will check this thread every day for the next couple months since the application process is approaching. Good luck!
Post edited by just2help on
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Replies to: ask harvard siblings

  • asiankingasianking Posts: 40Registered User Junior Member
    Additional Essays Occasionally, students feel that college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about themselves or their accomplishments. If you wish to include an additional essay, you may do so. Possible Topics: (6) described.

    My question is : Should I choose essay topics among those topics described OR Can I use own topic ?
    Which is better for admission chance , Topics list or own topic ?
    Thanks!
  • just2helpjust2help Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    Hello asianking. It really doesn't matter which topic you use as long as you write passionately and well. This essay can definitely help your chances of getting in because it lets the college know you better personally and especially if you have had unique circumstances, you can describe it freely. The suggestive topics are just suggestions; they are by no means preferred topics. Instead, they are just example topics you can possible write about. If you have something you really feel passionate about or really want Harvard to understand about you, just write about that! What matters is the content and how you portray that content, not necessarily the topic itself. I hope that helped!
  • asiankingasianking Posts: 40Registered User Junior Member
    Thank you !
  • sharkersharker Posts: 471Registered User Member
    just curious, how are the dorms at Harvard? and are there any classes you find particularly interesting?
  • just2helpjust2help Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    the classes vary by professor and your interest in major so it is way too subjective to answer.

    as for the dorms, they are pretty nice. there are very old dorms such as the Matthews dorms which was build long ago. They have been renovated and is still very nice and classy but does not have A/C. Some of the older dorms do not have A/C. There are newer dorms that do have A/C and provide better amenities. All the dorms are pretty much clustered in the main yard. I stayed at Matthews over the summer and it was reallly hot. We had 2 bedrooms and a common room for 3 people. We got a big fan and put it in each window so it wasn't that bad. When it got too hot, we just went to the library and returned at nighttime when the weather cooled down. As for the houses, my sister is living at the Quincy House and to tell you the truth, it is very nice, plain and simple! Harvard gives more space however for your dorms. I know compared to other schools, Harvard dorms can be seen as luxurious.
  • gibbygibby Posts: 5,074Registered User Senior Member
    I agree the dorms in the yard are quite nice. (My daughter lived in Canaday one summer for SSP, and in Matthews for her freshman year -- both in excellent overall condition.)

    However, there seems to be a huge difference between freshman dorms and the upperclass houses. Hopefully that will change with house renewal (aka dorm renovation). See: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/07/house-renewal-ready-for-launch/

    When completed, Harvard's upperclass houses will be modern and up-to-date. In the meantime, the best that I can say is that Harvard, IMHO, is one of the largest slumlords in Cambridge! And I say that with a child in the school. As a Harvard parent, I'm appalled by the condition of the dorms -- and my daughter has lived in two of them, Mather (her regular dorm) and Cabot (her dorm last summer).

    The river houses are currently known to be infested with rats, mice and cockroaches. Every landlord in Cambridge -- except for Harvard -- is required, by law, to repaint an apartment every time a new tenant moves in. But, for the last three years, Harvard has not repainted common rooms, bedrooms and hallways in the upper houses. (I guess they are waiting for house renewal to do that.)

    When my Harvard daughter helped her brother move into his Yale dorm this year, her comment was "You live in a such palace compared to my dorm."

    (BTW: Harvard has modeled their house renewal by reviewing how Yale redid their colleges, so maybe in another 10 years Harvard's upperclass houses will rival their rival.)
  • gibbygibby Posts: 5,074Registered User Senior Member
    ^^ Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack your thread, but I thought you were painting an overly rosy picture of Harvard's dorms.
  • exultationsyexultationsy Posts: 1,100Registered User Senior Member
    We do have it really good compared to a lot of colleges, though, especially space-wise. Many more sq feet per student, in earlier years, than would be the case even at some other very good schools. (My good friend at Brown thinks our dorms are amazing, e.g., and she's been in a lot of them.) "Slumlord" seems harsh--the housing is a little ramshackle sometimes, but not so much as to tip into "gross" from "eccentric." (Usually. I haven't been on the wrong side of a gross incident, though.) I suppose I do live in the Quad, which is somewhat newer, but it's not my experience that most students are disgruntled about it. I wish they'd started housing renewal ten years ago, though!

    PS AC really does not matter for most of a Cambridge school year...
  • hoothoot5hoothoot5 Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    I'm planning on reapplying to Harvard this year. Last year, I didn't get the chance to take any SAT II tests, so my application was incomplete. I didn't have a waiver, and I went to a school where teachers stressed more about the ACT. Last year was the first time I've ever heard of the SAT II test.

    As of right now, I'm taking a year off to focus on personal things like getting my American citizenship, getting a driver's license, writing my novel, volunteering, working, just to name a few. And I'm studying for the SAT and SAT II tests. (I'm taking the SAT I in October, and I'm stressed out! Wish me luck?)

    If I reapply this year as a freshman, will my chances of getting in be lower than other applicants?

    Thanks!

    Also, should I talk about what I did this year on the additional essay?
  • just2helpjust2help Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    yes currently the houses are under renewal and many students are living in nice apartments instead. however, if you do compare our houses to those of other large endowment schools, maybe it is not as good. but the houses are going under renewal. but compared to most other schools, ours is much better! and we have much more space! :D

    and yeah, you don't really have to worry bout A/C but i had a heat wave when i was there for couple days and it was torture.
  • just2helpjust2help Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    good luck with your SAT! and i believe that it is definitely going to be harder than other applicants! but you should check up on that online or look up how many applicants are admitted as freshman in college (which doesn't count as a transfer i believe?). even take the time to call them! they have a huge database and network of people who answer your answers and help you regarding specifics of admissions!

    There may be space to write down what you have done over your gap year just as your other grade school years. However, whether there is or isn't, why not? It is fully up to you. If you believe you have strong content to write about, then you should definitely go for it!
  • HannaHanna Posts: 10,836Registered User Senior Member
    There's a lot of contrast even within the river houses. I lived in the Leverett Towers for two years, and I'm not aware of pest problems there. I haven't heard that kind of complaint about Mather, either.
  • gibbygibby Posts: 5,074Registered User Senior Member
    ^^ If you search the Crimson, you'll find many articles like this one:
    Old Quincy: A Test Project | News | Commencement 2011 | The Harvard Crimson
  • just2helpjust2help Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    that article is over a year old. as i said, quincy is under renewal already. many residents have been moved to nicer apartments for the time being. i understand there can be problems but i have never personally encountered it and i am sure cockroaches dont run around in all houses. some river houses may have bugs (if you ever lived near a river) but it's definitely not as bad as you state... in my opinion it is definitely a luxury compared to the average dorms in america... but our opinions and experiences may differ! ^^
  • HadiramHadiram Posts: 149Registered User Junior Member
    I'm not an athlete. I'm not a minority (well I am, just not one that colleges enjoy admitting :S). I don't have legacy.

    With so many people applying, how do you stand out?
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