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Do I do enough for Harvard?

HarvardgoalHarvardgoal 7 replies1 threads New Member
edited March 14 in Harvard University
I'm in grade 8, but I thought it was good if I already focus on getting into Harvard. I live in the Netherlands. I wonder if I do enough extracurricular activities.
I have a perfect GPA and that isn't something I'm worried about. On my school the languages that I learn are: Dutch, Cambridge English, German, French, (Old)Greek, Latin and Chinese. When I'm in 9th grade, I wanna do Olympiads and competitions too. I would also join the debate club. I'm planning to learn in the Summer vacation extra languages like Russian and Spanish: If I speak like 10 languages, including the ones at school, I think I can make a good change. I'm playing the violin for like a half year, but my teacher says I'm a fast learner. I'm working hard to play classical pieces. In summer I wanna work on my piano (I don't follow lessons anymore) and making clothes. I have a passion for the dresses they wore earlier, like costumes of the Victorian Era.
At school I can do the Vecon Business School, which is a special program where you learn about economy and universities will help you. You'll get a certificate for it. But that's in 10th grade. In 10th grade I also wanna do a special program for good students; you can do your own project and it's really big.
The last thing I do is being altar boy(girl) in the Catholic Church, but I don't know if that counts as volunteer work. And I like reading, but I don't if that helps a lot.

Do you think this is enough to get into Harvard? Do you have tips or things I can do more? I've looked for all the opportunities.
edited March 14
30 replies
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Replies to: Do I do enough for Harvard?

  • compmomcompmom 11331 replies80 threads Senior Member
    @GOlions2024! what a great post, and so helpful since you are still so close to the high school experience.

    @Harvardgoal please don't make Harvard a goal! The likelihood of getting in as an international is low. If you want to come to the US for college, try to find out more about the options, including Colleges that Change Lives (see the website). Usually people focus on Harvard because it is the school they know about.

    Please please heed Golion's advice. Enjoy high school NOW and don't make it about getting into school. Ouch you aren't even in high school yet.

    Maybe spend summers doing something that is not academic.

    The coolest thing in your post is your "passion" for making clothing and for Victorian costumes.

    You are asking way too much of yourself for a goal that is not all that worthwhile. You can pile on stress and burn out and not even be able to enjoy college. Pace yourself. You don't have to do so much. Do what genuinely interests you and you enjoy.

    Finally, don't try to fit yourself to a school. Find a school that fits you. And you can't figure that out for a few years yet.
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  • GOlions2024!GOlions2024! 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Hello again,

    I will have to agree with @compmom and her wise post. I would also encourage you to read the book called Colleges That Change Lives. It is very insightful.

    That being said, I would like to recognize that it is OK to feel the way you do. I can completely understand where you are coming from. Your desire to be a Harvard admit is very normal in fact. Harvard gets over 40,000 applications from around the world every year for a REASON! Harvard is the ultimate educational brand name; that is simply un-deniable, and a reality we all must confront.

    However, life is so much more than gaining entry to a brand-name school. Life is very joyful, fun, and interesting. I would relish in the time you have now to be youthful. It is FINE to have goals, even goals as elusive and difficult as Harvard. People DO get into Harvard; it is not impossible. However, it sounds like you are placing TOO much emphasis on this given your young and impressionable age. Stay strong!
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  • NaxissNaxiss 11 replies0 threads New Member
    I don't know if this is the right approach to be honest. I'm a grade 12 (6e klas) student at a gymnasium in Amsterdam and I didn't think about applying to Harvard until this year (I'm going to take a gap year to do some things I always wanted to do while I'm preparing my application). I only have four extracurricular activities at this moment, but I did the things I loved and as a result, I have a pretty strong resume.

    I'd advise you to do the things you love the most, put your blood, sweat, and tears into it and at the end of your high school career, you'll have a strong resume. Go out of your comfort zone: I didn't even think about high school debating until I got invited and after a couple of years, our school team has a top 20 ranking and two top 10 rankings at the Dutch debating nationals.

    Sorry for my horrible English, this corona stuff is f ing me up and I have to do some mondelingen and national exams are around the corner so I'm pretty f ed up. Good luck in the future!
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  • HarvardgoalHarvardgoal 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 22
    Thanks for your comments!
    I think you're all right that I should the things I like and spend more time on to get better in that, instead of doing much things with no progress or passion. I already realized that there is a good change that I will not be admitted, but I think it's just my thing to stress about things for no reason :) I'll keep trying though, but just more focus on things I like. And I like languages, so like you all said, I'm not going to do it short, but for a longer time and with more depth (it probably sounds really weird what I'm saying in English). And I will of course focus on school.
    By the way, it hasn't actually always been my biggest dream to get into Harvard or another good university, but to help poor people by starting a very very wealthy company and to invest money in small companies in poor countries? (I know, sounds really weird but I was 8) I knew this was maybe a little bit too ambitious, so I thought if i got into a good university, it would be much easier to achieve.
    edited March 22
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  • GOlions2024!GOlions2024! 9 replies1 threads New Member
    @Harvardgoal Yes, as I said before, you sound like a highly ambitious, highly intelligent, and highly caring person. I have total faith that you will do amazing things in your life - you are so passionate! Loving to learn and wanted to succeed are amazing and rare traits.

    In the future, maybe you will start a non-profit to help "poor" people succeed; maybe you will translate books due to your passion for languages. I don't know! To be honest, it does not even really matter right now what you will do as an adult.

    When I started high school, I developed a four year plan (very similar to the one you outlined in your initial post). Guess what happened? I didn't do a single thing on that plan! Life is weird; it will bring you in directions you can't even anticipate right now, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. No matter what you end up doing, even it's nothing you can imagine right now, I'm sure it will be impressive!

    That being said, contrary to what people have stated above, it's OK to have goals. It is OK to be nervous. Applying to college is a scary thing, and you are certainly not alone in your desire to attend Harvard.

    I would just encourage you, as a I said before, to question the deeper roots of this desire. If you want to change the world, that's AMAZING! There are many ways to do this no matter where you go to college; you can even start NOW by volunteering in your community and just being a generally kind person.

    I wish you the best of luck in your journey ahead!
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  • happy1happy1 23567 replies2337 threads Senior Member
    edited March 22
    It is way too early to think about specific colleges (especially the hyper-competitive ones). You have no HS GPA and no standardized testing. I'd also strongly recommend that you give up the idea of Harvard as a dream school -- the people I see who get hurt by the college admission process are the ones who focus on one or two hyper-competitive schools and then don't get in.

    Harvard accepts about 5% of candidates and that number is lower for internationals. There are many many more well qualified students than there is space available. Harvard must be considered a reach school regardless of what you might accomplish in HS.

    You also need to recognize that HS should be an experience in and of itself -- a time of learning and growth and not just a 4 year college application prep experience.

    It is good to take school seriously and know that college will be on your horizon, but it is too early to start planning for specific colleges. I would highly recommend that you get off of CC (except the HS life forum) until your junior year.

    For the first two years of HS you should focus on:
    --Working hard, learning, and doing as well as you can in the most challenging curriculum you can manage.
    --When the time comes study for standardized tests.
    --Continue your involvement in activities you care about and work towards making meaningful contributions to those activities.
    --Enjoying spending time with your family and friends.

    When the time comes (junior year of HS) asses your academic stats (including GPA, standardized tests, course rigor) as well as your financial needs and apply to a wide range of reach, match, and safety schools that appear affordable (you will have to run a net price calculator for each school you consider) and that you would be happy to attend.

    You will need to expand your horizons and recognize that there are many wonderful schools both in and out of the US there where you can have a great experience and get where you want to go in life.

    For now keep working to become the best "you" that you can be -- it will pay off in the long run.
    edited March 22
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  • HarvardgoalHarvardgoal 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 22
    @GOlions2024! You're absolutely right! I'll keep this goal as a hard to-reach-but-fun-to-dream and just focus on having a nice period as teen. While still getting the best out of myself in school etc. ;) (I'm never going to stop doing that)
    edited March 22
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  • HarvardgoalHarvardgoal 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 22
    @happy1 Don't worry, the only reason I went on this forum was to ask this question, as it was the first 'college forum' I could find on Google. :smiley: But thanks for your advice! I do have some studies and universities in the Netherlands I would like to attend if I can't go in 'the other universities'. But like you all said, I should probably think about that later. I will just work as hard as I can, while still enjoying my years as a teen!
    edited March 22
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  • GOlions2024!GOlions2024! 9 replies1 threads New Member
    @Harvardgoal Sounds good, thanks for taking my advice into consideration; I really appreciate that!

    I would also like to repeat that IT IS OK to feel the way you do. Don't let other people shame you or make you feel bad for having ambitious goals at such a young age. It is challenging to not be impressionable and naive in 8th grader. In truth, I think your ambition is an amazing trait that the world could use more of. I too am a highly ambitious person, and I have learned to love that aspect of myself rather than try to hide it. If you love to learn, that's amazing! I do too.

    But, it's all about BALANCE. THAT is the key word! It's about prioritizing your work and friendships, your mental and physical health, your passions and your responsibilities as a young adult. It's about setting goals but not becoming obsessive about them. It's about recognizing that you will change, your aspirations will change, and you have time to figure all of this out. You are young and wisdom comes with age. I am only 17 after all. I too have a lot left to learn and figure out.

    Anyways, you could get into Harvard. You could not get into Harvard. You could go to college in the Netherlands. Whatever! In the grand scheme of things, your alma matter is such a minute detail in the long history of your life. You will always be the same person no matter where you go to school.

    *Also, my cousin also produces historical clothing and loves it. It's such a fun thing to do! Best of luck with your costume creation.
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  • HarvardgoalHarvardgoal 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @GOlions2024! Of course! By the way, you say that I sound accomplished for my age, but you're only 17 and you already know this things :smiley:
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  • GOlions2024!GOlions2024! 9 replies1 threads New Member
    @harvardgoal. I'm sorry, I don't seem to understand the meaning of your most recent comment? Do you mind paraphrasing it?
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  • HarvardgoalHarvardgoal 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 24
    O no, I just meant that you're really helpful; 'You are young and wisdom comes with age. I am only 17 after all. I too have a lot left to learn and figure out.' You said this and I actually thought you're quite wise already :smile: It probably sounded like I was trying to insult you, but that wasn't my intention.
    edited March 24
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  • AKmathAKmath 66 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Harvardgoal
    (P.S. My dream school is Yale)
    Bruh. What are you trying to do... No, seriously. Your extracurriculars are super random and don't portray anything about YOU (besides maybe the fact you want to be a super mega polyglot). Harvard quite frankly doesn't care if you speak 600, or 2-3 languages like most of their applicants. Unless studying languages is what you want to do, I'd probably say your number of languages right now is MORE than enough.

    Prestigious selective universities want to see a passion, drive and focus on one thing someone's passionate about. I'm part of my school's debate club and American Politics Club, as well as being a Boy Scout. I also founded my school's Model UN and Young Republicans Club. My best friend and I are also planning to start a political podcast/organization to promote republican/conservative values next year. I don't think anyone would be surprised that I want to be a lawyer/politician when I grow up.

    I don't see that in you. Your extracurriculars seem erratic and are there only to "pander" to admissions committees (which they aren't). Find what YOU are passionate about and do things that'll make you better in that. Your languages are kind of impressive but probably won't help you much. I would recommend you ONLY do the violin if you really like playing it. It's a high commitment instrument, and you shouldn't just play it to say so on your application. I play clarinet, but I really like doing so. I play in my school's Honor Band, Wind Ensemble, and with surrounding jointure bands. Your violin playing doesn't matter unless you make it part of your life and really appreciate it, and play it because YOU really want to.

    I know this is very long, but you can really benefit from my advice. Luckily your not even in high school yet, so you have time to change. In short, pick something you love, and pursue that in as many ways as possible. Hope this helps :) You can message me if you want.
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  • AKmathAKmath 66 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Harvardgoal
    Wait how are you 17 and in 8th grade?!
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  • HarvardgoalHarvardgoal 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @AKmath Yeah, I thought that about my extracurriculars too. I've decided to drop some things and do what I really want. And no, I'm not 17:)
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  • GOlions2024!GOlions2024! 9 replies1 threads New Member
    @AKmath To be quite frank, I find your post quite confusing and insulting. @Harvardgoal is allowed to do WHAT EVER extracurriculars she wants; who are you to judge her? It's ok if her activities are random and not joined together! If that's what she is interested in, that is OK. She is young, and I think it is great she doing many different things and exploring her passions.

    I would recommend you not badger 8th graders on this forum for being high achieving and having diverse passions.

    And, Harvard DOES care if you speak many languages; it's impressive. Plus, it sounds like she is genuinely interested in speaking different languages. Learning a language is a beautiful thing and can lead to cross-cultural connections.

    Plus, sometimes interests are not ALWAYS fun! Learning an instrument and languages are both difficult tasks; they require immense time commitments, years of dedication, and practice. I play the tuba, and sometimes, I have to practice when I don't want to. It's not always fun, but it is ultimately rewarding when I can play a challenging piece.

    I agree that she should do what she genuinely wants rather than what she thinks she should do, but I would not insult her and critique her decisions. She is young and learning!

    Anyways, I hope this post does not come across as overly blunt, and you also sound like a super accomplished person; you do many interesting extracurriculars, and I hope you can get into Yale at some point! Best of luck to you.
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  • flowergirl1214flowergirl1214 16 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @AKmath I find your post quite pretentious and uncalled for. Instead of bashing someone else's extra curriculars, and using this post to brag about your own EC's you could have been a bit nicer. You are literally also in 8th grade, and once you get to BS you will realize that slandering other people doesn't make you look better.
    @Harvardgoal One of the best college books that i've ever read focused on creating a narrative to showcase your passions. That is what you are doing here. You are obviously passionate about languages and you are taking steps toward continuing your passions. The worst thing one can do is try to seem passionate about something that they aren't passionate about, the admissions team can see right through you. Overall I think that you are taking the right steps to further your passions! Best of luck to you!
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  • compmomcompmom 11331 replies80 threads Senior Member
    Please, an 8th grader should not be "creating a narrative." I know you are trying to help, all of you. Live authentically and you will end up in the right place. Thinking about Harvard throughout your Harvard years can affect those years negatively, possibly all for nothing. Just live your life, work hard, be a good person, make friends...

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