Advice to applicants :)

<p>Hello hello you :)</p>

<p>I was just like you a year ago (and now this makes me feel really old aha!). I admit it: I kept visiting website unless I'd seen every single picture that would randomly get displayed on the home page. I toured the campus and raged about not being able to get into Annenberg Hall to see it for real. I literally refused to touch anything in the bookstore because I was way too superstitious. And yes, I confess, I even posted a chance thread on college confidential! Just like you, I felt Harvard was the perfect place to study. And everywhere I went, everyone would tell me how important it was to SET MYSELF APART from the other applicants. Now, I wondered, what did this mean? What could really set myself apart from the 25,000 something gifted kids who always seemed to have better SAT scores than mine and made me feel bad about my 670 in critical reading?</p>

<p>I thought about writing a novel. Patenting something. Getting involved in a zillion clubs I was not really so interested in. But then after thinking about it for a while, I realized that if I ended up not getting into my dream college, I would only be left with bitter memories of a high school journey throughout which I would have beaten myself up working hours on things I didnt like. </p>

<p>So I took one advice I had heard overtime but not really paid attention to until then: just do what you love. I dropped drama club and student council and concentrated on my passion for journalism and international affairs. Altough I loved peer tutoring, I felt it was too much pressure on the top of everything at the time and decided to get involved in Model United Nations and go on a volunteering trip in South America instead. My essays were certainly not that well written but they reflected exactly who I was and how I saw the world at the time.</p>

<p>And somewhat, somehow, I got into Harvard. I didnt have outstanding SAT scores. I hadnt won Intel. But I had decided to stop thinking about what admission officers were looking for (what did I knew about that anyway?) and to do what I really wanted. To me, the most important thing is not that I actually got in. It's that even if I had been rejected, I would have been happy with what I had done of my high school years. </p>

<p>Please please please, never forget that as you think about your college applications.</p>

<p>Good advice yo.</p>

<p>^ Agreed. Thank you for taking the time to post this -- it's especially valuable to all of us rising high school seniors who are just beginning to feel the stress/pressure that comes with the whole college application process.</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice :).</p>

<p>Excellent advice. I wish more people would really just pursue what they want as opposed to what they think others want -- after all, you're only young once :)</p>

<p>I've pursued skating for 10 WHOLE YEARS because that is what I always liked..
I've started studying economics and business only in the 11th grade because that is how it works in my country.. I've had no REAL business experience but I've had A LOT of informal talks with my father and grandfather about these things as they fascinated me.. Now that I have an insight into what these subjects actually are, I really want to get involved in something related to business or economics during the summer break before the 12th grade (senior year) begins.. Will this look like something I'm doing only to get into college even though I really want to do it?</p>

<p>I'm sure it wont :) As long as you show you are passionate about it you'll be fine (maybe you could write one of your essays about business and the talks you had with your family)! I think the important thing is that it's not just mentionned somewhere in your app without further comments/explanations!</p>

<p>Shall do that.. Thanks A LOT, Perle :)</p>

<p>Amazing advice! I thought all these colleges were looking for were top notch grades and amazing test scores. Guess i was wrong. Thanks. :D</p>

<p>Thank you.</p>

<p>Great advice! Thanks Perle!</p>

<p>Great post. Good advice, its nice to see a "success" story where doing what you loved actually worked.. instead of it going the other way which it often does.</p>

<p>I was lucky enough to be able to chase what I loved in high school as well, and it got me into Yale. </p>

<p>Congrats Perle!</p>

<p>this is the best advice I've heard yet, and it's that much more credible coming from someone who has "walked the walk." Glad to hear that everything went your way but I'm thrilled that you would have accepted the other outcome equally well.</p>

<p>Thanks Perle. Very motivational indeed.</p>

<p>Wow. This is very encouraging, especially for students like me who are stressing over retaking test after test...
Thank you!</p>

<p>Great post, Perle! I would like to echo the points that you made. I really didn't think I stood a chance at Harvard and its peers, but on April 1st I was pleasantly surprised. In retrospect, I can say with absolute confidence that what got me accepted was my demonstrated passion for a few things that I really love. That's really what Harvard wants -- a class that is extremely diverse, but, above all, each student passionate and ready to do great things in his or her areas of interest.</p>

<p>Congrats Eliana! :) I'm glad to see you also got in because you were passionate! You're totally right about what Harvard wants: I met with my admission officer at prefrosh weekend and my mom asked her what had made her pick my app over others. She said I had very strong journalism ECs and that she like my essays. So no grades, no scores made the difference! At a panel, some officers also insisted on how they were looking for special personality traits and could debate for over an hour on how one student presented unique qualities. That ultimately seemed to be what made the difference between an admitted and rejected/waitlisted student.</p>

<p>Imagodei, don't worry about retaking tests over and over. I used to worry too but I am pretty sure once you are above 2100 you're safe (actually I know an international student who got in with a 1850. English isnt his first language but still I think this shows how admission officers put scores into context and dont automatically overlook an app because of below-average scores). I'm definitely not an expert but I think Harvard would prefer its applicants to invest more time in ECs than in preparing to retake the SAT for the third or fourth time!</p>

<p>And to everyone, I'm glad you found this advice useful! It took me a looong time to figure this out and I wish someone had told it to me before I went through the whole admission process :)</p>

<p>Do what you're passionate about and Harvard takes you in???
Whoa.. I love Harvard!!!! :D</p>

<p>As a pessimist it's difficult to believe this, but I would REALLY REALLY REALLY love to think it's true.</p>

<p>Thank you Perle :)</p>

<p>That really is great advice. And considering that I am an international student from a little known university, I am hoping it will work for me too! :D</p>