50 Successful Harvard Application Essays, Second Edition: What Worked for Them Can Help You Get into the College of Your Choice

You've been told a million times how selective and random the college process is, how the personal essay is your one chance to speak directly to admissions officers and sway them in your favor. You have to be entertaining, persuasive, and passionate, while effectively conveying your personality, character, and ideals. And you only have five hundred words to accomplish this. 50 Successful Harvard Application Essays showcases the kinds of conventional and creative approaches that helped their authors get into the nation's most prestigious college. From coping with family tragedy to seeing Vietnamese soup as a metaphor for one's identity, the variety of topics covered in these essays will help you think about how to write about yourself creatively and effectively. Each essay is followed by a brief discussion written by a Harvard Crimson staff writer who analyzes its main strengths and weaknesses. Through this analysis and our Fifteen Steps to Success, you'll learn: -How to pick a topic -How to structure your essay -How to keep the reader entertained -How to avoid common pitfalls

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By Paris (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · April 08, 2012
The reason I like the book is because it has not only the good essays, but also the comments from the admission office. There are a lot of essays in the book talks about the Asian immigrants, even I am not an Asian immigrant, I am an international student, and I believe this book can definitely h... ...more
By Ivan (Apatity, 51, Russian Federation) · ★★★☆☆ · August 12, 2011
An applicant to Harvard should, of course, know better, than to read an essay book. However this wasn't the reason why I bought it an read it - my true wish was to catch a glimpse, albeit a distorted and then focused one, of the applicant pool. We are presented here, not quite with a guidance boo... ...more
By Austin (Ballwin, MO) · ★★★☆☆ · June 25, 2012
Interesting seeing into the minds of admissions officers more so than the applicants. Basically the kids that have the best shot have the same quirks as everyone else but can reveal their idiosyncrasies eloquently through a story without getting caught up in their own accomplishments. ...more
By Simon (Hong Kong) · ★★★★★ · April 03, 2009
Borrowed this book for my little sister who is applying to college.

A surprisingly good read. ...more
By Sara (Dubai, 03, The United Arab Emirates) · ★★★★☆ · November 12, 2012
This informational book,"50 Successful Harvard Application Essays" (180 pages) written by the staff of the Harvard Crimson, is an excellent tool that helps guide seniors struggling with writing the dreaded college essay. As colleges become more and more selective with each passing year, the perso... ...more
By Sohini (Bangalore, Karnataka, India) · ★★★☆☆ · May 03, 2013
I am a member of a library and this is a book I picked up casually. The title sounded interesting and though at present I have no plans of studying in any college in the United States, leave alone Harvard, I thought it would be a good idea to read the essays by those few who got selected into the... ...more
By Megan (New Rochelle, NY) · February 05, 2015
AMAZING. Their writing is fantastic and the reviews are very informational for students trying to write their college essays. ...more
By Ivan (Apatity, 51, Russian Federation) · ★★★☆☆ · August 12, 2011
An applicant to Harvard should, of course, know better, than to read an essay book. However this wasn't the reason why I bought it an read it - my true wish was to catch a glimpse, albeit a distorted and then focused one, of the applicant pool. We are presented here, not quite with a guidance boo... ...more
By Thao (Port Jefferson Station, NY) · ★★★★★ · January 15, 2011
I wish I had read this book before applying to US colleges. Very useful and provoke thinking. I pretend to be an admission office while reading it. That means I read many essays continuously in a day and then tried to remember them the next day, then choose 10 best out of 50. The best thing I lik... ...more
By Shannon (The United States) · ★★★☆☆ · March 06, 2013
This is a good reference. I am trying to perfect my application essays. I have one but I will be applying to more schools and I want a really strong essay! This is my 2nd ref. book and my choice one. Read this one if you need help for college applications. ...more