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Harvard University Personal Statement – A Complete Guide for Every Aspirant

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Determined to seek admission at Hardware University? 

Many of the internationally popular political leaders, entrepreneurs and social activists are Harvard Alumni. 

One thing that can work in favour of your application to Harvard is your personal statement. 

In this blog, we are specifically covering every element of a Harvard personal statement. 

This guide covers: 

  • The overall structure of personal statement for Harvard
  • 3 Harvard personal statement examples 
  • Practical tips from experts
  • A final checklist

Why is Harvard Personal statement important?

Harvard University, being the most elite academic institution in the world, is very particular about the quality, vision, background, experiences and standards of its students. Students are carefully handpicked after a series of screening processes. The preliminary screening involves evaluating the personal statement for Harvard.

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How to Get into Harvard?

The admission acceptance rate to Harvard is about 4.6%, making it one of the most difficult universities in the world to get into. However, if you meet the eligibility and do a few things in the correct way, you can still try your luck.

  • All applicants are treated equally with no preference for anyone from any particular region. 
  • First-year candidates are required to abide by the coalition application or common application procedure. 
  • All applicants to the visiting undergraduate students’ program are required to clear the TOEFL exam with an individual score of 26 for each module (reading, writing, speaking and listening). 
  • Students can avail a fee waiver by contacting the Coalition Application Board and meeting their specific indicators of economic need. 

Why is A Compelling Personal Statement Crucial for Realizing Your Harvard Dreams?

With a carefully curated Harvard university personal statement, you can beat the odds and make your way into your dream university. Here is how. 

  • Personal statement talks to the admission panel on behalf of you. 
  • Personal statement acts as a true reflection of you which the admission panel can take for granted. 
  • Personal statement for Harvard provides the selection panel with a picture of your communication skills. 
  • Through your  Harvard personal statement, you can show the selectors that you match the candidate profile that they are looking for. 
  • In your personal statement, you can substantiate your skills and experience with evidence and make your application strong. 

What Does Harvard University Admission Committee Look for in Your Personal Statement?

Harvard admission panel receives thousands of applications each admission season. As a personal statement is one of the initial screening parameters, they will consider the following things when they check the document. 

  • Adherence of the document to the guidelines by Harvard.
  • Whether the write-up has been written in the prescribed format. 
  • Uniqueness of the applicant – whether the write-up truly reflects the unique personality traits of the applicant.
  • Whether the applicant has succeeded in proving his suitability to the specific program by substantiating relevant experience, skills, strengths and so forth. 
  • The originality of the personal statement. Harvard University expects each applicant to submit a 100% original personal statement.

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How to Write a Killer Personal Statement for Harvard?

When writing a personal statement for Harvard, it is important to take a unique approach with a strong realization that a perfect document is essential for your admission. 

Review personal statement prompts: Harvard has been following a similar prompt for the personal statement for quite some time. These prompts include: 

  • What would you want us to know more about you as we consider your application for admission to Harvard University? 
  • What matters to you the most and why do they? 

Tailor your answers to the prompts:

As you prepare to write your Harvard MBA personal statement or whichever program, keep these prompts at the centre of your answering strategy. 

Read samples to enhance exposure:

As a first-time writer, many of your doubts regarding the personal statement can be resolved by reading Harvard personal statement examples. 

Prepare an outline first:

Don’t start writing your personal statement before preparing an outline. The outline would help you keep your points in order and also avoid repetition. 

Sound likable:

In your personal statement, try to sell yourself as a likeable candidate. Harvard wants to ensure that its students are likeable to their classmates. 

Ensure quality:

The quality of your personal statement is influenced by several factors such as lack of mistakes, use of correct format, comprehensiveness, engagement and reflectiveness. Ensure all. 

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Harvard Personal Statement Examples

The ever-adapting nature of law to the evolving society makes it an avenue intriguing enough for me. I was in my early teens when the idea of law struck me. I was actually going through one of the articles in a journal related to law. In the back of my mind, I recalled that almost all the incidents that surface on newspapers and television channels have something to do with law, be it business, crime, politics, or even an iPhone being rolled out across the borders. It was a wonder, I thought, to relate a diverse array of aspects to a single word, ‘law’. I also reflected that law keeps evolving faster than most other aspects in society to keep up its pace with things it is concerned with. I believe law to be the cogs in the society’s machinery. For humans to function coherently, law comes with certain deterrents and guidelines.

As I matured, I started reading legal thrillers like “The Broker”. My opinion about law is that it largely constitutes public conscience, that differentiates right actions from the wrong ones. In an effort to enhance my understanding of law, I spent 10 weeks interning at a solicitor’s office in Ahmedabad. This first-hand exposure significantly leveraged my understanding of the industry. Besides, my orientation largely complimented my efforts to embrace the career that appeals to me the most. Given my uncle is an advocate, I got the opportunity to attend several hearings at the district court over the last five years. Observing cases and taking notes, I streamlined my profile with an LLB degree from one of the most reputed institutes in India. Now that I would like to gain an international exposure to the legal domain, I braced up to pursue the Master’s program from your esteemed university.

My specific interest in law revolves around human rights law and equality. In India, cases of murders and injustice due to communalism are numerous. Growing up in the largest democracy in the world, I got an opportunity to study cases that interest me the most. Looking forward, I wish to gain adequate knowledge on international human rights. This would bestow me with a broader perspective of the global laws, as I practise in my homeland, India. Through my experiences, I have developed a foundational knowledge on how politics and society need legal interference at the ground level to sustain peace and harmony. Regardless of the complexity of the matter, I have resolved to channelize my efforts and gain adequate experience to evolve as a human rights lawyer.

I would acknowledge that it was my rather empathetic nature that pushed me further to embrace law. Right from an early age, I made up my mind to work for society and help people who need it the most. Meanwhile, during my college days, I volunteered at Hope Foundation and another local NGO, serving the homeless and distributing blankets during the winter. Academically, I have been consistent all these years, and scored prolifically in my graduation. During this time, I developed my ability to carry out independent research, write concisely and effectively and come up with convincing arguments. Integrating myself into various extracurricular activities like public speaking proactively, I significantly enhanced my oratory skills. It also boosted my confidence to address groups and debate contemporary issues. During my leisure hours, I love engaging myself in politics, watching cricket and reading crime and legal fiction. All these skills would complement my future endeavours to shine in a career of law.

As a resilient and confident young man, I look forward to materialising my professional goals. As always, I remain a diligent and focused individual, keen to find a berth in your revered institute. I also look forward to enhancing the academic ambience at your university through peer learning and knowledge sharing. Integrating myself into this progressive learning environment will spearhead my professional profile significantly.

Take a moment to go through the below given Harvard personal statement example PDF to enhance your confidence before writing it. 

Download Harvard Personal Statement Example PDF

Example 2 – Harvard Law Personal Statement Example

Example 3 – Harvard MBA Personal Statement

Professional Tips for Making Your Harvard Personal Statement Error-free

It is proven that applicants submitting professionally written personal statements for Harvard are more likely to secure admission. 

How do professionals make it? 

We are sharing those expert tips with you here.

Keep a balanced approach:

Personal statements shouldn’t limit to talking about achievements. Talk about instances of failures as well and highlight how you overcame them. 

Give experiences leading to goals:

One common factor that many successful Harvard personal statements had was they extensively talked about candidates’ personal experiences that influenced their goals. 

Incorporate core values:

Your personal statement should incorporate six core values namely appropriateness, honesty, likeability, thoughtfulness, humility and reflectiveness. 

Use active voice:

Try to use active voice as much as possible. Using passive voice will make the essay sound more detached and cause it to lose its engagement with the reader.

Proofread and correct:

Finally, ensure zero mistakes in your personal statement by carefully proofreading it word by word and rectifying all mistakes in it. 

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Final Checklist

  • Have you clearly mentioned your area of interest in the course and the reasons? 
  • Have you proofread your personal statement? 
  • Have you used proper grammar, punctuation and spelling? 
  • Have you demonstrated your suitability for the course? 
  • Have you ensured the readability of your personal statement?

Did We Help You?

We would like to know how helpful this blog was to you. 

Are you confident now to write a personal statement for Harvard? 

How likely are you to recommend this blog to someone who is looking for guidelines regarding Harvard personal statements writing? 

Your feedback and suggestions help us strive for perfection in our work. 

We highly encourage you to take a moment to write them in the comment section below. 

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I'm Anjit.V.S, freelance writer, academic documentation expert, and brand consultant. Having worked with thousands of students and global brands, I bring extensive and diversified experience to every project. Crafting compelling narratives and devising strategic branding solutions are my forte. With an unflinching commitment to excellence, I consistently deliver impeccable results. Whether it's shaping brand identities, drafting academic documents or brainstorming marketing strategies, you can confidently rely on me to bring innovation and expertise to the table. Let's collaborate and elevate your brand together!

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