Want a Full Ride to Harvard? Yeah, We Do Too

If I had to have a claim to fame, it might be being a Most Viewed Writer on Quora. If you aren't familiar with Quora, you aren't alone. Quora is an improved hybrid of Google and Ask Jeeves, where you can search for virtually any topic, and get answers to your questions from industry experts, … Continue reading “Want a Full Ride to Harvard? Yeah, We Do Too”

If I had to have a claim to fame, it might be being a Most Viewed Writer on Quora. If you aren't familiar with Quora, you aren't alone. Quora is an improved hybrid of Google and Ask Jeeves, where you can search for virtually any topic, and get answers to your questions from industry experts, rather than a robot. Although I would like to think of myself as an expert on Tacos and Austin, TX, I have great understanding and expertise in subjects like Higher Education in the United States and Scholarships. My gift to you during this wonderful month of February is to give you a list of the Most Frequently Asked Questions I receive, so I can help you better understand the mystical world of higher education in the United States.


To start, this is a very tall order. Getting a full-ride to any school in the United States is a challenge, and it is especially difficult to answer such a general question. Students need to understand that a school will only offer a full-ride if they see a student as a must-have asset to their university. The type of student qualities that each school considers to be "must-haves" varies, but they typically include a student in the top 1% of their class, with extracurricular involvement for 4+ years, while being involved in activities outside of school as well. Schools receive applications from hundreds of extremely qualified students who can't afford paying full tuition, however, that alone isn't a reason for them to offer you a full ride. Instead, you should ask yourself the question, "What makes me stand out that makes me deserve a full-ride over anyone else?" Play on those strengths you have on your application to help the admissions and financial aid office see why you are worthy of a full-ride scholarship.

Students also need to look into applying to scholarships as soon as possible. There are scholarships that are available to students as early as 7th and 8th grade, and it is up to you to search out for these scholarship opportunities on your own. Furthermore, you can look into loans and grants with small interest rates so you don't need to pay an unnecessary amount of money back to lenders. Do your research as early as you can.


This may be the # 1 asked question I have received, and my first reaction is "I don't know." The reason for this is that the admissions requirements and demographics that a university looks for, in their incoming freshman class, changes every year. The person who can provide you with the best answer to this question would be the admissions officer to the university, however, I don't recommend that you ask them this. Why? Because you and every other student wants to know the answer to this question, and this is not the route you should take to establish a relationship with an admissions officer.

Instead, think about how you can approach this question in a unique way. My suggestion would be to go to the School Profile that you're interested in on our site, for example San Diego State University, and input your scores into the "My Chances" section. Please note that in order to get the most accurate calculation to determine your chances of getting admitted, your Student Profile should be completely filled out with all of your academic accomplishments. If it seems that you have a shot at getting admitted, you can approach an admissions officer by saying, "After doing some research, I found that I have a fairly good shot of being admitted to your school. Have admissions criteria changed for the most recent incoming freshman class, and if so, can I learn about how to best increase my chances of getting admitted? "


Everyone wants to get into an Ivy League school, and unfortunately Ivy Leagues accept some of the smallest percentage of applicants they receive. If you haven't had a chance to read one of our recent posts about The Ivy Leagues, take a look at it. In order to get into an Ivy League school, your resume needs to be a dynamic combination of top grades, numerous extracurriculars with board positions, and work experience. Instead of asking how you can get into the Ivy Leagues, try asking, "How can I get into a school that is the best fit for me?" If you don't get into an Ivy League, but get into a school that seems to be a great fit for you, you aren't missing out on an educational opportunity by going to this lesser known school. Rather, you are allowing yourself to gain more valuable insight about your own interests and goals instead of worrying about keeping up with others. Good chance is that you'll be much happier in the long run.

Source by Kara Schell

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How to Enter Harvard Even if You Are Just Average

Only about 10% of all applicants get accepted to Harvard Business School. And until recently all but the top 20% of those accepted got in without an interview.

However, this average guy with a very average background got in, and got in without an interview.

It’s a story about how a former UPS package handler with mediocre grades and an average background used to get into Harvard Business School … shocking his friends in the process.

This applicant did not go to an Ivy League school. He did not work for a major investment bank. He did not work for a major consulting firm.

He had a 2.9 GPA when he attended Idaho State University and started off his career as a $ 8 / hour UPS package handler. Just an average guy by most definitions.

At the time, this applicant was not very familiar with Harvard Business School.

Yet, by sheer dumb luck he ended up following the same proven principles and strategies used by hundreds of other successful Harvard Business School applicants …

One of the fundamental flaws this applicant made early on was he focused on his weaknesses – instead of his strengths. Like all of us, he had some self-doubt. He kept thinking to himself, “Maybe I’m not Harvard Business School material.”

Fortunately, he shifted his mindset away from why he did not belong at Harvard Business School … and focused on why he did … and more importantly he communicated this in his application.

So instead of getting hung up on the fact that he started his career as a UPS package handler, he talked about how within months he ended up leading a team of 50 package handlers.

He explained how the 50 people he inherited were constantly bickering and fighting amongst each other. He discussed how he figured out the cause of the real problem, what he thought to himself at the time, and what he did about it.

Finally, he talked about the results he achieved … how within 90 days it was one of the best running teams in the sorting facility. He did all this when he was only 22 years old.

To his friends at the time, he was the “UPS Guy.” They would have never suspected he would be Harvard Business School material because they could not hear what was going on in this leader’s head.

But, Harvard Business School did – through his application. They probably thought, “How many people in the world could have done that? And this applicant did it when he was 22.

This applicant told them exactly what he did next. He told them how later in his life he lived in the inner city of Chicago while working for a well-known company. He shared how as a tall “white” guy he mentored dozens of African-American teenagers that lived on his block.

He talked about how he was a role model, a leader really, that helped the kids on his block steer their lives away from drugs and violence. He showed Harvard Business School how he did all this even after working all day at his “day job”.

He discussed what happened to the neighborhood kids when he moved out of Chicago. These teenagers had become leaders themselves. These teenagers took over where this person left off … by getting their friends to stay away from drugs and violence.

This applicant demonstrated his success in one of the toughest leadership challenges – creating leaders.

This applicant showed Harvard Business School how he was a leader, how he is a leader, and how he will continue to be a leader. He showed Harvard Business School how he had a great leadership trajectory – the key to getting into Harvard Business School.
Harvard Business School saw in his application someone who was going to be a leader in whatever he did in his life. Despite his weaknesses, they saw his potential … his trajectory … and they wanted him as an alumnus.

How badly did they want him?

He got in without an interview. In his year, Harvard Business School accepted around 10% of all applicants and interviewed all but the top 20% of those admitted. He was in the top 2% of all applicants.

Pretty impressive for someone who was just a “UPS Guy” and did not think he was Harvard Business School material.

The moral of the story? The best way to convince people (Harvard evaluators are people, too, you know) of your leadership potential is knowing how to write all the little leadership experiences you have had when you were still a student, a fresh graduate, a rookie employee, a junior executive, and so on ..

Source by Ismael Tabije

How Hard is it to Get Into Harvard?

So, do you really want to know how hard is it to get into Harvard? Well, I'd like to say nothing is impossible! But getting into Harvard is definitely not going to be easy. While Harvard is one of the most coveted universities that all parents want to send their kids to, they do have a variety of criterion for selecting absolutely the best ones, not only academically but with co-curricular activities as well. As already said they want intelligent and smart people who know how to excel in life. Harvard wants the creme. It wants individuals who are intelligent and realistic, confident yet modest, sociable and reclusive, sporty and creative, literary and technical with President Obama being a perfect example.

Yes, grades do play an important role, and you do need to have a very strong GPA to be eligible for consideration. When we talk of grades, we are talking about the grades for your entire school life. But, there have been cases where students with much lower GPAs but with certain other notable achievements to their credit made it into Harvard too.

So, what matters here is not academic altitude rather your attitude. It is your attitude that will decide your fate into Harvard. Harvard wants people -who can be bold leaders and still follow others; who can enjoy a formal dinner and a pajama party with equal ease; Who can spend countless hours researching in the library and can volunteer a social cause the next moment. You need a breadth of skills, drive and initiative to prove your worth and most importantly you must enjoy whatever you do. Yes, it does sound a bit too much, but all is worth its cause. Harvard undoubtedly produces leaders and wants people who believe in themselves and who want to achieve something in life. How hard is it to get into Harvard is not the question, it's how hard you make it for yourself to get into Harvard. You will need to begin with an early ambition in life and see it through, believe in everything you do, devise a plan, work towards a goal and miss nothing. Most importantly be honest with yourself and whatever you associate yourself with, then let it be your job or a club. People who are honest will always get noticed and only those who think big and believe in their abilities stand a chance here.

Harvard basically focuses on three aspects – grades, extracurricular achievements, individual strengths and an essay. Yes, Harvard gives a lot of importance of essays for selecting its freshmen. The essays should focus on distinct topics and be very very well-written. An essay that best conveys your personal thoughts guarantees an admission. And yes, last but not the least, recommendations. If you have had great student-teacher relations, you might as well have some real nice and uplifting recommendations written by some of the teachers who loved you as a student. Now how hard is it to get into Harvard? You answer!

"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally." -David Frost

Source by Ronni Rebsdorf

College Admissions Essay Tips and Hints

No pressure – for success just remember a bad essay topic can destroy your chances of getting into a selective college, however, a strong essay topic will be in your favor for a positive admissions decision.

You need to look at this as your chance of a lifetime! It’s one of the things in your admissions packet you can control. Actually, next to deadlines, it’s the only thing. Improving grades or test scores could happen, but it would probably take too long and time is not on your side in the college admissions process. So, let’s get at this and figure out what you can do to improve your admissions essay.

Practical Items: no typos, spelling errors, grammar errors. I was on a scholarship committee and read several hundred essays, I’m not the best writer in the world so when I found an error I quit reading. Seriously, why should I continue to read your essay/application when I have a stack of 40 other applications? I shouldn’t. You should respect your reader and submit an application that is error-free. I’m not joking. My co-workers thought I was crazy, but I quit reading. Done. No more chances for you! Remember this as you are writing your essay. Have someone else check it. Word of caution, be careful how many suggestions you have on your essay. Don’t lose your voice! Once you start getting people to change your grammar, you might end up with a hodge-podge of writing styles that don’t flow.

Entertain me: Please don’t make your essay boring. I know, you are freaked out that your writing is being judged. But be yourself. Think about this paper you are currently reading … do you get a sense of my personality? I sure hope so. Although it’s not a formal paper, I am communicating with you and you do get a flavor of my personality. This is important! Remember the stack of essays I read? Your application needs to stick out of that pile. So be yourself. Write from your heart. Write about something you have passion for because it will come through on the paper. Let us know who you are through your writing and by all means, don’t bore me!

Be different: Just don’t be too different. I had an art teacher in 5th grade that would always tell us, “look beyond the obvious”. This does not mean write backward, or in secret code. That will annoy me. What it does me is use a controversial topic. You won’t offend the reader. They may disagree with you, but if you use the opportunity to develop a thesis with topic sentences, arguments and you can justify your point without spelling errors it will work to your advantage. Some of the best essays I read were about topics I disagreed with and you know what, they presented their arguments and justified them. Now at the end of the day, they were wrong, because I’m right, but their application was helped by their passion in their writing.

Watch what you say: Oh crap, did you read the last sentence I wrote. I sound snobby. I admit it! But guess what my tone doesn’t matter as much as yours. I’m trying to learn something … You must express your opinion without offending! Use caution to make sure your personality comes through without being condescending, materialistic, snobby, elitist, or simply sounding like a jerk. I’m right about this. (Again, there I go with the tone)

Finally, Stop! Stop already. Don’t write too much, if you can condense two paragraphs into one, that’s the way to write. Respect your reader, they’re tired and probably bored by the 50 applications they just read. Imagine if you had to pay a dollar a letter, you would conserve the number of words. And FYI why would anyone use text-speak? Don’t.

Source by J Clare Anderson

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