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10 Elements for the perfect Harvard Application Essay

Published on February 23, 2023

blog Harvard Trending

10 Elements for the perfect Harvard Application Essay

10 tips to write a better Harvard Essay

First impressions are important. And how often do you get a chance to write a thousand words to perfectly embody who you are? When you are applying to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, you need to stand out from the rest of the pack. From the stacks of essays they receive, what will make the words jump off the pages that contain yours? How will you convince them that you deserve a shot?

Well, we’ve compiled a list of tips that will help you get started when you’re first putting pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard).

1. Authenticity gets you far

Choose topics, themes, and points of view that truly reflect your own. This will help you take a more honest and passionate approach when writing, which will be evident to the reader. Skip the big words and the jargon if that’s not who you are. Tap into your unique humour, intelligence, and natural way of speaking.

2. Get them hooked from the beginning

You’ll be competing with thousands of other essays, so getting the reader interested from the first paragraph will help your case. Seize their imagination in the first paragraph. Start with a statement that will get the reader scratching their heads. As many action movie directors would have proved, it’s better to drop the audience into a loud and fast scene and get to explanations later.

3. Dive into deeper and more meaningful themes

What makes you tick? What are the pivotal moments in your life that have led you to write this essay today? Committees are rarely impressed by dry numbers and stats but can be moved by an honest story. They want to see your drive and ability.

4. Showing is better than telling

Don’t just tell them you have dozens of awards, tell them your favourite one and the story of how you got it. The point is that you should use anecdotes and storytelling to showcase your accomplishments rather than just stating them outright.

5. Go against the strain

It’s difficult to be different if you try. The best you can do is look at it from your unique perspective. Don’t say what you think they want to hear, but the truest version of your story that they NEED to hear

6. Think about who’s gonna be reading, then write

Keep it smooth and easy to read. Use transitions between paragraphs and build sound arguments from start to finish. Knowing who you’re writing to, will help you answer the questions they may ask while reading the essay, and include the answer.

7. One draft is never enough

Start the process as early as possible. If you have multiple months in hand, use them all. Write your first draft, and set it aside. Come back to it a week later and see if your perspective has changed. The first and the final draft are very rarely the same.

8. Read it out loud

When you read it out loud, you often hear clunky and badly formed sentences that you can improve. After multiple drafts, it can be easy for things to get overseen.

9. Ask others to read your essay

Be open to criticism. You don’t have to show everybody, just the people whose opinion you would like on the matter. Criticism does not come from a place of malice but is in your own self-interest. Take notes, and consider how you may be able to adapt the content according to the feedback. Check with your parents, siblings, teachers, or close friends.

10. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Though there may not be a strict word limit, keeping things concise and impactful will work better than having the reader lose interest midway. Check if your font is readable and do multiple spell checks.

Are you looking for the perfect course to give you that extra edge over your competitors? We got you covered.

The Harvard Youth Leadership Conference, conducted by Harvard Mentors trained by the Leadership Institute at Harvard, develops high school kids like you into self-assured collaborators, communicators, and problem-solvers who will address global concerns and drive change for the future.

Over the course of the five days, students collaborate in mentor-led groups to comprehend a global issue—whether it be poverty, mental health issues, or climate change to create a social change project and address it. After completing the program, participants have the option of receiving mentorship for a full year to carry out their project.

The program is distinctive in that our mentors are current Harvard University students who have gained priceless experience and knowledge at a young age and know what it means to create social impact.

We really hope you get that admission and can be the 4% of applicants that actually make it to your dream school Harvard!

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Financial Aid vs Scholarships

Published on February 9, 2023

blog Harvard Trending

Financial Aid vs Scholarships


Though the terms “scholarship” and “financial aid” very often are used interchangeably the main difference between the two is that “scholarship” as a term and as a phenomenon in the academic and educational industry is considered to be a component of “financial aid”. Thus “scholarship” is only a small portion of “financial aid”.

Other types of financial aid are “fellowships”, “grants”, “travel grants”, “studentships”, “loans”, “tuition fee waivers”, “study allowances”, etc, but the “scholarship” remains the most popular type of “financial aid”.

Financial Aid and Ivy League Colleges

“Our goal is to bring the most promising students to Harvard—period. We’ve created a financial aid program to help ensure that admitted students can afford their Harvard education. Our financial aid officers will work closely with your family to understand your financial situation, then create a comprehensive financial aid package that accounts for the full cost of attendance and determine need based on your family’s income, assets, and overall financial circumstances.”

– Harvard Admissions Office

“Princeton is attainable, accessible, and affordable. Our aid program is designed to encourage all qualified students — regardless of financial circumstances — to consider applying for admission to Princeton. . Princeton admission is need-blind — there is no disadvantage in the admission process for financial aid applicants. If offered admission, Princeton will meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need with grant aid.”

– Princeton Admissions Office

Financial aid to Ivy League schools is only based on financial need, not academics. So if you meet low-income criteria, then most of the Ivy League schools will meet the full financial need if accepted.

To conclude “Financial aid” in the context of education is a term to describe any type of financial assistance to students and researchers to cover necessary costs of education such as the tuition fee, living costs and accommodation costs. Financial aid may be of different types and depending on the type it may be as a gift or as a debt, that should be returned within a certain amount of years.

Scholarship is a division of financial aid and only describes financial assistance as a gift with no obligation to return the received money to the scholarship provider.

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blog Harvard | 3min Read

5 Reasons to join the Harvard Leadership Bootcamp!

Published on July 22, 2022

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5 Reasons to join the Harvard Leadership Bootcamp!

If you are looking to strengthen your leadership skills and learn more about them, the Harvard Leadership Bootcamp brought to you by The Big Red Group, is the best fit for you! Keep reading to find out why!!

1. First offline program after 3 years!!

After 3 years of hosting our programs online due to the pandemic, we are finally back with an offline one! The Harvard Leadership Bootcamp brings in the brightest undergraduate students from Harvard to mentor students in an intensive 2 day Bootcamp. They aim to transform the idea of leadership from a one-sided theoretical lecture into a fun, collaborative and empathetic life skill and turn high school students into effective leaders. This is going to be a level up from all our previous programs and you do not want to miss out !!

2. Learn from the young Harvard mentors from the Leadership Institute at Harvard College!

The Bootcamp will be presented by 9 mentors who are members of The Leadership Institute at Harvard College- a student organization devoted to fostering the awareness, skills, and values of leadership among Harvard undergraduates! LIHC aims to inspire and empower students to fulfil their leadership potential at Harvard, in their communities, and their world. Consequently, these 9 mentors are thoroughly trained and have garnered immense experience with leadership at a young age. They strive to create an open-minded and relatable atmosphere, where our students are not dictated to but actively participate in the process to define what leadership means. They will serve as advisors and friends to the students, breaking down intimidating age-based authority structures and treat you not as blank canvases waiting to be filled, but as bright youngsters with insightful perspectives of their own, that are just waiting to be realized by the rest of the world!!

And more!..

3. Learn how to navigate challenges with confidence and poise.

Students will learn invaluable lessons in problem-solving, innovation, negotiation, teamwork and more, which will better equip them to navigate challenges with confidence. 

Let’s see what Neeraja Asnani of Shiv Nadar School- a student who has been trained by a few of these mentors in the past- has to say about her biggest takeaway: “I learnt how to be a better leader and how by using the root cause analysis I can find a solution to each and every problem!”

Our students leave the Bootcamp as empathetic individuals who can gauge people and problem-solvers that can find a way out of any challenge!

4. Become a confident communicator and master the art of public speaking.

The Bootcamp will develop the students into confident speakers both on the stage and in conversations by deep diving into elevator pitches, and learning to debate and defend their opinions. Being around the brightest students from across the country, that too in an offline setting will facilitate sharing of ideas, perspectives, and collaboration and will subsequently strengthen communication skills!! The skills of public speaking and communication hence imbibed from the program will ultimately prepare students for their college, and career, as well as aid their networking in general life.

5. Say goodbye to lectures and learn through interactive activities!

Leadership isn’t a rigid concept; it is an ever-evolving idea that means different things to different people. And as such, it can’t be taught through rote teaching and memorising. That is why at the Bootcamp, we ditch one-way lectures and invigorate your unique thought process through a ton of out-of-the-box activities! From plane crash role-plays to writing letters to your future self to designing your dream party; learning has never been more fun!

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blog Harvard | 3min Read

My Experience As A First Time Attendee of the Harvard YLC Conference

Published on June 30, 2022

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My Experience As A First Time Attendee of the Harvard YLC Conference

As a first time attendee of the Harvard Youth Lead The Change conference, I was not sure of what to expect. Would we spend the week debating different styles of leadership? Would the mentors lecture us about different world leaders, revealing their sorrows and successes along the way? Would we be expected to be extroverted, public-speaking savants, vibrating with our desire to change the world? 

The Harvard YLC conference was all of these things; and yet, I was left pleasantly surprised. The debates about leadership were lively, and not droning. The lectures about different world leaders were less lectures and more asides — the mentors were less interested in leaders of yore, and much more curious about the future leaders sitting and learning from them. The expectation to participate in discussions and share our opinions was definitely there; but it was not a compulsion, but a choice. 

The YLC mentors and guests always tried their best to assure that the atmosphere was casual: the students felt free to crack jokes, bring in pop-cultural references to make their points—fierce discussions about the primacy of Taylor Swift and One Direction were common; and felt free to debate the merits of pineapple on pizza. The unique icebreakers like everyone sharing their favorite smells, and the mentors’ insistence on creating an equal, common ground between themselves and their students helped develop a safe space for one and all; a space where mentors and students alike felt comfortable being vulnerable and learning and growing in the company of peers. 

Along the 7-days program, students were introduced to a range of leadership and adjacent concepts like leadership styles, conflict resolution techniques, personality styles, social impact, etc. They were also given the opportunity to explore and understand how these different concepts can help them grow as learners and leaders. However, opting for an unconventional approach, none of these complicated concepts were introduced to the students through academic jargon. 

Instead, the conference organized curious and fun activities (e.g.: design a party; defend an absurd claim like, why should you punch a dolphin; create an origin story for a random word in 30 seconds, create a story around a popular meme, etc.) which both helped the students hone their creative and public speaking skills, and also explained novel concepts to them through accessible examples. 

The conference closed off with the students presenting their social impact projects in front of their peers and parents. Concerns across the board like accessible education, violence against women, mental health, etc. were brought to the table. The out-of-the-box ideas and approaches exhibited in these presentations were a delight to be a part of. More than that, however, it was wonderful to see young learners sympathize with and attempt to tackle global problems which do not necessarily affect their lives. The sheer joy, curiosity, and empathy exhibited by these students along the conference, and especially through their ongoing social impact projects, is a solid testament to the success of the Harvard YLC conference’s unique educational approach. 

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blog Harvard Leadership | 2min Read

Social Change Projects That Went Live at Harvard YLC Program

Published on May 30, 2022

blog Harvard Leadership

Social Change Projects That Went Live at Harvard YLC Program

Are you someone that is passionate about bringing a positive change to the world? Do you want to lead the struggle against pertinent issues like discrimination, climate change, poverty and inequality?

At Harvard Youth Lead the Change (a leadership development program for students in grades 8-12), our students provide real tangible solutions to social causes that they are extremely passionate about. Guided by expert mentors from Harvard, students take on issues such as water scarcity, discrimination, mental health and more through their intensive social change projects, many of which go live into the real world! 

In the process, students become more empathetic, aware, confident and conscious individuals, equipped with skills of negotiation, research, leadership, teamwork and more!

Check out projects from our students that have gone live and benefited thousands of people!

1. Project Drakht

Started by Taahira Bhalla and Sia Bishnoi of The Shri Ram School, Moulsari – both from YLC 2016 – Project Drakht was set up to provide Ferozepur Meo, an underprivileged village in Haryana, with access to clean water. After conducting research and interviewing locals, they came up with a creative solution based around  the water-purifying properties of the Moringa Oleifera (drumstick) trees.

Project Drakht ended up helping nearly 2,200 people from 300 families and is an example of how you can turn your budding ideas into full-fledged social change at Harvard YLC!

Click here to read more about the project! 

2. Project Veerangana

Project Veerangana, created during the YLC June 2021 conference, aims at creating equality between genders in India and eliminating violence against women. They solve this problem by creating awareness and educating adolescents through a curriculum delivered in different forms like videos or podcasts and through interviews with victims of violence. They collaborate with various NGOs and self-defence experts to empower women and be aware of their legal rights. Read more about them here!

3. Project Teens4Teens

Teens4Teens is a mental health, nonprofit organisation for teenagers and by teenagers, with the aim to spread awareness about mental health and the problems faced by every teenager. The idea for teens4teens originated at Harvard YLC 2016 and now, they have a following of over 9,000 and are doing exceptional work in the field of mental health. Check them out here!

Do you want to solve the issues you are passionate about through a social change project made under the guidance of Harvard Mentors? Check out Harvard Youth Lead the Change!

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