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State: California, USA High School: Private boarding school, 100 students in graduating class Ethnicity: Asian Gender: Male GPA: 4.0 out of 4.0 SAT: Reading 750, Math 750, Writing 800 ACT: n/a SAT Subject Tests Taken: Mathematics Level 2, Biology E/M, Literature Extracurriculars: Nonprofit director, Editor-in-Chief of student newspaper, Senior Editor of literary magazine, Art Prefect, varsity baseball player Awards: Williams Book Prize, National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, Scholastic Art and Writing Regional Gold Key Major: Government : A Houston-based academic preparation business with glowing feedback and global operations, The Brain Domain features college counseling, test preparation, and one-on-one tutoring tailored to students’ unique learning styles. Those few openings in between the tapestry of art were dotted with grubby little handprints, repurposed by some overzealous young artist as another surface for creative expression.ESSAY Bold white rafters ran overhead, bearing upon their great iron shoulders the weight of the skylight above. In the middle of the room lay two long tables, each covered with newspaper, upon which were scattered dried-up markers and lost erasers and bins of unwanted colored pencils. The older artists—myself included—sat around these tables with easels, in whatever space the limited confines of the studio allowed.
With the top applicants from every high school applying to the best schools in the country, it's important to have an edge in your college application. Because to me, there was only one "it," and "it" was a little less than two thousand miles west, an unassuming little office building located amidst a cluster of similarly unassuming little office buildings, distinguishable from one another on the outside only by the rusted numbers nailed to each door.
These are 10 Harvard application essays and profiles from students who made it in. Inside, crude photocopies of students' artwork plastered the once white walls.
Apart from surface manifestations altogether, this realm was simultaneously one of austere simplicity and aesthetic intricacy, of departure from realism and immersion in reality, of intense emotion and uninhibited expression.
It was the realm of lines that could tell stories, of colors and figures that meant nothing and everything.
Much like the prematurely grey anti-hero of my favorite book, I sneered at all the “phonies” around me. Defiance for the sake of defiance is unproductive at best, destructive at worst.
I believe in life’s greater Truths, like Love and Justice.My young adolescent ears drank in the raw, chaotic beauty, an echo of the pain of the past. I was neither, which automatically deemed me “uncool.” I had a few close friends but never felt like I was part of a whole. I listened to a wider variety of music, even the kind that wasn’t 100% hardcore punk. I revised my punk philosophy: Do as you like—whether it fits into the “system” or not.The thrashing, pulsating vitality of the instruments painted a picture, connecting me to the disillusioned kids who launched an epic movement of liberation some 40 years ago. Aggressively contrarian, they advocate for the other side—the side that seemed smothered silent during the post-Vietnam era. Then came the punk philosophy, for the outliers, for those who were different. Instead of trying to conform to my peers, I adopted an anti-conformist attitude. The Beatles’s “Revolution” lyrics sum it up well: What I think Lennon was getting at is questioning everything does not entail opposing everything.It was the difference between drawing a man's face and using abstraction to explore his soul.But thus was the fundamental gap in my artistic understanding—the difference between the surface realities that I wanted to depict, and the profound though elusive truths of the human condition that art could explore.No, it was not so clean and not so white and not so nice.But I have drawn—rather, lived—in this studio for most of my past ten years.Just as Bobby the new artist’s “lines began to unabashedly disregard the rules of depth or tonality,” so too did art slowly—from the playful light of Monet’s Impressionism, to the square faces of Picasso’s Cubism and the complete abstraction of Pollock’s expressionism—care less and less about how realistic it was and more about the message it conveyed.In Bobby’s words, “It was the difference between drawing a man's face and using abstraction to explore his soul.” Disclaimer: With exception of the removal of identifying details, essays are reproduced as originally submitted in applications; any errors in submissions are maintained to preserve the integrity of the piece.State: Maryland, USA High School: Public school, 450 students in graduating class Ethnicity: Black, African American Gender: Female GPA: 3.94 out of 4.0 SAT: Reading 750, Math 770, Writing 800 ACT: n/a SAT Subject Tests Taken: Mathematics Level 2, Biology E/M, U. History Extracurriculars: Shakespeare Club president/director, French Club president, literary magazine editor in chief, newspaper creative writing editor, preprofessional musical theater program outside of school Awards: Second place Poetry Out Loud competition, two honorable mentions in Scholastic Art and Writing awards, AP Scholar with Distinction Major: Philosophy Sponsored by The Brain Domain: A Houston-based academic preparation business with glowing feedback and global operations, The Brain Domain features college counseling, test preparation, and one-on-one tutoring tailored to students’ unique learning styles.ESSAY “Black Eyeliner Does Not Make You a Non-Conformist” Several years ago, my mother told me I listen to “white people music.” And I suppose that’s true—rock ‘n’ roll tends to spring from the middle-class basements of young, white men. I wasted so much energy on being different that I lost track of what actually made me happy.