my name is Michael Wu and today I’m going to talk to you about how I got into Harvard I’m gonna take you through from the very beginning steps what I did at the very end and all my different thoughts mentality and advice that I have for you in between alright so let’s get into it um just like you I last year as an incoming senior was very lost going into this process and all with that I was good a bit overwhelmed too I remember watching all these different videos on YouTube just like you and being a little confused and overwhelmed with the total amount of work that I had because I had this vague idea of how much work it was gonna be but I didn’t know the specifics and I didn’t want to find out because it felt like this huge undertaking so if that’s you right now I just want to reassure you that with some perspective now looking back college applications was one of the best time periods of my life and I know you’ll never ever hear anyone else say that but honestly for me the way I approached it was I think pretty unique and pretty different and I’m not just saying this because the decision ended up being one that I I really was happy about I mean that like the process was an incredibly rewarding experience for me I grew so much as a person and began to really like understand who I was more and so there’s a lot of like there’s a lot of potential in this application for you to find yourself and make this something more than just like a burden or a task that you don’t want to do so that’s that’s kind of like the the first piece of advice that I’d give now taking you back to the very beginning and the process I took first you better get inspired I remember going to the East Coast for the first time with my dad and going on a college tour of um the different schools I was thinking about applying to and it was just an incredibly inspiring experience to see these schools feel the vibe on campus see these really passionate people and it just drove me to get started on college applications if you can’t do that there are a ton of different ways for you to get inspired online videos you can watch research that you can do you don’t have to go visit these colleges but I’d say the first thing that you want to do is get inspired and that’s key right so once you do that I came home and really began methodically planning out this process so the number two piece of advice that I give you is you have to be disciplined during this process all right so that that’s key you want to start early and you’re gonna promise yourself that you’re gonna stick to deadlines that you make the specific way that I did this was I made a list of all the schools that I was going to apply to and planned out all the different essay deadlines and when they were due and also like all the different essays that they required to as well and then from there I put those essays into a Google Calendar and then plotted out everything that I had to do for the entire year actually and that made me feel a lot less overwhelmed that really helped the process because when you break down into smaller steps it becomes a lot more manageable and you can get started with writing your essays alright so the third piece of advice that I think is really important is on empathy basically you want to put yourself in the shoes of what it’s like to be a college admissions officer right um understand that process of what it’s like to go through thousands of essays and try to understand what would make a certain applicant stand though college applications officers are people first and foremost they are human so you want to make them feel emotions too when you’re writing your essays that’s the biggest thing right so to put yourself in their shoes and see what it’s like to be them you really want to understand what they look for as well in a school and every school is different right so every admissions officers will look for different things so you want to figure out what each admissions officer littel value and then figure out from there try to not change yourself as a person but make sure that your values and things like that are reflected within that essay and and make them watch you as an applicant and make sure you talk about that fit so yeah that’s a third point on empathy all right so now the fourth piece of advice is on introspection and how to do that right I just this general disclaimer you don’t have to be a great essay writer to write a great personal statement or supplements a it’s all about presenting who you are as a person and really looking within and digging deep and figuring out who you are and what makes you different from others those are the two main questions that you want to think about if you don’t come up with answers immediately it’s totally okay these are really difficult questions but in general the people that end up doing the best in college applications in life in general are the people that give these difficult questions the most fun right so you want to begin thinking and set aside enough time for you to really dig deep and understand who you are what makes you different keypoint because you really got to think about who you are as an individual and what makes you different from your friends right so that’s different from Who am I because now you want to think about why you’re different and you want to communicate that to your college to the college admissions officer that’s that’s all college apps really are who am i and what makes you different for me I remember the process I supposedly remember the thinking that I went through as well I wanted to I didn’t want to fall into that typical stereotype of like oh he’s just this other just another Asian kid with good test scores and does science research because I felt like that wasn’t just who I was as a person right and there’s nothing wrong with doing any of those things I did those right it’s just that like you’ve got to understand that college admissions officers are reading thousands of essays about kids who do research or kids who do their clubs and you’re gonna find a way that makes yourself stand out and you’re going to think about like as a person what makes me different from others and you really got to give that a lot of thought just to talk about my two essays and my like Harvard application when I submitted like maybe that’ll help you like it maybe that’ll help inspire you a little bit in terms of what I talked about in my personal statement it was about the failures that I experienced and as a result of those failures how I was able to push through and like grow as a person and that sounds like a very generic topic right but I made it I made it mine and I made it special so I have a lot of different scars that like I’ve accumulated in my 18 years of existence a lot of different times I fought on a bike or like done stupid things in high school 33 that really stood out for me one I like stabbed myself with a scalpel while working at my chem lab it was pretty bad and I was like one of the scariest moments of my life there was a lot of blood I got like stitches to cover it up on my hand so I talked about that so like that was one of the moments another moment was when I fell on a hurdle and it was really bad and I like tore myself up and then the third moment was when I broke my foot during spirit week sophomore year for as a part of student council so I took all those those defining moments I think of failure for me and I tied them together to this concept of fiscal skaars and how these scars are representations of my personality what drives me what motivates me and how I push myself past the edge and pass a limit of what I’m capable of and that kind of allows me to be successful in what I do those are the ways that I made myself stand out as an applicant not only did I like talk about what was authentic to me and real to me I also made it made sure that it fit the school as well and talked about how there was a fit and it made the admissions officers really want me as an applicant so that’s that’s my process of writing that says or that that’s like how I those are the two essays that I wrote about in terms of how I came up with them when you’re doing great storming or writing you really want to make sure that you’re focused in and you’re locked locked in a room or something you’re you’re in places that you’re productive in and you know I remember going to the local libraries I would go to parks different places to just sit down and think about myself and write material so that’s what I would say in terms of writing that’s my advice you really want to sit down and just just think you’re gonna have to spend time on it there is no shortcut around this you just got to sit down and think about who you are as a person all right I’d say that’s pretty much it for my story thank you so much for listening thank you so much for watching that video we really appreciate the support if you’re on YouTube make 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