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How to Approach the Harvey Mudd Essay Prompts

Sara Calvert Kubrom

Written by Sara Calvert-Kubromon November 7th, 2019

My passion for higher education and working with students began as a resident assistant, admissions overnight host, and study abroad enthusiast as an undergraduate student at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Working with high school and college students has been at the core of my professional experiences ever since. My first few years out of college included serving as an AmeriCorps member, working in public health, and teaching yoga. I later worked for the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Boston College and subsequently served as a lead administrator of a freshman study abroad program at Northeastern University in collaboration with their admissions team. While at Northeastern, I worked with faculty, deans, students, and parents in a wide-array of academic disciplines in several countries. It was exciting to provide robust academic and cultural experiences for students all over the world as they started college before returning to Boston to pursue the rest of their degree. I most recently served as an admissions officer at my alma mater, where I recruited students of diverse academic interests primarily from the East coast, California, and Arizona, and worked with applicants from all over the United States and the world. While at Lewis & Clark I worked with deposited students taking a gap year, coordinated the college’s release of admissions decisions, served as an athletics liaison working with athletic coaches and recruits, helped oversee visit and student-interviewer programs, and managed and trained new admissions counselors.
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You know you love Harvey Mudd, but now it is time to articulate why by clearly showcasing the synergy between you and the college and providing the admissions committee with a holistic picture of who you are and what you will bring to their community.  In addition to the Common Application Personal Statement, Mudd requires two additional essays.  The first essay prompt is essentially asking you, “Why Harvey Mudd?” while the second gives you four essay prompts to choose from. When writing these essays, remember that words are precious real estate; an opportunity for you to pop out of the computer screen as a multidimensional human being and showcase elements of yourself that aren’t found elsewhere in your application. This is a space to reflect deeply, to show that you are a strong fit for Mudd (and Mudd for you) and that you will bring wonderful skills, passion, and enthusiasm to the campus. Harvard Mudd Essay 1: What influenced you to apply to Harvey Mudd College? What about the HMC curriculum and community appeals to you? (500 word maximum) Before you starting writing this essay, spend at least half an hour exploring the college’s website and identifying clear connections between who you are as a scholar and person, and the core values and strengths of Mudd. I encourage you to start by reading HMC’s Mission and Strategic Vision. They are very clear that they want their alumni to emerge as not only practitioners of engineering, science, and math, but as leaders and innovators in their fields. Their alumni are not only leaders in the sciences, but they value a holistic and well-rounded education and care deeply about making a positive impact on society. Explore majors, student affairs programming, research opportunities, and the Discover page to find specific examples of how Harvey Mudd is the right school for you. As you write this essay, be careful not to fill the space with general statements about the college’s prestige or ranking (they know they are excellent) or elements of their education that can be said about most colleges; be specific. As a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium, the Mudd experience is deeply impacted by the ability to make friends and take advantage of programming and offerings across all seven campuses, so take some time to learn about the consortium before writing this essay. Harvey Mudd Essay 2: Choose from four prompts (500 word maximum) For this essay, take some time to review the four options, determine which prompt resonates with you most, and then do some brainstorming.  This space should either share a part of your life or experiences that is not elsewhere in the application OR be a deep dive and reflection on something briefly listed in your activities section or other parts of the application. Notice that these supplements are geared toward getting to know YOU: your story, your holistic interests beyond science, the human being that will join their campus. This essay should not read like a narrative resume listing all of your accomplishments, but rather a thoughtful reflection on your life and experience. Best of luck finishing your application! Essay-Pitfalls-CTA


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