A friend recently posted a link to this essay, “Valuing the Creative and Reflective” by a professor at Harvard for the Harvard College Admissions website. I was happy to see an elite university valuing the creative side of applicants.
When I work with college and grad school applicants who are writing their personal statements, I encourage them to address aspects of themselves that might be not obvious in other parts of their application. It can be a balancing act to describe both the creative and academic sides of a person, as well as the other sides (personal, work, athletic, etc.) that might be relevant.
Here are my favorite two sections from the essay, which you can read in its entirety here:
"To have great poets," as Whitman said, "there must be great audiences too." The matrix of culture will become impoverished if there are not enough gifted artists and thinkers produced: and since universities are the main producers for all the professions, they cannot neglect the professions of art and reflection.
With a larger supply of creative and reflective admittees on campus, fellow-students will benefit not only from seeing their style of life and attending their exhibits or plays or readings, but also from their intellectual conversation. America will, in the end, be grateful to us for giving her original philosophers, critics, and artists; and we can let the world see that just as we prize physicians and scientists and lawyers and judges and economists, we also are proud of our future philosophers, novelists, composers, and critics, who, although they must follow a rather lonely and highly individual path, are also indispensable contributors to our nation's history and reputation.
How would you express your creativity in a personal essay? Need help with your personal essay or other application essays? Let me know how I can help.