Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence

he Harvard application you prepare will offer a glimpse into your personal history, and whether your interests go broad or deep. Harvard admission processes are designed to ensure that each batch of students contains a wide diversity of backgrounds and interests. Keep this in mind as your prepare your Harvard application and go through the Harvard admission process. Personal statements help to show off these interests as well.

Question 4a allows you to mention or make known one of your particular interests in fiction, history or art. Here is a sample answer for your reference.

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  • Personal Statement
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  One character in fiction who has had an influence on me is Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. The book itself offers an interesting journey into the mind of a rather lost, angst-filled, phony-hating person just on the cusp of adulthood. People react in very different ways to this character, his thought processes and his experiences. One of the things I took away from his story though was the importance of finding something to be passionate about in one’s life, or a life purpose. This can be a rather bewildering journey in itself, and a person can go through life from one moment to the next, from one life lesson to another, and still not know what it is he wants to do with his life. This made me realize that it truly is important to stop and think long and hard about exactly what I am passionate about, and what I want to make my life’s work. I needed to take the time to figure this out for myself or else I might end up in a state similar to Holden. He was very passionate about certain things, but he did not know where to direct this passion. This is something that I do not want to happen in my own life.
 


This answer discusses a particular character from fiction and explains how this character’s experience in the book had an effect on the applicant, and caused him to reevaluate certain aspects of his life.

Try to go beyond mere popular topics when filling up your Harvard application. A Harvard admission committee member may not be as impressed if you refer to a character from a recent, popular work of fiction. Try to refer to a work of historical or cultural importance if possible. It can help with personal statement content if you take efforts to seem like a heavyweight when it comes to what you read and what you study. Personal statements help to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, so be sure to tweak and refine your statement, so that it makes the best possible impression.

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