Post by: Mikaela Allen, MTS 2019, HDS Office of Admissions Graduate Assistant
Harvard Divinity School students come from an array of different ages, ethnicities, and religious and secular backgrounds. When I first visited HDS on Admitted Students Day, I was delighted to find a diverse student body and especially excited to find a Muslim community here, to call my spiritual home.
“Mommy, I need to go to the potty.” That was the statement our four-year-old daughter made repeatedly throughout our eight day journey across the country in August 2012. She resisted leaving Seattle, the only home she knew, and all of her close friends, especially her best friend from across the street. The only thing that motivated her to get to Cambridge was the brand new Curious George store that had just opened in Harvard Square. Continue reading
Three years ago I attended the Open House for Admitted Students, and I can remember being very hesitant about the day and my decision itself. I had just attended an event for admitted students at another divinity school, and was pretty sure I was going there, but I still went to HDS to check it out and affirm my decision to attend the other place. I thought HDS was going to be the wrong place for me, that it would be all extremely high academia and no community, that it would be a place that would only challenge me intellectually, but not spiritually or emotionally, that it would simply be a place to earn a Harvard degree and nothing more. Continue reading
If a year and a half ago someone had told me I would soon be in Divinity School, I would have thought two things: 1. “Here is someone who doesn’t understand that you can do something with a Religious Studies major besides become ordained” and 2. “That is not in my plan.”
To be honest, when I came to HDS for admitted students day I was looking for excuses not to come here. I had just graduated from Emory and received a job offer to stay there and work. I was afraid to leave my comfort zone filled with friends, relationships, and work. But I knew I couldn’t just turn down Harvard without a good reason, so I decided to come to the Admitted Students Day and find a reason why HDS was not for me. The quickest way to do that, I realized, was to discover that there was no real community here and, thus, it was not a place where I could be successful.
GRE scores, GPA, extracurricular activities, lectures and presentations…many things go into making a candidate look good on paper. Yet the personal statement and the letters of recommendation really bring an application to life. They show the admissions committee a bit of who you are. Now, having been accepted to Harvard Divinity School, and perhaps several other institutions, you are on the flipside of the admissions experience.