Haverford College 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations
Haverford College may be a tiny school, but its values are voluminous. In case you didn’t already know that Haverford is known for its Honor Code, admissions makes it abundantly clear in the epic introduction to this supplement. Our advice to you: read it very carefully so you can plan your essays strategically. Admissions is testing you in two ways, (1) to see if you’re dedicated enough to read with care, and (2) to see if you have the imagination to go beyond the information they have laid out. They know what you know (or at least what they expect you to know), so your job is to push the values of the Haverford community into uncharted territory and show admissions how they apply to your own life and ambitions. The stakes are extra high for originality and honesty so give yourself some time with this one.
The Requirements: Two essays of 150-200 words each
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why
We appreciate you taking the time to answer these Haverford specific questions and are excited for the opportunity to consider your application for admission. Good writing is a process, and there are many resources you might use as you craft your responses, including asking someone you trust to review your work and offer feedback or using generative artificial intelligence to brainstorm your response. But please know that what is most important to us is to hear your voice and ideas. Your voice matters to us, and hearing it in your writing will help us better understand who you are and imagine who you would be at Haverford.
Haverford College has one of the oldest and one of the very few student-run Honor Codes in the U.S. Our Honor Code is not a set of rules, but rather a statement of shared values around both the academic and social aspects of life and is centered on the concepts of trust, concern, and respect. Our Honor Code serves as an educational tool in and of itself and provides a powerful framework for our community, emphasizing and supporting qualities we see as essential to a Haverford education. Among other things, the Honor Code at Haverford supports:
Academic Freedom: The Honor Code fosters an atmosphere emphasizing academic integrity, collaboration over competition, and the cultivation of intellectual curiosity. Differences and disagreement are respected, valued, and embraced, and open discourse is seen as fundamental to the academic endeavor.
Student Agency: The Honor Code upholds a culture in which students are deeply trusted to take substantial ownership of their education and to profoundly shape and define the Haverford community. Student ownership is reflected in self-scheduled exams, in the fact that every student completes a Senior Thesis, in shared responsibility for the residential experience, and of course in oversight of the Honor Code itself.
Community: The Honor Code establishes a supportive environment for living and learning, where the community experience plays a central role in one’s education. The inherent value of every community member is recognized, and diversity in all respects – including diversity of background, experience, and perspective – is nurtured, celebrated, and embraced.
Leadership and Engagement: The Honor Code allows every student to find and develop their own voice, to practice ways of improving community and acting on issues of importance, to learn methods of problem solving and conflict resolution, and to examine the ways they can and will impact the world beyond Haverford.
Please give us a better sense of what you are looking for in your college experience by answering the following questions:
Tell us about a topic or issue that sparks your curiosity and gets you intellectually excited. How do you hope to engage with this topic or issue at Haverford? Please limit your response to 150-200 words.
Like many of the schools you’re applying to, Haverford wants to know why you’re interested in exploring your area of interest at their school. Start with the easy part: What do you love? What could you geek out about for hours? Keep in mind that something that gets you “intellectually excited” doesn’t have to be strictly academic. Maybe you’re fascinated by Foucault. Or maybe you’re intrigued by the evolution of modern cities and how infrastructure impacts culture (and vice versa). Both are totally valid! Follow your gut and focus on a subject that you could easily blather on about for hours. Then, connect your interest to Haverford’s offerings. Perhaps you hope to explore more of Foucalt’s ideas with other curious minds in Philosophy classes or you’re excited to major in Growth and Structure of Cities, which will set you up for a career in urban planning. Whatever your story is, make sure to do your research on the school’s website so you can cite specific courses, professors, and/or other Haverford resources that excite you.
We have highlighted for you some of the values that shape the Haverford community. What are some of the values you seek in your next community? How do Haverford’s values, as demonstrated through our Honor Code, resonate with you?
As you think about how to answer this question, you might draw from how you have been influenced by other communities you have been a part of, experiences you may have had within your communities, or opportunities you have had to shape or even change your communities. Please limit your response to 150-200 words.
This prompt is asking you to do some introspection about your own values and what you look for in a community. Start by doing some brainstorming: grab a notebook and list out all of the communities you belong to—your family, sports teams, extracurricular clubs, your cultural groups (e.g. race, religion), your gender identity, etc.—and then jot down the values you associate with each one. When you’re done, refer back to Haverford’s Honor Code and see where you can find connections. Another way to approach this prompt would be to write down Haverford’s values and free-associate; what personal experiences does this list bring up? For instance, when you think of academic freedom, maybe you think of your fiction writing class, where you can partner with classmates to explore anything your mind can conjure. Is it important for you to join a community that encourages collaboration and creativity? Once you have your brainstorming notes, think about what you envision for your college experience. Make sure to highlight specific stories for this prompt that offer admissions insight into the kinds of communities you’ve been a part of thus far, how they have shaped or influenced you, what you learned as a result, and finally, what that all means for your vision of community at Haverford. Details will make your answer stand out!
We try our best to make sure our guides are as up to date as possible, but we still recommend confirming each prompt and word count with the school in question.