Harvard Kennedy School 2018-2019 Essay Prompts

Hello, Policy Wonks and Public Service Aficionados!

We know you’re pondering your applications to all those top tier policy programs, so without further ado, here are the 2018-2019 application season essay prompts for the Harvard Kennedy School.

Source: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/admissions-aid/masters-program-admissions/how-apply

All Programs

Personal History Essay (optional)

Diversity of all kinds (race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, physical abilities, political philosophy, intellectual focus, socioeconomic status, geographic and many others) is important to enriching the educational experience at the Kennedy School. Please share with us anything in your background or life experiences that has shaped your perspectives and how that would contribute to the classroom and community at HKS.

Word Limit: 400 words

Optional Statement

If you have any concerns about your prior academic, professional or personal background you would like to share with the Admissions Committee, please provide an explanation. (250 word limit)

MPP Essays (mandatory)

Essay 1 (JFK Essay): The Harvard Kennedy School motto, echoing the President for whom the School is named, is “Ask what you can do.” Please share with the Admissions Committee your plans to create positive change through your public leadership and service.

Word Limit: 600 words

Essay 2 (MPP Essay): Describe a professional or academic episode that gave you a chance to use your personal strengths, revealed your personal weaknesses, or both. Then explain specifically how the MPP curriculum at HKS would leverage your distinctive abilities and/or fill gaps in your skill set as you equip yourself for your career goals.

Word Limit: 600 words

Quantitative Resume: Submit a resume that summarizes relevant study and experience with analytic or quantitative material.

Two Year MPA2 Essays (mandatory)

Essay 1 (JFK Essay): The Harvard Kennedy School motto, echoing the President for whom the School is named, is “Ask what you can do.” Please share with the Admissions Committee your plans to create positive change through your public leadership and service.

Word Limit: 600 words

Essay 2 (Two Year MPA Essay): There are many pathways one can pursue in order to make a difference in the world. Why is the MPA Program at HKS an appropriate pathway to achieving your goals?

Word Limit: 600 words

Quantitative Statement: HKS students must complete coursework involving applied economics and quantitative analysis. In no more than one page, please share with the committee how you feel your academic and professional experience has prepared you for the required coursework at HKS.

Mid-Career MPA and Mid-Career Mason Essays (mandatory)

Essay 1 (Career Goals Essay): Submit a statement that discusses your career goals, as well as the factors that led you to select the Mid-Career MPA program as a means of furthering your personal and professional goals. Be as specific as possible in describing how your expected course of study will enable you to build on your prior professional experience and achieve these goals.

Word Limit: 750 words

Essay 2 (Professional Contribution Essay): Describe your most substantial professional and/or public service contribution in which you exercised a significant leadership role in furthering the public good.

Word Limit: 750 words

Quantitative Statement: HKS students must complete coursework involving applied economics and quantitative analysis. In no more than one page, please share with the committee how you feel your academic and professional experience has prepared you for the required coursework at HKS.

MPA/ID Essays (mandatory)

Essay 1 (International Development Essay): Discuss your decision to choose international development as your professional career. Also, explain how developing your analytic skills relates to your career in development.

Word Limit: 750 words

Essay 2 (Leadership Experience Essay): Describe an event or experience in which you exercised a significant decision-making, management, or leadership role.

Word Limit: 750 words

Essay 3 (Public Policy Essay): Describe a public policy or public management problem related to international development and analyze a range of solutions.

Word Limit: 750 words

Joint Degree with HBS or HLS Essay

(complete only if you are applying for a joint degree program)

Joint Degree Essay: How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level?

Word Limit: 400 words

Concurrent Degree Essay

(complete only if you are applying for a concurrent degree program with an approved partner institution)

Concurrent Degree Essay: How do you expect the concurrent pursuit of another professional Master’s degree to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? (250 word limit)

 

If you’re wondering how to put your best foot forward on all of these prompts, then we want to help! Click here to schedule your free 90-minute Breakthrough Call with our team!

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