Bradley knew his chance of getting into Harvard was less than 5%, yet he wanted to go there more than anything else in life. His grades and test-scores were upper average and he came from a small town in Colorado.
He couldn’t claim any type of diversity, so he knew he had to do something radical if he wanted to have a chance.
In the months leading up to submission, he took a close look at his main extracurricular activities, brainstormed his possibilities and began to take steps that would reveal his potential to make an impact on the campus of Harvard, as well as UPenn, Berekley and Georgetown.
His resume showed that he had a demonstrated interest in the environment as well as a passion for drawing. So, through brainstorming, he arrived at a plan to design and implement a series of coloring books for kids to engage with eco-friendly issues. He was nervous to start, but his desire to get to Harvard trumped his nervousness.
He researched the main issues in a variety of third-world countries and decided to focus on the ocean. He then drilled-down to focus on the problem of over-fishing. He would openly admit that his coloring book was “not great” but by sending emails to every non-profit he could find that was related to over-fishing and the environment, he soon had several interested parties.
Within weeks of launching his “initiative” he had sent his coloring books to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He was getting feedback and user-testing from a non-profit in Laos and he posted his project online to make it accessible to other non-profits through a variety of links.
He wrote about his process and success in his main common app essay. Bradley joined the incoming class at Harvard University in the fall.