“Harvard was my top choice, but I know they have a three percent acceptance rate and after lots of weeks of rejection and waitlisting from other schools with higher acceptance rates, I was ready for the worst.”
Although Cole Harten ’22 might have been ready for anything, anyone that knows him will tell you that his worry was unfounded.
True, for the 2022-23 school year, Harvard University offered admission to only 1,954 students out of 61,220 applicants. But it’s also true that as co-president of Honor Council, co-president of the Science Olympiad team, Mock Trial captain, Academic Team captain, golf team player, tennis team member, and as one of the funniest writers his advisor has even known, Cole is prepared for whatever Harvard will throw his way.
“Cole can take the ordinary and write about it in an engaging and sometimes funny way,” said Chuck McGivern, associate director of college counseling and Cole’s college counselor. “The Harvard admissions rep said that Cole’s college essay was the funniest application she read all year. That’s saying something.”
But Cole is more than a strong writer; he is a well-rounded student who excels in whatever he puts his mind to. His love of language earned him the Martha W. Burton Award in French and he is a Cum Laude Society member for this academic excellence.
At Harvard, he plans on majoring in electrical engineering and possibly computer science.
“I am taking AP computer science this year and really enjoying it; I love the problem-solving aspect of it,” explained Harten. “Electrical engineering is closely related to computer science because with one you deal with the hardware and the other you develop the software so you get to see it from both angles.”
At the local Harvard Club reception this past spring, Cole ran into a fellow Country Day alumnus who provided him with some reassurance.
“His advice was that I would be much better prepared in terms of writing and being able to think critically and express ideas than most of the other students, at least that was his experience. This is especially important for STEM majors because writing is a critical component that most people don't realize goes hand in hand with things like engineering.”
And what advice does Cole have for current Country Day students?
“Get involved, even beyond clubs…although I would recommend all of them. You're only in high school for four years so I don't understand why someone wouldn't join at least one thing. Maybe you don't have to participate in three academic-based clubs like I did, but if you're interested in science, sign up for Science Olympiad; if you like to debate, do Mock Trial; if you like diplomacy, do Model UN. Everyone should find a club that fits whatever you’re interested in.”
While he’s looking forward to the sense of freedom that college life provides while still being in the protected environment of a close-knit community, he admits that he will probably be homesick and miss his family, friends, and teachers.
“Boston is far away. You can’t easily take a two-hour flight every weekend,” said Harten.
He does plan on continuing to travel, though, even if it’s not to Cincinnati every weekend. Last summer he went to Berlin – the inspiration for one of his hilarious college essays – and this summer he is traveling to Peru and Chile.
“He has the leadership and enormous talent to take him wherever he wants to go,” continued McGivern.