The HORRIBLENESS of JFK’s Harvard admission essay cannot be overstated

Jamie Weinstein | Senior Writer

If you can write a college admission essay worse than the one John F. Kennedy wrote in 1935, you should get into Harvard for accomplishing a seemingly impossible feat.

You can view the 35th president’s Harvard application on the website of his presidential library. JFK’s application isn’t particularly stellar overall, but what’s most remarkable is his handwritten answer to the application question, “Why do you wish to come to Harvard.”

Underlining the importance of the essay question, the application declares, “The Committee will expect a careful answer to this question.”

Below is JFK’s careful answer — keep in mind he was admitted:

The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there, as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then too, I would like to go to the same college as my father. To be a “Harvard man” is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.

April 23, 1935
John F. Kennedy

See the answer in JFK’s own handwriting (though it doesn’t make it any better):

app

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