April 17, 2024

From Poland to Ivy League: My Experience Applying and Attending Harvard University


Natalia from Poland 🇵🇱

Campus Image of Harvard University
From Poland to Ivy League: My Experience Applying and Attending Harvard University

My background & stats 

I was born in Poznań and I also attended high school in this city. I went to 2nd High School in Poznań where I pursued the IB program. I was taking English B, History, and Math AA as my higher-level subjects (HLs) and Economics, Polish Literature, and Chemistry as my standard-level subjects (SLs). I was predicted a 45/45 and passed the IB with a 41. I also had a 1500 on the SAT, which I submitted to the universities. 

Why Harvard

There are a lot of opportunities that the school gives you and definitely, the experience of living abroad is very enriching, that is why I decided to go in the first place. You live on campus surrounded by a lot of amazing peers in a place that offers both brilliant academic and non-academic programs. Additionally, after Brexit, it was easier to get into the US with a scholarship than to Great Britain which also influenced my decision to apply. Now I have a possibility to explore my opportunities because I only need to declare my major during my second year and I think I’m going to choose Joint concentration in computer science and mathematics with a concurrent master's in computer science.

My Extracurriculars

One of my top extracurriculars was debating. I debated for the whole 4 years of high school and represented Poland at the World School Debating Championships. In addition, I was involved in judging and coaching.

Additionally, I was also engaged in organizing a lot of events. I organized PozMUN - a Model United Nations conference in my city and PozMOOT - a moot court that was and still is the biggest moot court in Poland. 

I have also been a board member of the Econvers Foundation, a foundation that connects high school students with business and start-up opportunities in Poland. 

Life at Harvard

Harvard totally exceeded (my already high) expectations. I met a lot of open-minded and cheerful people. We are always together - in classes and the after-school life. 

I love feeling academically challenged - every class I take teaches me something new and I feel I never grew as rapidly as while being here. And I must mention the comfort of college life - I don’t need to stress about cooking or finding accommodation in a city, everything is provided by the university. 

I’m involved in a variety of activities on campus. One of my favorite ones is Tech for Social Goods - an organization that focuses on providing technical products for non-profit organizations. Outside of that, I’m in the boxing club, debating union, and Women in Computer Science Society. Regardless of that I still have time to go out and for example see a play my roommate worked on or just enjoy the parties. 

What helped me in my application

I was a scholar of Our Future Foundation and I was assigned a mentor that helped me to organize everything and provided advice in the complicated admission process.

Advice from me

What I would say is important when applying to the US is to be yourself. Maybe it’s cliche, but I truly believe it is the right advice. I genuinely loved the activities I was pursuing in high school and I think they made me grow a lot. 

College applications can be incredibly stressful but don’t make them the only purpose of being involved, dedicated, and community-oriented person. 

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from Poland 🇵🇱

Duration of Study

Sep 2023 — May 2027


Computer Science & Math

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Harvard University

Harvard University

Cambridge, US🇺🇸


✍️ Interview by


Patryk from Poland 🇵🇱

UWC Dilijan student & politics passionate

Learn more ->