Business Insider just posted an article on the five-sentence essay JFK wrote that helped get him into Harvard.
My big take-away: Whoa, Harvard was doing “Why us?” essays in the 1930s.
Anyway, the prompt was “Why do you wish to come to Harvard?” and applicants were told the admissions committee expected a “careful answer” to the question. Here’s what a young JFK wrote:
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
And here’s the photo of the actual application, from the JFK library: