Abigail Mack, Harvard, and the Letter ‘S’

Due to her unique college essay, high school senior Abigail Mack is one of the less than 4% of Harvard applicants who were accepted this season. Mack’s reading of her fantastic admissions essay went viral on TikTok, gaining over four million views within the span of only a few days of posting.

Mack began her essay with a reflection on her loathing of the letter ‘S:’ “I hate the letter ‘S.’ Of the 164,777 words with ‘S,’ I only grapple with one. To condemn an entire letter because of its use .0006 percent of the time sounds statistically absurd, but that one case changed 100 percent of my life. I used to have two parents, but now I have one, and the ‘S’ in ‘parents’ isn’t going anywhere.” This introduction immediately hooked me in, and I can see how it instantly interested a Harvard admissions officer.

Mack continued her essay, seamlessly connecting the topic of the letter ‘S’ to the topic of her mother’s death from cancer. She described how she filled her schedule up with extracurriculars to fill the gap left by her mother’s death. She claimed, “There were so many things in my life I couldn’t control, so I controlled what I could- my schedule.” She then explained how she overcame her grief with the loss of her mother and her stress from school and extracurriculars.

During an interview with Buzzfeed, Mack gave some advice to future college applicants: “Your college application is a culmination of everything you’ve done in high school. You’ve already put in the work, so the hardest part is done. Now, you just have to put pen to paper, share what you’ve accomplished, and, most importantly, illustrate how you plan to make a difference going forward in your own, unique way.”

Mack is surprised by her newfound fame and is excited to be considered part of the Harvard Class of 2025!

— Vienna Gurev