The moment a student graduates from their high school, the real struggle of their educational life begins. They need to pick the best college according to their field; however, the single top choice for every field is Harvard without a second thought. But getting into Harvard is not an easy task.
The institute is one of the most prestigious ones in the whole world, which is why many students get so intimidated that they do not even apply. In my opinion, that is a grave mistake; every person should apply for admission into Harvard. Getting or not getting enrolled is a different deal, but the application should always be submitted.
Now that we are on that subject, there are a few things that can be done to secure a place at Harvard. The article below will guide you through the entire admission process at Harvard, but it also has some information and tips on how to increase your chances of getting accepted into this prestigious school.
Requirements for Getting into Harvard
Every institute in the world has a requirements criteria for their students which every applicant must meet. Harvard is one of the most prestigious institutes in not just the USA but the whole world. Therefore, it goes without saying its list of requirements is long as well as very strict.
So, not only is it mandatory for every student to meet these requirements, but they also need to do that with flying colors. Each and every requirement of the application process that the admission committee of Harvard checks has been shared below.
Standardized Tests Scores
The first thing that every high school student needs to keep in check is their test scores. The first important test is the SAT, which every student applying for college needs to take. SATs have a total score of 1600.
Other institutes, such as MIT, also have higher SAT score requirements, but they are not as high as Harvard. If an applicant has a score of 1540, they will have a chance of getting in, but their chances will be on the lower side. However, those who have an SAT score of 1580 have a higher chance of getting accepted into Harvard.
There are two sections of SAT, ‘Math’ and ‘Reading and Writing’. Every student must have a score of 800 in their Math section, while the Reading and Writing section should have a score of 780. So, the total of this will be 1580 on their SATs.
The second test that college applicants take after high school is ACT. They either need to take the SAT or the ACT, and the ACT average score for Harvard is 34. So, if a student has a 33 score on their ACT, they will be below average on the scale of admissions.
On the other hand, those who have an ACT score of 35 will be above average. So they will have a higher chance of getting accepted and enrolled into Harvard.
There is an additional test, along with their SAT or ACT, for those who are applying at Harvard from a different country. Although it is not required by Harvard, many international students take a language test and submit its results along with their application. An international student can pick either IELTS or TOEFL as a language test.
Every high school graduate is aware of the fact that they need to write a personal statement for their college application. However, the one thing that Harvard applicants are not aware of is that their personal statement needs to be very strong to increase their chances of getting accepted into the prestigious university.
Most students write about their academic history in their personal statements, and that is a mistake. As important as it is to highlight your academic achievements, it is also critical to personalize the personal statement by writing about your ambitions, future goals, and personal experiences in life.
The best way to intrigue the admission committee is by adding your future goals in the personal statement. It will help them understand the students in a better way. Make sure to write the personal statement in a way that should share your story with the readers.
Always highlight your qualities and ambitions in your personal statement as well. Never copy the personal statement from anywhere or make someone else write it, as it should be honest and authentic. In addition to that, share stories that back up your statements about yourself or the qualities that you are listing.
Cover your academic goals, extracurricular activities, future goals, ambitions, and personal qualities. The last thing that you should add is how Harvard plays into your goals and what you will gain from getting your education from Harvard.
It is best to always get the personal statement proofread by someone with experience in the field, such as a teacher. Also, Harvard requires the students to write a two-page personal statement.
Letter of Recommendation
The third thing on the list of requirements that every Harvard applicant needs to adhere to is a letter of recommendation. A letter of recommendation is basically a teacher or superior attesting your qualifications and skills; therefore, this part is very critical and must be done carefully.
Harvard requires every applicant to submit two letters of recommendation from teachers and one letter written by a counselor from a previously attended school. Most students only get two letters from the teachers, and that’s it, but the one letter from the school counselor is just as important.
A great tip for a well-written letter of recommendation is to always provide the person writing the letter with your school transcripts and a list of your extracurricular activities. Moreover, you should also discuss your future goals with that person so they can mention them in the letter as well. This way, the person writing the letter will add all of your details to the letter, and they will make sure to touch every achievement of yours in the letter.
In addition to that, make sure to never get a letter of recommendation written by just any teacher. Ask the ones who are well-respected in their fields and have experience in writing letters of recommendation and can write a great one. Harvard is not just looking to find out your grades and test scores, but the admission committee also wants to know about the personality of the students and their potential from their letters of recommendation.
Most institutes do not ask for a supplemental essay from their applicants. However, Harvard is among the very few that do ask for a supplemental essay from each applicant. Basically, in a supplemental essay, the student needs to provide additional information about themselves to the admission committee of the institute, which in this case is Harvard.
As the admission committee is of Harvard, the standard for a good supplemental essay is also quite high. In addition to that, Harvard requires every student to submit not one but five supplemental essays. However, do not let that intimidate you, as writing a good supplemental essay is not difficult, and I am about to share some tips with you.
Every year, Harvard shared their prompts for the supplemental essays with the applicants. The prompts that they have shared for the 2023 to 2024 batch are presented below.
- Describe how your life experiences have shaped you and how will the newly shaped you contribute to Harvard University.
- Write about an intellectual experience that you went through and held a lot of importance to you.
- If there is any event in your life that you have taken part in, such as any extracurricular activities, travel, job experience, or family responsibilities, and it influenced your personality, then describe that event.
- What are your plans with the degree and education that you will attain after attending Harvard?
- List a few important things about yourself that you want your roommate to know.
Before you begin to write, the first thing to keep in mind is to keep every statement and point in each essay very concise. The required word count for each supplemental essay is 200 words.
The supplemental essay should be like each student’s portfolio and should allow the reader to get to know the person. You can pick five major topics that are provided to you mostly by Harvard and devote each supplemental essay to the specific prompt.
An important tip is to never keep the same redundant tone for all of the five supplemental essays. If you are discussing an event or activity, then also highlight what role you played in it, how it affected your personality, the challenges that arose during the process, and how you overcame those challenges.
Harvard is not just focused on the grades and test scores of the students. But they also desire to see the potential of each applicant in the form of extracurricular activities. Therefore, students must remain a part of some extracurricular activity throughout the year of their high school.
The list of activities is very vast; you can pick from sports, arts and culture, student body government, different clubs, volunteer work, or religious organizations. A student can pick any activity from this long list; in fact, they can also opt for multiple activities as that will put them on the above-average scale.
A great tip that I always give about picking extracurricular activities is to always pick one that you can stick to and commit to in the long run. Moreover, look for something that you are passionate about and that will help you grow your skillset and talents. In addition to that, picking activities that are relevant to the program that you are applying to is also a good idea.
The application process at Harvard may resemble the procedure of other educational institutes, but there are a few differences here and there. The first thing that you need to do is select the perfect application process for yourself. There are two methods of applying for Harvard: the Common Application and the Coalition Application.
You need to conduct thorough research on both of these applications and then pick one that is perfect for you. Furthermore, there are two application timelines that Harvard provides to the applicants. This includes the Early Action program and the Regular Decision program.
Those candidates who pick the Early Action program need to apply by the 1st of November, while the applicants who have picked the Regular Decision program need to apply by the 1st of January. Early Action candidates receive a notification from the admission committee of the university in the middle of December, while the Regular Decision is informed around the end of March.
Once you have picked out the program and the application process, you need to complete the above-stated requirements of Harvard. Fill out the entire application form and then pay the application fee, which is $85. After all of this is done and you have submitted all the requirements, you can submit your application.
In case you can not afford to pay the application fee, then you can select the option of Fee Waiver Request at the time of submitting your application. However, the request will only be accepted if you are truly eligible for it and are facing financial troubles.
Documentation Required for Application
Along with the letters of recommendation, supplemental essays, and Standardized test scores, the applicants also need to submit other documents with their application form. It includes their school report, or school transcript, mid-year report, and final year report. The mid-year report is the grade report of the first semester of the final year, and the final year report is the grades report of the entire final year.
The last major part of the admission procedure for Harvard is the interview. Once the application has been received and reviewed by the admission committee, they send a member of the committee to conduct a one-on-one interview with the applicant.
Leaving a good impression on the member who is conducting the interview is quite critical. A few tips for the interview are to always make sure that your attire is professional and not very casual. In addition to that, practicing answers to interview questions beforehand also helps a lot, as it allows you to understand how to give an answer.
One mistake that students make is they only give answers to what the interviewer asks them. You should also ask the interviewer questions, as it shows leadership skills, as well as the candidate’s interest in the institute.
Another tip that helps the students prepare for the interview is to Google the common interview questions and prepare answers for them. Moreover, you can also speak to an alumni, if you know one, and take their help in the interview preparation.
Fee Structure of Harvard
Being a very prestigious school, education at Harvard also comes at a high cost. Currently, the annual cost of a single year of undergrad program at Harvard is $79,450. Therefore, for a four-year degree, the total cost will be $317,800.
However, the one great thing about this institute is that, like other educational institutes in the USA, it offers the option of financial aid to those who can not pay the full tuition fee. There are different types of financial aid available according to the household income levels.
But on average, the annual fee of a student on financial aid is around $13,000, which is quite less than the actual fee. Therefore, it provides equal opportunity to those who can not afford to study at this institute yet possess high potential.
How Hard is it to Get into Harvard?
Getting into Harvard is a very difficult task that only the best of the best students can accomplish. Harvard does not only focus on the academic achievements of the students but also many other factors; this is why applicants need to remain involved in multiple extracurricular activities and keep their GPA above average, which is 3.9, and the ideal GPA range is 4.0.
The students who are admitted at Harvard score an average GPA of 4.18. Therefore, not only is it extremely challenging to get admission into Harvard, but it is also difficult to remain above average in the program that you have been enrolled in.
Along with the struggle of getting and maintaining a good GPA, the SAT score requirement for Harvard is very high. In fact, it is even higher than MIT and Yale.
Acceptance Rate of Harvard
Harvard is one of the most prestigious institutes in the whole world. From Management to Law, they provide many programs that are among the best educational programs worldwide.
This is why they get thousands of applications every year. However, the admission committee only accepts a handful of students from the thousand applications. The general acceptance rate of Harvard is from 3.41% to 4%.
What GPA do you need to get into Harvard?
Harvard does not have a rigid requirement for GPA that students must meet, but as the competition is very high, naturally, there is a minimum GPA requirement. The ideal GPA range for Harvard is 3.8 to 4.0. If you have a 3.9, then your chances will be good, but with a 4.0 GPA, your chances of getting admission will increase.
What is the acceptance rate for Harvard?
The acceptance rate of Harvard is quite low, as they only take a handful of students from the thousands of applications every year. In the 2022 to 2023 program, the acceptance rate was 3.41%.
What LSAT score do I need for Harvard?
Harvard Law School is one of the most competitive institutes, which is why every applicant needs to have a minimum score of 170 on their LSAT. A score higher than 170 will increase their chances of getting accepted.
What is the average SAT score for Harvard?
The average SAT score for Harvard is 1520. However, if you want to increase your chances and ensure that you get admission, then you need to get a score of 1580 on SATs.
What are the requirements to get into Harvard?
The major requirement for getting into Harvard is to have a GPA of 3.9 at least, with an SAT score of 1580 or an ACT score of 35. In addition to that, the students also need to have three strong letters of recommendation, personal statements, and five supplemental essays.
What GMAT score do I need for Harvard?
Harvard MBA degree is another sought-after program the institute has to offer. Therefore, every applicant needs to have a minimum GMAT score of 700. Having a score higher than 700 will put you, above-average students, which means you have a better chance of getting admission to the program.
How many AP classes should I take at Harvard?
AP classes are a must for Harvard. So, the students must have taken at least 8 AP classes in their high school. But, if you want to increase the probability of your acceptance, then you should take 10 to 12 AP classes in high school and keep a high GPA in all of them.
With that, I end my article on ‘How to get into Harvard.’ Many students get cold feet while applying at Harvard University, as it is a very prestigious institute, but that should never dissuade you from applying.
However, if you still have cold feet, then I have shared valuable information in the article above that will help you a lot. It includes requirements for getting into Harvard and some tips that will help you stay in the above-average percentile of the total number of applicants.