How to Get Into Harvard University? Requirements, Acceptance Rate, and More

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How to Get Into Harvard University: Application Tips, Acceptance Rate, and More

Established in 1636, Harvard University has been ranked ‘third’ among National Universities by the US News & World Report Ranking 2024, ‘fourth’ by the QS World University Rankings 2024 and ‘fourth’ by THE World University Rankings 2024. Known for its academic excellence around the world, especially among the students considering studying abroad, Harvard is one of the oldest institutions of higher studies in the United States of America. The institution is linked with a Law School, Business School, Medical School and a School of Engineering and Applied Science. The Institution is known for its MBA and MS courses. Boasting 49 Nobel Laureates, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners and 32 Heads of State winners as its alumni, Harvard is the most prestigious place when you are planning to study in USA. This blog will be talking about the easiest way to get into Harvard.

Overview of Harvard Admissions

  • Undergrad students: 9,900
  • Acceptance Rate: 4.01%
  • Middle 50% SAT: 1460-1570
  • Middle 50% ACT: 33-35

Quick Look at the University

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Havard University is perhaps one of the leading universities devoted to excellence in teaching, learning and research. The place has a prominent enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates at various levels. Besides this, the university offers world-class online learning opportunities. Also, the place extends unparalleled student experience supported by financial aid programs. 

In your quest to understand how to get into Harvard, you must have a solid foundation of academic as well as extracurricular achievements. Follow the below-mentioned guidelines to know how to get into Harvard:

How To Get Into Harvard University: Understanding the Right Approach

Among Ivy League schools, Harvard University holds a valuable place in serving excellent academics and the popular culture of the US. Its venerable reputation gives a unique cachet even among elite universities which is reflected when you want to know how to get into Harvard. The university accepted exclusive applicants who have remarkably strong portfolios, which often seems like a near-impossible dream. But, how do they do it? How can you improve your chances of being accepted?

Basic Requirements 

You need to start working towards your dream earlier and build a strong portfolio wherein you should have all the required documents. 

  1. Maintain a High GPA – Maintaining excellent grades will help you keep running for admission to Harvard University. The student should secure an average high school GPA of 4.04.
  2. Get Relevant Scores on the SAT or ACT and AP Tests – Doing extremely well in these exams will show your stellar academic achievements. Also, Harvard requires you to have taken two SAT II tests. The average SAT score asked is 1510 on the 1600 SAT scale.
  3. English Language Proficiency Test Score – If you are a non-native English speaker, you need to take English language tests like IELTS, TOEFL and PTE. There are no minimum requirements for the language tests but since we are talking about Harvard University, the higher the better. 

Impressive Extracurricular Activities

Besides your academic grades and qualifications, your extracurricular activities allow you to stand out as a unique candidate who has invested in pursuing his interests. You can show your leadership skills by joining the Student Council, participating in activism or debating through MUN, theatre or any other club. 

Essay, SOP and LOR

You need to prepare all the relevant documents like SOP, LOR and essays to reinforce your application for enrolling into Harvard University. It should highlight your passion for the subject and show your willingness to join the university. While SOP is the first thing that the admission committee will look at, it is advisable not to hurry while writing it.  

Build Contact with Faculty at Harvard University

When you want to know how to get into Harvard, it becomes important for you to establish a relationship with two faculty members for your academic success. The university office is always open to lending you a helping hand in your admission application and you may take the aid of good counsel from them. Apart from giving you insights into the admission process, the faculty will guide you to enhance your chances of getting admission.

Harvard Acceptance Rate

Every year, Harvard gets around 40,000 applications for its undergraduate courses. Being one of the top universities in the USA, Harvard follows a highly selective admission policy. In 2017, the college accepted 5.2% of the candidates. Its acceptance rate has significantly decreased over the years due to an increase in the number of applicants.  Being one of the top universities in the world, the acceptance rate is competitive with individuals from all over the world contending for limited seats. At the postgraduate level, the acceptance rate is 3.1%. Hence, one can say Harvard is tough competition for p.Hd and other professional courses. Every year nearly 5% of international students are enrolled in post-graduation programs.

What Harvard Looks For?

Harvard University has made it clear that every individual applicant is paid attention during the admission process. There is no such thing as a typical Harvard student. The selection of candidates is based on the four criteria mentioned by the University itself. These are mentioned below:

Growth and Potential

This parameter is to identify the individuals with maximum academic and personal potential. It sees if  the individual works in full capacity for academic pursuits. Judges the motivation of the candidate, their power, their time investment, their direction, their future vision, and many more.

Interest and Activities

As mentioned above, Harvard is particular about the students interested in extracurricular work. This aspect tries to understand the intellectual depth of a candidate. What interest they have and where did they learn it from. What success or failure means to them. The quality of the activities, leadership roles, extracurricular obligations, free time management, and more are looked upon.

Personal Character

This criteria judges a person’s personal choices. It tries to understand the choices made by the students if they are a late bloomer. Their openness to new ideas and people, maturity, confidence, sense of humour, energy, passion, generosity, and similar other characteristics are judged.

Contribution to Community

As mentioned above Harvard is very interested to know what are the students’ motives for contributing to the Harvard community. It checks if the student would be able to handle the college life pressure and freedoms. It checks the ability to contribute towards the classmates. If the candidate’s experience would benefit the university. Would the student be able to share rooms and meals, and closely knit the group?

Quick Harvard Tour (Credit: Hafu Go)

How to get into Harvard – Application Tips

Here are a few tips to help you upgrade your application to make it into Harvard University – 

  • Candidates must prepare for the examinations needed for admission 
  • They must write an SOP that is original and expresses their vision
  • Candidates must mention the record of all their scholarly achievements and transcripts
  • Before submitting the final application form candidates must recheck to remove any errors

Also read: Harvard Acceptance Rate

How To Get Into Harvard Business School

The specific standards for getting into Harvard Business School are mentioned below:

  • GMAT/GRE with a score between 700 to 730 is sufficient.
  • Having a work experience of four years
  • GPA score of 4.0 is must
  • Letters of recommendation, SOP, motivation letter, and similar documents
  • Written application with application fees of $250
  • Clearing the interview round and then the post interview phase
Credit: MBA Crystal Ball

How To Get Into Harvard Medical School

The specific standards for getting into Harvard Medical School are mentioned below:

  • Minimum score of 85% in 10+2
  • Minimum score of 70% in CBSE/ICSE
  • Filling the application form through the official website
  • Letters of recommendation from the school
  • Guardian letter
  • Visa copy
  • Migration letter from the Medical Council of India
  • Reports on HIV and medical test
Credit: Crazy Medusa

How To Get Into Harvard Law School

The specific standards for getting into Harvard Law School are mentioned below:

  • An up-to-date resume
  • LSAT score above 173
  • GRE scores above 155 to 170
  • GPA above 3.75
  • 2 to 3 recommendation letters
  • College certifications
  • Personal statements
Credit: Banter with Babs

Documents Required for Harvard

To get into Harvard, students must possess a given set of documents. These documents are a must for being considered eligible for admission at Harvard –

  • A general university application
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers
  • A school report and letter of recommendation from your counsellor
  • High School Transcript
  • Complete Harvard’s supplemental essays
  • SAT or ACT scores, with or without the writing section
  • At least two SAT Subject Tests
  • Any AP, IB, or other scores from standardized exams you have taken
  • $75 application fee or a fee waiver
  • A midyear report

Also Read: Study at University of Oxford

What to do on Rejection?

The selection rate at Harvard University is only 4%. This is true for all the applicants trying to get into Harvard. Nobody guarantees a slot for an admission seat except the Harvard admission process itself. It is important to remember that the world is an oyster.

There is nothing to lose here. You can reapply after a gap year. If it still doesn’t work, we would recommend moving on. There are other universities with a higher acceptance rate that you can look for. 

Union College with an acceptance rate of 39%, Connecticut College with an acceptance rate of 38%, Bucknell University with an acceptance rate of 33%, Trinity College with an acceptance rate of 34%, Lafayette College with an acceptance rate of 29% are some of the best universities where you can give a shot.

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Q.1 Is Harvard an Ivy League?

Ans. Yes, Harvard is an Ivy League. The Ivy League has – Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Brown, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, and UPenn.

Q.2 What GPA do you need to get into Harvard?

Ans. Being one of the top universities in the USA, to get into Harvard a candidate must maintain a GPA of 4.0 and above.

Q.3 Is it hard to get into Harvard?

Ans. With an acceptance rate of 5.0%, Harvard University is the most difficult university to get into. However, if students maintain good academic records and are thorough with their applications, they can be one of the strongest applicants.

By now you must be well informed about how to get into Harvard University. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

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