Harvard University Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know
Overview of Harvard University
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard is an Ivy League university with an acceptance rate of just 5%. Harvard is one of the most prestigious universities globally and has a student/faculty ratio of 7 to 1. The institution has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to choose from. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations. It also has the biggest endowment of any university in the U.S. with a whopping $37 billion.
- Total Enrollment: 20,739 (6,788 undergraduates)
- Gender Breakdown: 50 percent male/50 percent female
- 72 percent full-time
Cost of Attendance Information
- Tuition and Fees: $51,925
- Books: $1,000
- Room and Board: $17,682
- Other Expenses: $3,193
- Total Cost: $73,800
Financial Aid Information
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 77 percent
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
- Grants: 55 percent
- Loans: 6 percent
- Average Amount of Aid
- Grants: $47,145
- Loans: $5,890
Academic Programs Offered
- Most Popular Majors: Social Sciences, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Mathematics, General; Physical Sciences; and History, General
Retention and Graduation
- First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 99 percent
- 4-Year Graduation Rate: 87 percent
- 6-Year Graduation Rate: 98 percent
NCAA Athletic Programs
- Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Skiing-Snowboarding, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water Polo, Wrestling
- Women’s Sports: Basketball, Fencing, Field Hockey, Golf, Skating, Soccer, Softball, Sports Management, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water Polo
- The Harvard Crimson play in the NCAA Division I Ivy League.
Overview of Harvard University Admissions
You can still get into Harvard if you don’t have a perfect GPA or SAT scores, so don’t give up hope. The institution has holistic admissions, and the institution is looking for individuals who add more than good grades to the university community. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside the admission offices’ mean range. Make sure to highlight what differentiates you from other applicants.
This institution has a robust admissions process that involves a multitude of academic measures. A persuasive essay and glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices.
Harvard is one of the most selective institutions in the country with an acceptance rate of 5% for students who entered the 2018-19 academic year. For every 5 students who got in, 95 received rejection letters.
SAT Requirements and Scores
These score ranges reveal that successful Harvard applicants tend to be in the top 7% of all students according to national SAT data. 25% of applicants scored a 720 or lower on the evidence-based reading section of the exam, while the top 25% all scored between 780 and 800. To be truly at Harvard, you’ll want to have a combined SAT score that is well over 1400.
ACT Requirements and Scores
A mean ACT score is roughly 21, so you can see that students admitted to Harvard are far, far over mean. According to national ACT data, successful Harvard applicants have scored in the top 3%. Amongst Harvard applicants, 25% scored a 33 or lower on the ACT, while the top 25% all scored either a 35 or 36.
GPA and Class Rank
For first-year students who entered Harvard University in 2018-19, the mean high school GPA was 4.5. 93% of all students had a GPA of 3.75 or higher, and no students gained admission who had a GPA under a 3.0. Class ranks were also high, as 95% of all students were in the top 10% of their class.
Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission
If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for Harvard University, it should be easy for you to gain admission to the schools below. If Harvard University is currently out of your reach, you can be a competitive candidate for the schools below.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York University, Boston University, Boston College
Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission
If you’re a competitive candidate for Harvard University, you should have an equal chance of gaining admission.
Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Tufts University, Northeastern University, University of Michigan
Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge
These schools are more challenging to gain admission than Harvard University. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, you’ll be a competitive candidate.
California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Yale University, Columbia University
Applying to Harvard University
Application Deadline: January 1
Undergraduate Admissions Website: https://www.harvard.edu/admissions-aid#titletop
Undergraduate Application Link(s):
Graduate Admissions Website: https://gsas.harvard.edu/admissions
Graduate Application Link(s): https://gsas.harvard.edu/admissions/apply