How to Get into Harvard

If you dream of getting accepted to Harvard, you will be expected to have great ACT or SAT scores and a perfect or nearly perfect GPA. Harvard will also want you to write a personal statement as well as targeted short answers to questions that change year after year. Your answers and writing need to be compelling and showcase your thoughtfulness and maturity and preparedness for life at Harvard, in the classroom and in the community. Harvard also interviews most admissions candidates. Finally, you will need to have extracurricular activities through which you have demonstrated your leadership abilities. The oldest private institution in the U.S., Harvard was founded in 1636 and is known for its world-class faculty, cutting-edge research and talented students. Harvard graduates are among the top scholars and thought leaders in the world, and many are captains of industry. The school’s alumni network is recognized as one of the best in the world.

Harvard Facts

Motto: Veritas (Truth)
Established: 1636
School Type: Private
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Athletics: NCAA Division I – Ivy League
Nickname: Harvard Crimson

How to get into Harvard

What Grades Do I Need to Get into Harvard?

Harvard reports that it wants students who are in the top 10 to 15 percent of their classes. In reality, it is important that you strive to be at or near the very top of your graduating high school class in order to gain admission into Harvard. College Data reports that the average GPA of the enrolled freshmen of the class of 2021 was a weighted 4.17. Ninety percent of the enrolled freshmen had GPAs that were greater than 3.75, but it is important that you work to at least achieve the average GPA. It would be even better if you can try to achieve a higher GPA by taking as many AP or IB courses as possible at your school and getting As in them.

What SAT or ACT Scores Do I Need to Get into Harvard?


Harvard ACT Scores

Harvard accepts either the SAT or the ACT, so you should take the test with which you feel the most comfortable. In order to improve your chances of gaining admission, you should aim to score as high as you can on these tests. They allow you to choose which score was your highest and only submit that (Score Choice), so that will help if you didn’t score as high as you would have liked on your first try. The range of ACT scores for admitted freshmen is 32 to 35 at the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively. For the best chances of admission, you should aim to achieve a score at the 75th percentile or above on either the SAT or ACT.

What SAT Subject Tests Do I Need to Take to Get into Harvard?

Harvard prefers that students take at least two SAT subject tests although the school says that people may apply without them if the costs pose financial difficulties. Despite this, it is best if you take and submit subject tests. Harvard does not state a preference for the subject tests that you choose to take, but it is a good idea to take tests in subjects in which you are particularly strong or in your intended degree path, with Math II being a better choice than Math I for any STEM-focused students. Harvard does state that taking a subject test in English is a good idea if English is not your first language in order to help them to get a better picture of your language skills.

What Extracurricular Activities Do I Need to Get into Harvard?

Many students believe that they should sign up for as many different extracurricular activities as possible in order to improve their college admissions chances. Harvard instead looks for your sustained involvement in one particular type of activity or genre along with demonstrated leadership in it. In the New York Times, William Fitzsimmons, the long-serving dean of admissions at Harvard, said that students who pursue singular activities that they love and value are viewed as likely to contribute to Harvard’s community. It is best if you choose an extracurricular activity that appeals to your intellectual interests. Continue with your extracurricular activity throughout high school, and serve in leadership roles in it.

What Should I Write About in My Personal Statement to Get into Harvard?

When it comes to your personal statement, there is no magic formula. Harvard wants to learn more about who you are and what drives you, and your personal statement is where you can communicate this. Harvard does not want you to treat your personal statement as a resume. You should instead focus on an event or a particular topic that reveals a part of yourself while also showcasing your English language mastery.

Harvard’s acceptance rate for the admitted class of 2021 was just 5.1 percent, demonstrating how competitive it is. While it is hard to get admitted into Harvard, doing so is not impossible. When you have the right help and work hard throughout high school, you may find yourself opening your own Harvard acceptance letter. Going Ivy is dedicated to helping students with achieving their college admissions dreams, and we have the experience and track record to help you to get into Harvard.

Going Ivy is a premier, elite college admissions consulting company that has assisted many students with gaining admission into Harvard and other schools in the Ivy League. To find out if Going Ivy might be able to help you to accomplish your college goals, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.




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