Harvard University Acceptance Rate: When searching for the best universities in the world, the name of Harvard University is sure to pop up more than once.

The name Harvard is synonymous with high quality education, state of the art facilities, world renowned faculty, excellent research output, etc.

Many students dream of studying in this prestigious institution and are constantly looking for answers to- how to get admission in Harvard university?

Schoolblog will answer all your questions including Harvard university acceptance rate, Harvard university admission requirements for Indian students, what does it take to get into Harvard university, etc.

Harvard is an elite private university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the Boston Area. It is a mid-size institution with an enrollment of 5,699 undergraduate students.

Admissions into Harvard university is extremely competitive as the Harvard university acceptance rate is only 5%. Popular majors include Economics, Computer Science, and Social Science Research Methods.

Before understanding what it takes to get into Harvard that is Harvard university acceptance rate, let us first know a little more about Harvard. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is one of the oldest universities in the United States.

It is a member of the prestigious Ivy league institutions and is one of the most respected institutions worldwide. The university consists of the undergraduate Harvard College, 12 graduate and professional Schools, and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. More than 31,000 students are enrolled in Harvard in different programs, over 11% of which are international students.

  • Established: 1636
  • QS World University Ranking 2022: 5
  • Student: Faculty Ratio: 5:1

Popular Courses in Harvard University

  • Law
  • Psychology
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Mathematics
  • Biological Sciences
  • Business Management

What is the Harvard University Acceptance Rate?

The Harvard university acceptance rate is somewhere between 4-5% which means that of the 100 students that apply to Harvard only 4 or 5 are accepted. Thereby, making Harvard one of the most competitive Ivy Leagues to get into!

Harvard University Requirements for Admission

The next questions that follow are: how hard is it to get into Harvard University, what are the Harvard University admission requirements for Indian students, how much GPA do you need to get into Harvard, how much marks do you need to get into Harvard, etc.

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Let’s try to break down the score conditions and Harvard University admission requirements for international students into the following parts:

What are Harvard’s admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

  • GPA requirements
  • Testing requirements, including SAT and
  • ACT requirements
  • Application requirements

In this guide we’ll do our best to cover what you need to get into Harvard and build a strong application considering the Harvard university acceptance rate.

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

Harvard university acceptance rate: The acceptance rate at Harvard is 4.7%. For every 100 applicants, only 5 are admitted.

This means the school is extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation. If you don’t meet their expectations, your chance of getting in is nearly zero.

After crossing this hurdle, you’ll need to impress Harvard application readers through their other application requirements, including extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation which we’re going to cover more as we proceed.

Harvard GPA Requirements

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school’s average GPA for its current students.

  • The average GPA at Harvard is 4.18

With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You’ll need nearly straight A’s in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes – AP or IB courses – to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

If you’re currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 4.18, you’ll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

SAT and ACT Requirements
Apart from a good GPA, having high scores in your standardized scores is also important.

SAT Requirements

Most schools at Harvard have their own minimum SAT requirements. Your SAT score is good enough to depend on the average score of the other applicants, therefore, having a high score gives you an advantage considering the Harvard university acceptance rate.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Harvard. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application inorder to get admission in line with the Harvard university acceptance rate.

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – Harvard SAT Requirements
Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school’s average score.

Average SAT: 1520
The average SAT score composite at Harvard is a 1520 on the 1600 SAT scale.

This score makes Harvard Extremely Competitive for SAT test scores.

Harvard SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1460, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1580. In other words, a 1460 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1580 will move you up to above average.

Those who live near Harvard may want to look into tutors in Acton and elsewhere in the Boston area to strengthen their test performance.

Here’s the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

  • Section Average 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
  • Math 770 740 800
  • Reading + Writing 750 720 780
  • Composite 1520 1460 1580

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

Harvard has the Score Choice policy of “Highest Section.”

This is also known as super scoring. This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – Harvard ACT Requirements
Just like for the SAT, Harvard likely doesn’t have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – Average ACT: 34
The average ACT score at Harvard is 34. This score makes Harvard Extremely Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 33, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 35.

Even though Harvard likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 33 or below, you’ll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 34 and above that a 33 will look academically weak.

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – ACT Score Sending Policy
If you’re taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

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This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school’s ACT requirement of 35 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you’re happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – ACT Super score Policy
By and large, most colleges do not super score the ACT. (Super score means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay section.

Harvard requires you to take the SAT Essay/ACT Writing section. They’ll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – SAT Subject Test Requirements
Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

Harvard has indicated that SAT subject tests are required for admission considering the Harvard university acceptance rate. Continue reading to see how many and which ones they require.

Typically, your SAT/ACT and GPA are far more heavily weighed than your SAT Subject Tests. If you have the choice between improving your SAT/ACT score or your SAT Subject Test scores, definitely choose to improve your SAT/ACT score.

Documents Required to Get Into Harvard University

Before understanding what it takes to get into Harvard, let us first know a little more about Harvard. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is one of the oldest universities in the United States. It is a member of the prestigious Ivy league institutions and is one of the most respected institutions worldwide.

The answer to how to get into Harvard University is not as simple as getting good scores. All good universities including Harvard will consider your application holistically.

This means that you must ensure that your overall application stands out in comparison to the other applicants to stand a chance in regard to the Harvard university acceptance rate.

The major documents required for Harvard admission include:

  1. Academic transcripts
  2. Bachelor’s degree (for PG programs)
  3. Passport
  4. Visa
  5. Birth certificate

Let us now move on to know more about the Harvard University requirements in detail:

GPA Requirements
A good overall academic profile is one of the main factors that help to keep you in the race for Harvard. Remember that the level of competition is extremely high for Harvard, therefore, being amongst the top students in your class will definitely brighten your chances.

Many schools at Harvard specify a minimum GPA. Although it is not very high, it is the basic eligibility without which your application won’t be accepted.

Average GPA of the admitted Students at Harvard is around 4.18

However, if your GPA is low, it does not mean that you won’t be able to make it to Harvard. If your GPA is low, make sure that the other parts of your application are extremely impressive.

A high SAT or ACT score can also help you get notice and compensate for the lower GPA. The whole idea is to be able to compete effectively against other higher GPA applicants.

Standardized Test Score Requirements
Apart from a good GPA, having high scores in your standardized scores is also important.

Harvard University Acceptance Rate – SAT Requirements For Harvard University

Most schools at Harvard have their own minimum SAT requirements. Your SAT score is good enough to depend on the average score of the other applicants, therefore, having a high score gives you an advantage.

Some schools in Harvard may allow you to send SAT scores from more than one test known as super scoring. This means that you can take the SAT multiple times and then submit only the tests that give you the highest Super score.

So, the application readers will take the highest score from one section and add it to the highest score from another section irrespective of the test date.

ACT Requirements For Harvard University

Just like SAT, Harvard also comes up with the minimum ACT requirements.

The 25-75th percentile of Harvard admitted students had an ACT Composite score of 33-35.

The schools at Harvard allow students to choose the ACT scores they want to send. Therefore, if you have taken multiple tests, you can only send your highest one.

Apart from this, Harvard also requires you to take the SAT Essay/ ACT Writing section. Therefore, performing extremely well in these sections is of immense importance as well.

GRE Score Requirements For Harvard University

Just like undergrad admissions, the admission to graduate programs at Harvard is extremely competitive. So, if you are looking for GRE scores to get into Harvard, you must know that most graduate schools do not specify a GRE cut-off for their programs.

However, a look at the average scores of students admitted to Harvard can serve as an indicator of the requirements.

The average GRE scores for most admitted students at Harvard can range between:

  • Verbal: 155 – 166
  • Quant: 155 – 170 for Quant
  • Analytical Writing: 4.5-5.0
    Many programs may require scores of over 160.

It is important to remember that score requirements vary widely with the program. Quant expectations are higher for maths and science related programs such as computer science, while Verbal expectations are higher for reading and writing related programs such as English Literature.

GMAT Score Requirements For Harvard University

Getting admission to the Harvard Business School is quite competitive just like other streams. A good GMAT score is essential to get admission into the management programs at the university.

Harvard reports its GMAT score for admitted students in terms of class median, rather than average. The GMAT median for Harvard Business school is 730.

IELTS/ TOEFL Score Requirements

International students should also submit the scores of their English language proficiency tests to Harvard. The scores may vary from one program to another, so make sure you check with the specific program and school.

Most Schools at Harvard accept the TOEFL and IELTS scores of around 80 and 7.5, respectively.

Essays
A great essay is one of the most important components of Harvard University admission requirements. Make sure your essay pitch is strong, reflects your unique experience, ambition, and character.

Harvard University Application Process

You can apply to Harvard using any one of the following portals:

  • Coalition Application
  • Common Application
  • Universal College Application

These portals can be used to apply for undergraduate as well as graduate level programs. The Harvard application fee is 75 USD.

Start your application process for Harvard as early as possible. This will give plenty of time to perfect it.

Once you have selected the portal, be sure to send in the following Harvard University admission requirements for international students:

  • Standardized Test Scores
  • English Language proficiency proof
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Essays
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation – at least 3
  • Resume – wherever required

The Harvard application must be submitted before the submission of supporting materials. Make sure you submit all Harvard supplements or questions along with the application. This will help the admission committee to assess your application better.

What If You Get Rejected from Harvard?

With an acceptance rate of merely 4-5%, getting into Harvard is definitely not a cake walk. Schoolblog would advise you to always apply at other US universities with a high acceptance rate, in case you get rejected at Harvard. Moreso, you can even apply at Harvard with a gap year as well!

Tips to Prepare for Harvard

Now if you are thinking how to get into Harvard, you need to prepare right away. Here are a few tips that will come in handy:

Do Your Research: Research well on the university and programs you wish to apply for. Based on that, you need to start working on your profile, SoP, contacting recommenders etc.

Start Preparation Early: Make sure you start your preparation early. Focus on getting extremely good grades at your school and also start preparing for the standardized exams. Practice taking tests at home.

Build Your Overall Profile: Harvard is looking for something beyond academics. Work on building up your overall profile – work experience, volunteer work, extracurriculars, etc.

Use Student Groups for Information: Join the Yocket group for Harvard University or other social media groups with other fellow applicants for discussions and gaining more information.

Schoolblog got you covered in all your admission process

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