Harvard Early Decision Acceptance Rate

August 23, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Harvard Early Decision Acceptance Rate

Does Harvard Have Early Decision?

For Ivy League admission policies, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania all provide the College Board-approved Early Decision Plan, which necessitates an earlier commitment to matriculate.

One important thing to check before applying is “Does Harvard have early decision?” Instead, Harvard has a restrictive early action program that is available to applicants who want to jump ahead in the application process. Harvard’s restrictive early action option is non-binding, thus individuals who are included in the Harvard early decision acceptance rate are not required to enroll in the university.

Students who apply to Harvard through this program may still submit early applications to other non-binding public institutions or colleges outside of the United States. However, Harvard early action applicants are not eligible to apply to other private institutions of higher learning in the nation.

Students walking around Harvard campus.

For individuals whose academic records have been consistently exceptional throughout their high school experience, early action is a fantastic choice for applying to Harvard. With the help of an early action admission policy, students can select their institution in advance, allowing them more time to consider their options, compile their application materials, and write a captivating personal statement.

Some important notes to remember:

  • If you are applying to Harvard through Restrictive Early Action, you are not eligible to apply through Early Decision, Early Action, or Restrictive Early Action to any other private college or a similar early program at a public university.
  • You may apply early under a non-binding program to any public institution, military academy, or university outside the United States.
  • You may also apply early under a Regular Decision or Early Decision II program at other universities.
  • You may apply to a binding early decision program at another college if your application is deferred in the early action round (i.e. Early Decision II).
  • If time is shown to be an important factor to take into account and the decision is non-binding, you may apply for scholarships or special academic programs with an early deadline at another institution, whether public or private.
  • Regardless of whether a student applies through Restrictive Early Action or Regular Decision, Harvard will cover all of their financial needs.

When Does Harvard Early Decision Come Out?

You can apply to Harvard through either Regular Decision or Restrictive Early Action programs, both of which let you evaluate admissions and financial aid offers from other schools and postpone making your ultimate college decision until May 1. Let’s tackle when does Harvard early decision come out as well as for the regular admissions round.

  • Candidates for Restrictive Early Action must apply by November 1 in order to be notified by mid-December.
  • Regular Decision applicants must submit their applications by January 1 to be notified by the end of March.

You are free to apply to Harvard through either the Coalition Application, Powered by Scoir, or the Common Application. Beginning on August 1, applicants can begin filling out the Common Application. For the 2022–23 application cycle, the Coalition Application is being created in collaboration with Scoir/Technolutions. By September 1, the Coalition Application, Powered by Scoir, is expected to become live.

Harvard University Admissions Timeline

Spring (prior to the year you apply)

If you’d like, you might think about taking the tests listed below (note that Harvard is currently test-optional):

  • Check to see if the SAT or ACT is needed or optional.

Fall (of the year you apply)

Please send the following as soon as feasible this fall:

  • Your Coalition Application or Common Application, powered by Scoir, online application to Harvard. This is required in order to access your admissions file, follow your paperwork, and maybe schedule an alumni interview.
  • The $75 application fee or a request for a fee exemption.
  • The application supplements may be sent at a later time, ideally no later than two weeks following the application deadline.

31st of October

Applicants for restrictive early action: Your test results (if available) are requested to be submitted by the end of October. You may still submit an application using the November series since they should get to us in time for review.

1st of November

Deadline for all application documents for Restrictive Early Action applicants.

Male student typing in a table.

Also submit your financial aid application so that if you’re accepted, Harvard can send you financial aid details when admissions decisions are made in mid-December.

Early November

It is advised that you submit test results from the November series or earlier if you are applying for Regular Decision, though you may also submit SAT results from December or February (ACT).


Restrictive Early Action applicants: decisions are announced.

1st of January

Final submission date for all Regular Decision application documents. For Regular Decision consideration, all application materials must be submitted by this date.

1st of February

If you did not receive an email from the admissions office confirming your application, contact them at [email protected]

In order for us to be able to offer you financial aid information if you are accepted, please submit your financial aid application (if it is still ongoing) by the end of March.


You should ask your school to send in your most current grades together with your Mid-year School Report forms.

Late March

Release of first-year admissions decisions.

Early May

Deadline for responses for accepted students is early May. No money down is needed.

What Is the Early Decision Acceptance Rate at Harvard?

To bring light to the query “What is the early decision acceptance rate at Harvard?”, Harvard early decision acceptance rate this year was 7.87%, making the entrance to the school exceedingly tough. With the exception of specialized institutions like the Curtis Institute of Music, Harvard actually has the lowest acceptance rate of any college in the US. Given that most colleges accept the majority of applicants, this rate is extremely low in comparison to many other institutions. Around 70.1 percent of applicants are accepted on average by all colleges and institutions in the nation.

Male student typing in his laptop.

However, it may be claimed that those who apply early action have a substantially higher probability of being accepted to Harvard than those who apply normal decision. As of the autumn of 2020, there is a 5% overall acceptance rate for first-year students at Harvard. A total of 9,406 early applications were submitted to Harvard for the 2026 first-year class. Around 740 applicants were chosen to attend the institution which makes up the 7.89 Harvard early decision acceptance rate.

Only 743 out of the 10,087 early decision applications received by Harvard for the first-year class of 2025 were accepted last year.

Therefore, it looks that early decision acceptance is reaching similarly high rates, despite the fact that it has historically been much higher than the typical first-year acceptance rate. Below is a quick overview of Harvard early decision acceptance rates over the past 3 classes.

Class Accepted Early Applications  Received Early Applications Early Application Acceptance Rate
2026 740 9,406 7.87%
2025 747 10,086 7.41%
2024 895 6,424 13.90%

Does Early Decision Increase Chances at Harvard?

Even while it is obvious that a greater proportion of candidates were approved in the early action round, people who apply for early action have been working on their applications to Harvard for years.

Unidentified person using a laptop in a table.

Early action applicants to Harvard have three things in common:

  1. They are sure that Harvard University is their top option for a college. The admissions committee makes a concerted effort to ensure that candidates who would unquestionably be approved in the regular decision round be admitted in the early action round, according to William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial assistance.
  2. They do not require additional time to perfect their application. Most early action applicants focus their attention on their top school choice. Typically, this means that they have been working with counselors, teachers, parents, and other mentors for months, if not years, to perfect their application and test results. Early action applicants actually have an edge because of their perseverance.
  3. They have a hook, too. Every school seeks fresh pupils to meet certain institutional demands. A hook is when an applicant can demonstrate how they can fill a need.

But what good does all this effort accomplish if you’re not admitted into early action right away? The majority of early action applications that are not accepted right away are deferred, which is good news. Deferral entails that their applications will also be automatically taken into account throughout the usual decision-making process. However, it is essential to have a strong application from the start, taking into account that much fewer students get approved once the early action round has ended.

Test results, high school transcripts, and other extra paperwork may take some time to reach the Harvard admissions office, but as long as they are submitted before the cutoff date, processing delays won’t have an impact on the student’s prospects to be classified among the applicants in Harvard early decision acceptance rate.

According to Harvard, students who apply through the early action program are not given any additional consideration when their applications are being reviewed. They point out that the great overall intellectual merit that this candidate pool demonstrates explains why limited early action applicants typically have better acceptance percentages.

So, does early decision increase chances at Harvard? It is still true that students who apply through the early action program have many advantages over those who do so through regular decision. These advantages include the chance to have more time to get in touch with the people they want to ask to submit letters of recommendation for the school.

Restrictive early action students must submit their financial aid applications by a different deadline than regular decision applicants, which is noteworthy.

Although it’s challenging, getting accepted to Harvard is by no means impossible. The next stage is to create an application that allows you to put your best foot forward if you’ve decided to accept these odds and fight for one of those highly sought-after seats at Harvard.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while submitting an application to a highly selective university like Harvard:

  • Budget ample time and get started early. Rereading and editing your responses might make your application much stronger. Even though the Harvard application isn’t very lengthy, you shouldn’t rush through the process of filling it out.
  • Restrictive Early Action at Harvard has a greater acceptance percentage than the Regular Decision process, so think about applying through this route. In comparison to 4.6 percent of RD applicants, 13.4 percent of REA applicants for the Class of 2023 were approved. Our findings demonstrate that applying early does boost your chances of admission, even when candidate strength is taken into account. Previously, it was believed that the difference in acceptance rates was caused by a more qualified early applicant pool. Does Applying Early Increase My Chances? has more information.
  • Be confident in showcasing all of your best qualities. Do not minimize your accomplishments at this time. While vital, self-promotion can be challenging. Keep in mind that you are up against applicants who don’t feel the need to be humble.
  • Clearly state the lessons you’ve taken away from your experiences. Even though a big list of your achievements may appear impressive on paper, it lacks substance when read in isolation. If Harvard is aware of the motivations behind your choices and how your life experiences have shaped you, they will be better equipped to evaluate your personal attributes.
  • Ask someone else to review your application. You may find it challenging to picture how an admissions officer will perceive your application because you are so involved in the application process. Particularly when it comes to your essay responses, an outsider’s perspective is crucial for catching omissions, fixing mistakes, and evaluating your tone.
  • Always be true to who you are. Instead of just seeking for textbook examples of devout students, Harvard wants to meet fascinating, driven people. Let your personality shine through in your application; doing so will help others remember you.

What Kind of Students Does Harvard Look for?

According to Harvard, each application is carefully considered in order to identify candidates who will motivate their professors and fellow students throughout college and beyond. According to the school, when evaluating an application, the admissions authorities take into consideration the following qualities:

  • Developmental potential and growth
  • Your extracurricular pursuits
  • Your character
  • Your willingness to give back to the Harvard community

To help you understand what kind of students does Harvard look for, we will examine each of these qualities in turn. You can learn more about the traits of applicants who might stand a better chance of being admitted to Harvard from this summary.

The capacity and potential for growth. The admissions authorities at Harvard take into account several factors when assessing your growth potential. They’ll evaluate whether you’ve stretched yourself and whether you’ve grown as much as you possibly can academically and personally.

Students wallking around Harvard campus.

They’ll be curious about your time management and whether you’ve put in your best effort in your job, education, or other facets of your life. They’ll also take into account your seeming reserve of power, as well as your level of initiative and motivation. The officers will take into account both who you are now and who you might become in the future.

Harvard wants to know that you are a driven individual who is prepared to work hard to reach your potential. People that are self-driven and determined to succeed in their endeavors are preferred by the institution. They also want to see that you have the capacity to advance further in your growth and development to realize your true potential.

About your interests and activities. If you have any interests in which you have a strong passion, Harvard wants to know. The admissions officers will also want to know if you have learned anything from following your hobbies, whether you have succeeded or failed, and if you have, how you have learned from it and how you have kept going after your interests despite failure.

The school will also want to see if you’ve made the most of your opportunities and if you’ll have time to enjoy your extracurricular interests at Harvard. Harvard is more concerned with the caliber of your pursuits than the sheer number of them.

One’s personality. If you wish to integrate into the Harvard community, your character is crucial. The admissions committee will be interested in learning about your decisions and the factors that led to them. They’ll also be looking for evidence that you’ve shown empathy, are mature and can maintain composure under pressure.

They look for those who are receptive to discovering new perspectives and interacting with others. You won’t likely get accepted to Harvard if you have excellent grades and test results but have terrible character. This makes it crucial for you to show kindness to others and show that you care about them in addition to yourself.

Being able to contribute to the Harvard community. Harvard is an exceptional institution, thus there is pressure to do well. Your ability to handle the demands and rigors of education at Harvard, both inside and outside the classroom, will be assessed by the admissions committee.

They’ll want to know that you’ll profit from your experience and give back to the Harvard community. They’ll also want to see that you’re the kind of person that other students would want to get to know, collaborate with, and hang out with in small groups or on teams.

If you are invested in getting into Harvard, you might constantly worry over the Harvard early decision acceptance rate. One of the hundred ways to be ready for early applications is to make sure your grades and scores qualify for Harvard GPA and SAT requirements. If you think you are quite unprepared, you can always wait for the regular admissions round or better consult experts like AdmissionSight.

AdmissionSight has over 10 years of experience in guiding students through the tough college admissions journey. If you would like to know us more and ask for help in your college application, do not hesitate to set up an initial consultation with us.


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