Harvard Regular Decision

July 26, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Harvard Regular Decision

The oldest university in the country and a part of the exclusive Ivy League, Harvard University was founded in 1636 and named after one of the college’s first donors, John Harvard. One of the most highly regarded and well-respected academic institutions in the world is this private, liberal arts university. Read on to know more about the Harvard regular decision.

Harvard University offers unmatched student experiences across a wide range of academic programs. Harvard is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in an urban setting across the Charles River from Boston.

The top-notch Business School, Medical School, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Graduate Education School, Law School, and John F. Kennedy School of Government are just a few of Harvard’s 13 schools and institutes. For professionals, Harvard also provides non-degree opportunities such as executive, continuing, and online education.

Harvard students walking around the main building of the campus.

The oldest collection in the US and the largest private collection in the world are both housed in Harvard’s library. John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt are two of the eight US presidents who attended Harvard.

Harvard has the largest endowment of any university in the world and offers students who are unable to pay for tuition generous financial aid packages. They distributed $645 million in financial aid and scholarships during the 2020 fiscal year.

Harvard prioritizes study abroad initiatives in the twenty-first century and provides a range of chances for students to gain knowledge abroad. The school has also implemented a revised general education program that aims to link classroom curricula with situations that students will face after graduating from high school. Harvard University currently has 17,000 regular enrollment students and another 30,000 students enrolled in non-degree courses.

When Is Harvard’s Regular Decision Due?

If Harvard is your dream school but you required additional preparation time, you should look into when is Harvard’s regular decision due. Applicants who choose to submit their applications through the Regular Decision process have until the 1st of January to do so, and they will be notified at the end of March.

You may use either the Coalition Application or the Common Application to submit an application to Harvard. 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 should be available.

The following dates are crucial to keep in mind during the Harvard admissions process:

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 required or optional.

Fall (of the year you apply)

Please submit the following as soon as possible this fall:

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

Early November

We advise 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).

January 1st

The final submission date for the Harvard Regular Decision application materials is January 1st. For Regular Decision consideration, all application materials must be submitted by this date.


You should ask your school to send in your most recent grades along with your Midyear School Report forms.

Late March to April 6th

First-year admission for the Harvard regular decisions is released

Early May

The deadline for responses for accepted students. No deposit is needed.

How Selective Is Harvard?

How selective is Harvard? Even though there are many components to a college application, you should concentrate on just a few crucial ones:

  • GPA specifications
  • Test requirements, such as those for the SAT and ACT
  • Requirements for application

The acceptance rate should be your first consideration if you want to be admitted. This reveals how demanding the school’s requirements are and how competitive it is.

Only 1,954 Class of 2026 applicants were accepted out of a record-breaking 61,220 applicants. This translates to a 3.19 percent acceptance rate, which is astonishingly low (even by Harvard’s standards). The 3.43 percent rate for the Class of 2025 is comparable to this.

Male student writing in front of his laptop.

In contrast, only 1,980 of the 40,248 applications for admission to the freshman class of 2020–21 were accepted. This translates to an acceptance rate of 4.9%.

This demonstrates how picky the school is. To get past their initial filters and demonstrate your academic readiness, it’s crucial to meet their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements. Your chances of being admitted are almost nonexistent if you don’t live up to their standards.

Once you’ve gotten past this obstacle, you’ll need to wow the Harvard admissions committee with your extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation.

We’ll elaborate further below:

1. GPA Requirements for Harvard

For admission to Harvard, applicants must rank at the top of their class and maintain a minimum GPA. Students with GPAs of 4.0 to 4.18 have the best chances of being accepted, though there are a few exceptions.

Additionally, if you want to demonstrate that you can handle college-level coursework when applying to Harvard, you should enroll in AP or IB courses. You may be able to make up for a subpar GPA in other areas of your application, such as test results, essays, and extracurricular activities.

Acceptance of AP Credit at Harvard

If they turn on Advanced Standing, students receive graduation credit for their Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Students who have 32 AP credits are qualified for Advanced Standing.

They obtain these credits by receiving a five on at least four AP exams that are acceptable.

2. Requirements for the Harvard Standardized Test

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard did not request applicants to submit their test results during the 2021–2022 admissions cycle. As part of their application materials, students had the choice to include their SAT scores.

Harvard declared that for the cycle of applications from 2023 to 2026, tests are still optional.

SAT Requirements for Harvard

Harvard University requires a minimum SAT score of 1460 for admission; most applicants score in the range of 1460 and 1580.

Is the SAT Essay Required for Harvard?

The SAT essay was not required for Harvard’s 2021–2022 application cycle. SAT requirements are subject to change in future application cycles. Students had the option to submit the SAT essay.

Female student typing in a room full of books.

SAT Subject Tests for Harvard

Harvard advise students who decide to take the SAT to take two SAT Subject Tests, only one of which should be the math test.

ACT Requirements for Harvard

A composite ACT score of at least 33 is required for admission to Harvard University. The typical range for admitted students is 33 to 35.

According to Harvard Admissions, students who don’t submit their scores from this year’s standardized tests won’t be penalized when applying. They are encouraged to send whatever materials they think would best convey their achievements in secondary school and their potential for the future because their applications will be evaluated in light of what they have provided. Applicants may opt to self-report their test results or submit their official test results.

Requirements for the English Language Proficiency Exam

Harvard welcomes applications from people all over the world but emphasizes that they need to be fluent in English and be able to express themselves clearly in it.

Although English proficiency tests are not necessary, international students may submit their results (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) to demonstrate their language skills.

3. Application Essays for Harvard

Another way to demonstrate to Harvard admissions officers that you belong on their campus is through your application essays.

Questions or Topics for Common/Coalition Application Essays (Personal Essay)

The subjects for essays can vary depending on the application. Instead of attempting to write what you believe Harvard Admissions wants to read, these questions are meant to give you space to share something important to you.

Common App Essay Prompts for Harvard

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Supplemental Essays for Harvard

Harvard additionally has its own set of questions in addition to the personal essay. Your responses will enable them to learn more about you and how you intend to make use of your time as a student. They are interested in finding out more about your academic interests and leisure activities.

Young woman typing in his laptop while sitting in the sofa.

On the Coalition Application or the Common Application, you can directly fill out the Harvard Questions.

You will have one more chance to explain to Harvard why you are the ideal candidate for their university in the writing supplement section. You have the option to submit an essay you’ve already written, choose your own topic to write about, or use a suggested prompt to bolster the information in your personal statement. Select the prompt that best aligns with your overall mission and objectives if you must choose one.

Prompts for the Harvard Supplemental Essay

  • Unusual circumstances in your life
  • Travel, living, or working experiences in your own or other communities
  • What you would want your future college roommate to know about you
  • An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science, or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you
  • How do you hope to use your college education
  • A list of books you have read during the past twelve months
  • The Harvard College Honor Code declares that we “hold honesty as the foundation of our community.” As you consider entering this community that is committed to honesty, please reflect on a time when you or someone you observed had to make a choice about whether to act with integrity and honesty.
  • The mission of Harvard College is to educate our students to be citizens and citizen-leaders for society. What would you do to contribute to the lives of your classmates in advancing this mission?
  • Each year a substantial number of students admitted to Harvard defer their admission for one year or take time off during college. If you decided in the future to choose either option, what would you like to do?
  • Harvard has long recognized the importance of student body diversity of all kinds. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, personal development or the intellectual interests you might bring to your Harvard classmates.

4. Extracurriculars for Harvard Application

Harvard seeks outgoing leaders who will have a positive influence on both their campus community and the wider world.

They’re not looking for students who fit a predetermined mold and can only comprehend difficult equations and theories. You must submit a history of your extracurricular activities both inside and outside of school to Harvard admissions officers. Although you are free to select what you want to display, Harvard frequently chooses events that support those values.

The extracurricular activities listed below show your dedication and interests. This is a great place to start even though it is not an exhaustive list:

  1. Start a new business
  2. Direct a sports team
  3. Volunteer with a community organization
  4. Plan a fundraiser
  5. Write and publish a book
  6. Spend the summer working with underprivileged kids
  7. Working at a summer camp.

What Is Harvard’s Acceptance Rate for Regular Admission?

Harvard only accepted 1,954 students for the class of 2026. You may wonder what is Harvard’s acceptance rate for regular admission? The acceptance rate is as low as 2.3 percent, a total of 1,214 of those students came from the Harvard regular decision admissions.

Aerial view of Harvard University on day time.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, optional standardized testing, and an increase in the number of students applying to colleges, the majority of top universities have reported a decline in admission rates over the past three years. Harvard’s admit rates have decreased consistently over the last three years, making it the Ivy League school that is arguably the most competitive.

Regular Decision Statistics from Harvard

Class (Year)

Number of Applicants The Harvard Regular Decision Accepted Students

Acceptance Rate for the Harvard Regular Decision Admissions


51,814 1,214 2.30%
2025 47,349 1,221 2.60%
2024 33,824 1,085


What Are the Odds of Getting Off the Waitlist?

Harvard is one of the most competitive colleges and one of the students’ first choices. In actuality, only 3.19 percent of candidates in the most recent admissions cycle received an offer to enroll in the 2026 first-year class.

Unfortunately, some very gifted students will end up on Harvard’s waitlist due to the competitive admissions rate.

If you’ve been put on a waitlist and you’re wondering what are the odds of getting off the waitlist, sadly, Harvard’s waitlist acceptance rate is still unclear. The number of accepted students can vary significantly. A seat in the upcoming class has been won by more than 200 students (in some years) after they were promoted from the waitlist. However, Harvard’s yield rate has been so high in some recent admissions cycles that the school hasn’t been able to admit even one waitlist applicant.

For the Class of 2024, Harvard accepted 34 applicants from the waitlist. However, no students from the Class of 2025 waitlist have been admitted, per data from Harvard’s admissions office.

How Do You Increase Your Chances of Getting into Harvard?

Harvard is a very selective and academically rigorous university. The required GPA must be at least the minimum for applicants. Harvard values academic performance and awards, but these are not the only qualities the university looks for in applicants.

Harvard is interested in a person’s overall development, including their extracurricular pursuits, hobbies, and aspirations for the future. They want to know how you plan to make the most of your time at Harvard through essay questions and supporting materials. You may check the tips below on how do you increase your chances of getting into Harvard:

1. Obtain a minimum GPA of 4.22 while registering for the most difficult classes possible.

More than three-quarters of the admitted students to Harvard’s class of 2025 had a 4.0, and their average high school GPA was 4.22. The best way to increase your chances of being accepted is to have excellent academics—and to finish the most difficult coursework offered.

Competitive applicants to a top-ten school like Harvard frequently have upwards of 12 AP credits completed. The Academic Index (AI) is used by selective colleges like Harvard to weed out underqualified applicants. This is a single score that combines your grade point average, test results, and class standing (if your school ranks).

The Harvard admissions committee might not even read the rest of your application if your AI isn’t up to par. The easiest way to raise your Academic Index is to obtain a higher test score because it will be more difficult to raise your GPA if you are a junior or senior.

2. Aim for an ACT of 35 and a SAT of 1580. (use the 75th percentile).

The middle 50% of the Harvard class of 2025 received SAT scores between 1460 and 1580 and ACT scores between 33 and 35.

Any score in the middle 50% is favorable, but your chances of admission improve the higher your score falls within the range. Harvard evaluates the highest test scores in each section across test dates rather than superscoring standardized test results.

3. Develop one or more Tier 1-2 extracurricular activities (identify your “spike”).

Extracurricular activities have the potential to be very important in the admissions process for selective institutions like Harvard. The extracurricular activities of a student may account for up to 25% of the admissions decision. While it’s true that there are no bad extracurricular activities, some of them are more impressive than others.

One being the most exceptional and four being the most typical are the four tiers that admissions officers use to evaluate extracurricular activities.

  • Tier 1 candidates might, for instance, be student-athletes with high national rankings or people who attended a prestigious summer program (based on merit).
  • Activities in Tier 2, the second-most prestigious category, highlight students’ more significant accomplishments, such as winning student body president or qualifying for the state tennis tournament.
  • Smaller accomplishments like serving as the History club’s treasurer or editor of the school newspaper fall under Tier 3 activities.
  • Participation in student clubs, athletic teams, and other unstructured hobbies all fall under the category of Tier 4 activities.

Those who want to attend Harvard should attempt to participate in at least a few Tier 1-2 activities. No matter your area of interest, Harvard is only interested in seeing you succeed in it because it will show them that you have the potential to succeed in the future.

Instead of engaging in a variety of unrelated activities at a mediocre level, focus on one or two areas of interest to create a “spike.”

4. Create interesting essays.

There are many candidates for Harvard with outstanding resumes. In your essay, show off your distinct voice and persona.

When it comes time to choose between equally qualified candidates, the admissions officer is much more likely to support you if you are on their mind. As part of your application, Harvard asks you to submit one required essay as well as two optional ones. If you want to stand out from the competition of deserving candidates, you should view all three essays as essential.

5. Do well in interviews.

Although interviews typically have a small impact on the overall admissions process, Harvard takes them into account when making admissions decisions.

College interviews frequently serve as obstacles rather than opportunities.

Avoid getting caught off guard during the Harvard interview by becoming familiar with the procedure, learning how to get ready for it, and being aware of the kind of questions typically asked of applicants.

6. Collect letters of recommendation.

Recommendation letters aid in illustrating your character. Like any good painter, you want to have complete control over your creation. Only those who have recommended you to others can share some of your compliments and personality traits. You must send recommendations from two teachers from different academic fields that you know well to Harvard.

It might seem like a distant dream to be accepted to Harvard, and in reality, it is very challenging. The applicant pool is remarkably strong, and many applicants are vying for a small number of openings. However, it is possible: that’s what AdmissionSight is established for. From details about the Harvard regular decision to the tiniest details of your application, we are here to guide you. Feel free to book a consultation at AdmissionSight to start your college admissions journey right.

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