Harvard Undergraduate Requirements

August 16, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Harvard Undergraduate Requirements

Harvard University, which was established in 1636, is not only one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the United States but also the oldest. It is a member of the prestigious group of colleges known as the “Ivy League,” and it is well-known for its academics, opportunities for research, athletics, and other activities. Harvard provides equal opportunities and student experiences that are unmatched. The process of getting accepted into Harvard is notoriously challenging, and in the most recent few years, the acceptance rate at Harvard has dropped even further to 3.1 percent, which translates to 1,965 accepted students for the class of 2025 causing due changes to some of the Harvard undergraduate requirements.

Even though there is a lot of competition, it is not completely impossible to be accepted. We will acquire additional knowledge regarding some of Harvard’s undergraduate requirements.

Harvard Overview

Harvard University is the oldest university in the United States. It was founded in 1636 and named after one of the college’s first benefactors, John Harvard. Harvard University is also a member of the prestigious Ivy League. This private liberal arts university is one of the academic institutions in the world that holds the distinction of being among the highest-ranked and most respected in the entire world.

Harvard University, which is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in an urban environment directly across the Charles River from Boston, provides students with unparalleled learning opportunities across a comprehensive curriculum.

Aerial view of Harvard University's campus buildings

The Business School, the Graduate Education School, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Medical School are all considered to be among the best in the world. Harvard is home to a total of 13 schools and institutes. Harvard also provides opportunities for professionals to further their education that does not lead to a degree, such as executive, continuing, and online education.

The library at Harvard is home to the oldest collection in the United States as well as the most extensive private collection in the whole wide world. There have been eight presidents of the United States, and two of them, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, graduated from Harvard.

Students who are unable to afford the cost of tuition are offered lucrative financial aid packages by Harvard University, which has the world’s largest endowment of any educational institution. During the fiscal year 2020, they awarded a total of $645 million in scholarships and other forms of financial assistance.

What are the Requirements to get into Harvard University?

The admissions standards for Harvard University change from program to program, so it’s important to do your research before applying. However, as a general rule, you will be expected to share the following documents:

  • Common Application or Coalition Application, Powered by Scoir
  • Questions for Harvard University can be found on the Common Application or the Coalition Application Harvard supplement
  • $85 fee (or request a fee waiver)
  • The SAT or ACT, with or without the writing component, may be waived for application cycles 2022-2026.
  • Results from Advanced Placement tests or any other exams are optional.
  • School Report and High School Transcript, which both include a letter from a guidance counselor.
  • Teacher Report (2)
  • The Report at the Half-Year Mark (after your first semester grades)
  • The Last Report from School (for admitted students only)

What is the minimum GPA you need to get into Harvard?

What is the minimum GPA you need to get into Harvard?  When applying to schools like colleges and universities, you should give careful consideration to your Grade Point Average, which is also known as your GPA. On the other hand, you could be wondering about the significance of your grade point average for the entirety of your time in college.

Row of students that are writing

You can simply refer to your grade point average (also abbreviated as GPA) as a number that represents a summary of your overall academic performance throughout your time spent in high school. When determining your overall grade point average, a component of the calculation is the numerical value that is assigned to each letter grade that you receive. This value is known as the “grade point equivalent.”

In the United States, grade point averages are typically calculated using a scale that ranges from 0 to 4 points (1.0-4.0). If your high school calculates grades using a weighted scale, your grade point average (GPA) could end up being higher than 4.0 even if you have a perfect attendance record. In this particular scenario, the influence that particular courses have on the calculation of your overall grade point average (GPA) will be the subject of a subsequent discussion that delves into greater depth.

It is commonly acknowledged that the admissions process at Harvard University is one of the most competitive in the entire world. Because of this, a significant number of students are interested in learning more about the Harvard GPA requirements. These students want to determine whether or not their cumulative grade point average at their current school is high enough to qualify them for admission to such a prestigious institution.

Just a quick note before we get into the specifics of the grade point average requirements for Harvard. It is essential to keep in mind that having a high GPA does not, on its own, ensure that one will be admitted to a school with an acceptance rate of only 3.19 percent. In light of this, I was curious as to whether or not there are any specific GPA requirements for Harvard.

The encouraging news is that Harvard does not have any genuine requirements for a minimum acceptable grade point average for its applicants. You should instead calculate your own GPA for college based on the standard deviation of the average GPA for college among students admitted to Harvard. This will give you a more accurate representation of your academic performance. The most recent group of students to be accepted had a score of 4.22, and this was their average.

Applicants to Harvard, on the other hand, need to have grade point averages that are exceptionally high in order to be accepted into the school. This requirement is part of the Harvard GPA and SAT requirements. The high school grade point average of students admitted to Harvard University as freshmen was a perfect score of four on a scale ranging from one to four, indicating that the university accepts and enrolls primarily A students.

The educational establishment is currently ranked first in the entire state of Massachusetts when it comes to having the highest GPA on average. The admissions process at Harvard is so competitive that getting in will be difficult even if you have a perfect grade point average. Even with a perfect GPA, the odds of getting into Harvard are extremely low. Even if you have a perfect grade point average of 4.0, the school should still be considered a reach for you because of the competitive nature of the applicant pool.

In spite of the fact that Harvard does not specify a minimum grade point average for applicants, you should still make it a priority to earn a grade point average that is higher than 4.22. Your grade point average in college ought to ideally be even higher than this average GPA in order for you to differentiate yourself from the other students.

Is SAT required for Harvard?

Is SAT required for Harvard admissions? For the upcoming Harvard College Classes of ’27, ’28, ’29, and ’30, the college will accept applications for admission from students without requiring them to submit scores from the SAT or ACT.

Because many students continued to have limited access to testing sites as a result of COVID-19, the most recent admissions cycle, which was for the Class of 2026, was the second cycle in which students have been able to apply to Harvard without being required to take standardized tests. Standardized tests are just one of many factors that are taken into consideration during the admissions process at Harvard, which takes the applicant as a whole.

Group of students taking an exam in a classroom.

The admissions committee will take into consideration a candidate’s achievements both inside and outside of the classroom during their senior year of high school. These may include participation in extracurricular activities and community service, as well as employment and family responsibilities.

Students who choose not to send in their scores from standardized tests will not be penalized in any way during the application process. Students are encouraged to send any materials they believe would convey their accomplishments in secondary school and their promise for the future. Applicants will be evaluated based on what they have presented, and students will be considered for the scholarship based on what they have presented.

What kind of student does Harvard look for?

What kind of student does Harvard look for?  In general, Harvard gives preference to students who are exceptional, and diligent, and demonstrate that they have the potential to be successful in the future. Students must be able to adapt to the enormous amount of reading, writing, and studying that is required at Harvard in order to be accepted.

The most important factor other than Harvard undergraduate requirements in their admissions decision is whether or not the applicant has an interesting story. This ensures that the student body is as diverse as possible and those other students can gain knowledge from one another.

When reviewing your application, Harvard is looking for evidence of potential in the students it might admit in the future. According to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, “Program admissions committees comprehensively review all applicants, taking into consideration their previous educational attainments and the contributions they can make to the academic community and their field of study.”

Let’s take a look at each of these qualities and characteristics of personality one at a time:


There’s a running joke at Harvard University that, for those who can’t get in, getting into Harvard would be easier than graduating from Harvard. This is a joke for those who can’t get in. This is because Harvard is incredibly “var-hard.” Get it? Quite challenging!! The amount of work required is enormous. A lot is going on every day, including readings, taking notes in class, completing assignments, preparing for presentations, and working on case studies.

Students studying in the desk.

In addition to this, there are a plethora of extracurricular activities to choose from, catering to every possible type of student. In addition, even finding time for meals can be difficult due to the abundance of opportunities for socialization that are available on campus. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that Harvard will only want to admit students who are capable of handling everything.

For one to be able to handle the cutthroat competition and hectic atmosphere, one needs to have both emotional and academic fortitude. Therefore, Harvard gives preference to applicants who have already demonstrated characteristics of being hard workers. These characteristics can be demonstrated in your previous grade cards, recommendation letters, and Harvard undergraduate requirements.


Harvard doesn’t just admit all A-grade students. They also take into consideration the applicant’s participation in extracurricular activities. They are primarily interested in learning about the student’s activities outside of class or work when they have free time. Since they are evaluating the applicant based on their potential for success, they give preference to well-rounded students.

In addition, success is dependent not only on how hard you work, but also on other aspects of your personality, such as your ability to network, your tenacity, and your ability to collaborate effectively with others. Therefore, including activities or merits on your application that demonstrate these characteristics can help your application stand out from the crowd and make it more competitive.

Exceptional or Unique Among Peers

The University of Harvard is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. Therefore, they get to select truly extraordinary applicants. Your personal essay or letter of recommendation will be taken into consideration at this point. They are searching for evidence that demonstrates why you should be chosen over the other applicants who have profiles that are comparable to yours and are looking for examples of this.

Interesting & Coherent Story or Personality

The admissions office will never examine a portion of a candidate’s submission in isolation from the rest of the document. It is always evaluated as a whole, taking into consideration things like grades, test scores, recommendations, and essays. In addition, Harvard gives preference to applicants whose applications are able to properly and comprehensively showcase the student’s personality.

Male student holding her bag in front of the entrance of a building.

Therefore, your history, personality characteristics, abilities, and merits should all be highlighted, but your statements should never contradict one another. For instance, if you write in your personal essay that you enjoy taking part in school debates, but your recommenders say that you’re more of an introvert, this won’t show your story in the best light.

Smart or Sensible

The majority of universities in the Ivy League look for applicants who are not only academically capable but also exceptionally bright. Not only will they consider your grades and test scores, but they will also evaluate your intelligence and common sense.

According to Harvard’s research, there is a correlation between high school grades and a student’s overall intelligence level. However, they are most interested in students who are able to demonstrate not only the ability to perform well on tests but also the ability to think creatively and solve problems.

Confident (But Not Arrogant)

Earning one’s confidence takes time, effort, and a healthy dose of self-motivation. The practice also helps. The ability to have confidence demonstrates that a person is brave and will face upcoming challenges in their life without fear.

Harvard seeks students who are self-assured, believing that this quality will not only facilitate their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance but also contribute to their overall success in life. Because Harvard is also investing in you, it makes sense for them to give preference to applicants who have a good chance of being successful in the future.


Your application ought to demonstrate that you have a focus. If you were to ask me what kinds of students are admitted to Harvard, one of the qualities that would be at the top of my list would be focus. This is one of the most important characteristics, but it is frequently overlooked, particularly by the students who try too hard to get into Harvard and are ultimately unsuccessful. Your application will easily reveal your lack of focus if you submit it.

Male student writing in his notebook while looking at the laptop.


A person’s personality becomes lifeless and unimaginative when they lack passion, and they become more prone to distraction as a result. The driving force behind self-motivation, which ultimately leads to grit, perseverance, and hard work, is his passion. And all of these together eventually result in success. Therefore, Harvard looks for students with a lot of passion.


When asked about the characteristics of students who are successful at Harvard, almost no one would mention curiosity as one of them. However, Harvard is looking for students who have a passion for learning because the university experience is centered on education. A person who does not love to learn new things will not be able to enjoy their time at Harvard and may not even be able to survive there.

Harvard Application Deadline for 2022

When is the Harvard application deadline for 2022? You have the option of applying to Harvard through either our Restrictive Early Action program or our Regular Decision program. Both of these programs give you the opportunity to review the Harvard undergraduate requirements, admission, and financial aid packages provided by other schools, and they both give you until May 1 to decide which college you will attend.

  • Restrictive Candidates interested in the Early Action program must submit their applications by November 1 and will be notified by the middle of December.
  • Candidates for Regular Decision must submit their applications by the first of January and will be notified by the month’s end.

You are more than welcome to submit your application to Harvard through either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. The Common Application will become available to applicants on August 1 so that they can begin filling out their applications. In preparation for the 2022-23 application cycle, the Coalition Application is currently being developed in collaboration with Scoir/Technolutions. It is expected that Harvard’s Coalition Application, will become available to applicants on September 1.

If you need help putting the finishing touches on your early applications, or want some advice on whether or not applying Early Decision or an Early Action is a good option for you, at AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process, including our athletic recruitment program.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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