7 Tips to Get Into Harvard University

January 31, 2021
By AdmissionSight

7 Tips to Get Into Harvard University

Harvard University is often recognized as one of the leading universities in the entire world, let alone the whole country. Since its initial establishment in 1636, it has maintained its renowned reputation for rigorous coursework, passionate alumni, and rich academic opportunities. As the longest continuously running institution of higher learning in the country, there’s a good reason why some of the highest performing students apply to Harvard University. If you’ve always wondered how to get into Harvard University successfully, we’ve got you covered.

School building near a bridge surrounded by trees.

Compared to some of the other Ivy League Schools, Harvard has a relatively low acceptance rate which further adds to its air of exclusivity and prominence. If you’ve dreamed about attending Harvard University for years but feel intimidated by the process of admittance, don’t get downhearted. Despite having a challenging acceptance rate, it’s very possible to get accepted. Trust us, we know. Here at Admission Sight, we’ve helped hundreds of students just like you get into some of the top universities in the country. Yes, that means even Harvard.

To help calm your nerves and turn down the stress levels, we’ll help outline some practical strategies you can use to increase your chances of getting admitted to Harvard University. Although there’s no guaranteed recipe for success, there are some key steps you can take that will definitely enhance your opportunities for success. Read on to learn more about Harvard University and why you might have a better chance of getting in than you had previously thought.

FAQs on Harvard University

Before we talk about the specific tips that can help you boost your chances of getting admitted to Harvard University, it’s helpful to get a more accurate picture of this Ivy League university’s admission landscape. Here, we’ll answer some of the most common questions students like you have about this esteemed university.

What is the Harvard University acceptance rate?

Although the exact number fluctuates each year as standards change and the number of applicants varies, Harvard University’s acceptance rate hovers somewhere around 4.7%. As one of the leading Ivy League schools, Harvard’s prestige and selective nature are reflected in this very competitive and challenging acceptance rate. Despite being one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country, it’s important for students to realize that there are many factors that can greatly increase their chances of getting accepted.

What kind of students get accepted into Harvard University?

While it’s nearly impossible to know all of the decisions that go into accepting a student to Harvard University, it is possible to know the average test scores, grades, and awards that admitted students have. In 2018, students admitted to the university had an average GPA of 4.18.

Students smiling for the camera in red sweaters.

This impressive GPA performance was supplemented by equally impressive standardized test scores. The 25th through 75th percentile of students who were admitted had SAT scores ranging between 1470 and 1572. On the ACT, the scores were between 33 and 35 for the 25th and 75th percentile. Don’t forget that Harvard considers a variety of other vectors in addition to test scores and GPA averages. They’re important but not everything.

How difficult is it to get into Harvard University?

Harvard University has a well-earned reputation for being difficult to get into. With an exclusive acceptance rate of 4.7%, that means only around five students out of every 100 applicants make it into the university. While amazing test scores and a high GPA will get you noticed by admission officers, these aren’t the only important factors in the application process. From supplemental essays and letters of recommendation to alumni interviews and general application questions, you have ample opportunity to convince admission staff why you deserve to attend this university.

A school building and students walking around.

7 Tips to Get Into Harvard University

Now that we’ve established how difficult it is to get into Harvard University, it’s time to take a look at some strategies you can use to overcome these obstacles. Once you get an understanding of the kind of talent and academic achievement Harvard University is looking for, it doesn’t do any more help to harp on the admission data. Your efforts should now shift to ways you can increase your chances of getting in. Lucky for you, we’ve outlined some key strategies all eager Harvard applicants should follow.

1. Understand what’s required and what’s not.

The first step to securing your place in Harvard University’s next undergraduate class is to understand what is and isn’t’ required in the application process. Fortunately, Harvard University has provided interested students with a detailed outline of its admission requirements along with some helpful tips for each part. It would be helpful to browse through each category to get a better idea of what kind of documents you need to get together. As critical as it is to know what Harvard University requires of you, it’s equally as important to know what this Ivy League university doesn’t need.

You don’t want to end up dedicating valuable time, energy, and even resources towards something that won’t even help increase your chances of getting in. For example, Harvard doesn’t take “demonstrated interest” into account when reviewing applications. In other words, you won’t be rewarded for visiting campus or reaching out to an admissions officer. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take these steps if you had planned to. It’s just important to keep in mind what will end up counting towards your chances of getting into Harvard University. It’s advisable to double-down on what matters and think twice about what doesn’t.

2. Prepare for the alumni interview

Harvard University uses over 10,000 alumni to help sift through thousands of applicants to determine which students are qualified enough to attend the university. These conversations are likely to be conducted through video conferencing apps due to the current pandemic and related restrictions. Although you’ll already have turned in your application when you get the chance to speak with an alumnus, that doesn’t mean your work has stopped. You should still prepare for the interview as it plays a large part in the final decision of the college admissions committee.

Two people talking in a table.

After all, Harvard University holds the opinions of its graduates in high esteem. Although the university will organize the meeting, you should be prepared with answers to anticipated questions along with some questions of your own. Prepping for common questions such as “Why do you want to attend Harvard?”, “What are your academic goals?”, and “How did you choose your area of study?” can help you come off knowledgeable and professional. Having your own questions will show the university that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about the university and contributing to its ever-changing culture.

3. Get excellent recommendation letters.

All applicants to Harvard University are required to obtain two letters of recommendation: one from a high school counselor and one from a teacher. While you don’t have a lot of control over the counselor’s letter since most students are automatically assigned to one, you do have a choice over what teacher-authors your recommendation letter. Since these letters are given a lot of weight by Harvard admission officers in the decision making process, it’s vital that you get excellent letters of recommendation that highlight your strengths and academic capabilities.

Think about what teacher you’ve enjoyed the most throughout your high school years. Make sure you’ve performed well in the class too! Keep in mind that these letters should be insightful and personal in order to reveal more about you than could be covered in the supplemental essays or general application. That’s why you’ll want to stick with a teacher who knows you well. Make sure you ask well in advance of the due date in order to give the teacher enough time to write a meaningful and impactful letter. At the end of the day, it will be a reflection of you, so do everything in your power to make sure it’s ideal.

4. Pen sensational essays.

It’s no secret that supplemental essays are one of the most dreaded portions of a college admissions essay. Harvard University is no exception to the rule as applicants will be required to write a series of essays in addition to the standard application. These supplemental essays are designed to give admission staff a better understanding of what you could bring to Harvard University. Instead of seeing these essays as a frustrating and time-consuming portion of the admission process, you should view them as an opportunity to stand out from the pool of applicants that inundate the Harvard admission committee each year.

Student working on her bed.

Whether you’re unsure where to begin or need some help editing your essays, it’s advisable to work with an admission specialist to help perfect your Harvard supplemental essay. With insider-knowledge and expertise, Admission Sight can help guide students towards final essays that college admission officers will remember. When you nail your essays, your chances of getting into Harvard are definitely increased.

5. Get stellar grades.

As you’ve seen earlier from some of the admission data, Harvard University only accepts the creme de la creme. While grades and test scores aren’t the only factors taken into consideration during the admission process, they’re certainly one of the most important components. These insights give admission officers a better idea of how you’ll perform at a competitive and challenging collegiate level. In order to boost your chances of getting accepted, you should aim to score as high as possible on standardized tests like the ACT and SAT while earning a solid GPA in your classes.

Taking AP and higher-level courses in high school is a great way to bring up your average GPA score while also demonstrating to Harvard University admissions staff that you’re willing to challenge yourself. When it comes to passing the ACT and SAT with flying colours, you’ll want to take the tests at least a few times. Keep in mind that taking these tests too many times can seem a little suspect, so make sure you make the most out of each attempt.

6. Apply early.

Harvard University allows students to apply under what’s known as a Restrictive Early Action program. This allows eager applicants to lock in their college choice earlier than other students. Similar to other universities, those taking part in this early application process need to have their application filled out and submitted by November 1st. Students should hear back from the university with a decision by the middle of December.

Although applying early requires you to do work quicker and make decisive decisions, it does come with a slightly higher acceptance rate than that of the standard application period. If you’ve been wondering how to get into Harvard early decision, it’s relatively easy and doesn’t require much extra work when compared to the standard timeline.

7. Avoid procrastination.

Harvard admission officers sift through thousands of applications each year. They’re experts at determining which students put in the most effort and time into their applications. While you might have been able to get by with procrastinating in high school, those days won’t last much longer. In order to put yourself in the best position to get accepted into Harvard University, it’s critical to get started on the application process as soon as possible. This gives you enough time to request necessary documents from your school, find people to write your letters of recommendation and to fill out your application accurately and thoroughly.

How I got into Harvard

It’s always inspiring and informative to hear success stories from students who have achieved the very thing you’re trying to accomplish. While admission data and application specifics are important, it’s also handy to read some first-hand accounts of successful Harvard applicants. Here, we’ll highlight an in-depth and insightful description of one student’s experience getting into Harvard:

“When you apply to Harvard, your acceptance is going to be based on five things: Your grades, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, your essay, and your interview.

My grades were excellent. I was a straight-A student long before I even began high school.

I did very well on standardized tests, as well. I was one of about 1,100 students the year I took the ACT to receive a 36— a perfect score.

I spent a huge amount of my free time on extracurricular activities. In addition to having a job, I was on my high school’s chess team. I played the violin. I was in drama Freshman year. I had won awards for local and regional science fairs.

I spent weeks writing my essay. I took it to the local community college several times to have it proofread. I spent months before that deciding exactly what I was going to write about.

I’ve always had good interview skills. I’m good at talking and getting people to like me. I also made sure to re-read my own essay and application again and again and make sure I remembered everything I had put down, in case I were asked to answer any questions. I made a list of questions I thought they might ask and came up with answers ahead of time.

Apart from all of that, though, you have to stand out. I spoke more than one language. I had studied abroad in France. I’d done volunteer work. All of these things helped to get me enrolled at the school I had wanted to attend since I was eleven years old.”

We can help you figure out how to get into Harvard University

Getting accepted into Harvard University might be challenging, but it’s not rocket science. Trust us, we know first hand. For years, we’ve been working one-on-one with students to improve their chances of getting into some of the most esteemed Ivy League schools in the country. Whether you’re looking for the perfect summer program to learn more about your field, need help perfecting your supplemental essays, or simply need some guidance on choosing where to apply, our experienced team can help.

We offer comprehensive services that cover nearly every aspect of the admissions process. Why would you waste time and energy worrying about what it takes to get into your dream university when you could work with someone who already has the answers? At Admission Sight, we have a deep understanding of the admission processes of some of the country’s top colleges and can help you greatly improve your chances of getting into your dream university.

Feel free to contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how Admission Insight can help in your admission process.

 

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