When Do Harvard’s Decisions Come Out?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Harvard Memorial Hall at Harvard University

When Do Harvard’s Decisions Come Out?

If you have applied to Harvard University as an undergraduate student, there is no doubt that the weeks and months between sending your application in and getting your final decision back from the school are stressful ones.

After all, people don’t simply apply to Harvard because they want to, they do so because it is their dream to be a part of the highly prestigious and selective school’s legacy and community.

Historic building of Harvard University standing tall.

So, whether you have not yet replied or have already sent in your application and are simply waiting to hear back, you may be wondering, “When do Harvard’s decisions come out?”

If that is the case, then you have absolutely come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have worked with countless students with the singular goal of helping them achieve their goals and get into the schools of their dreams.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of our students have the dream of attending schools like Harvard, just like you! That is why we are so proud of the fact that 75 percent of the students that we work with go on to get into either an Ivy League school or a top-10 school elsewhere in the United States.

It’s also the reason why we have become experts on all things Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and all the other wonderful private and public schools in the United States.

That is the reason why we thought it would be a good idea to break down all of the information a student would want to know about the Harvard acceptance rate, Harvard waitlist decisions as well as the Harvard early acceptance date.

Let’s get started on breaking all this down and more!

The Harvard acceptance rate

Before getting into the current timeline regarding the application process at Harvard, we thought that it would be a good idea to quickly break down the acceptance rate that high school students are currently facing at Harvard University.

As you very likely already know, Harvard is one of the most prestigious and selective universities in not just the United States, but also the entire world.

Front view of the Dunster House at Harvard University.

It is home to some of the most prestigious programs, awarded faculty members, and has been a school and home to some of the most influential men and women of their generations for the last couple of centuries.

For that reason, it should come as no shock that the Harvard acceptance rate is quite low. However, acceptance rates for top colleges and universities have seen a major decline in recent years, and the most recent application cycle marked one of the most difficult years to get into a top school in history.

For Harvard’s graduating class of 2025, 57,786 total students applied to the school during the 2020-21 application cycle. Out of those students, just 2,320 students ended up getting in.

That came out to an acceptance rate of 4.01 percent, putting Harvard among the hardest schools to get into in the entire world.

Though the graph below only depicts the Harvard acceptance rate for several graduating classes before class 2025, a clear downward trend is visible.

Bar graph about information on Harvard university.

From this alone, we can easily deduce that more students are going to keep applying to schools like Harvard each year, and the acceptance rate is only going to continue going down.

This information is not meant to discourage or dissuade any student from pursuing his or her lofty goals. However, it is important that any high school student with a clear interest in applying to – and getting into – a school like Harvard knows what they are up against.

Important 2021-22 dates to know for Harvard decisions

Now that we have that important, if not somewhat overwhelming portion out of the way, let’s move on to something a little more exciting.

That, of course, is the timeline that high school students should be aware of if they plan on applying to Harvard University.

Harvard University's campus scene with students everywhere.

Though much of the current application cycle is already in the books, and many students who applied during this cycle already know where they will be headed next fall, it is always a good idea to take a look at the current trends in schools that you are interested in so that you can get a better idea of what you can expect for next year and beyond.

Take a look at the key dates for the 2021-22 application cycle at Harvard below:

Spring (prior to the year you apply)

Consider taking the following tests:

SAT or ACT (important note: Harvard is currently standardized test-optional for the foreseeable future)

Fall (of the year you apply)
As early in the fall as they can, students should make a point to submit the following:

Their application to Harvard, either the Common Application or the Coalition Application is accepted.

The $75 application fee or a fee waiver request.

Students can send in their supplemental material at a later date.

October 31
Restrictive Early Action applicants: If you are submitting test scores, the school asks that you submit them by the end of October. However, you are still eligible to apply using the November series as they should reach Harvard in time for consideration.

Early November

If you are applying Regular Decision and submitting standardized test scores, Harvard recommends that you submit scores from the November series or earlier, though you may submit December scores (SAT) or February scores (ACT).

November 1
Restrictive Early Action (REA) applicants: Deadline for all application materials. Early Action applicants are also permitted to apply at the same time to any public college/university or to foreign universities but are restricted from applying to other private universities Early Action programs.

You may not apply to a US private institution’s Regular Decision program prior to our Restrictive Early Action decision release if there is any type of early consideration involved (e.g., scholarships, priority deadlines, BA/MD admission programs).

In the case of a Regular Decision program with no early consideration of any kind, you may apply at any point before their deadline.

Also submit your financial aid application so that if you are admitted, Harvard will be able to send you financial aid information in mid-December when decisions are released.

Restrictive Early Action applicants: Decisions released. The Harvard REA decision date or early acceptance date for this current application cycle was specifically December 16, 2021.

January 1

Final deadline for all Regular Decision application materials. You must send all application materials by this deadline for Regular Decision consideration.

February 1

Notify Harvard’s admissions office if you have not received your application confirmation email.

Submit your financial aid application (if you have not already done so), so that if you are admitted, the school will be able to send you financial aid information in late March when decisions are released.


Submit your Midyear School Report forms with your most recent grades.

End of March

First-year admission decisions released.

May 1

Reply deadline for admitted students. No deposit required.

Depending on what part of 2022 you are reading this, all of the final decisions regarding Harvard’s most recent batch of applicants may have already been made! And from this quick timeline, you can already see that the entire process moves quickly.

On top of that, it is important to note that while the dates remain consistent from year to year, that any student interested in applying to Harvard any year should make sure that they know the exact dates for their specifical application cycle.

What about Harvard waitlist decisions?

One very important aspect of the application process at Harvard that you may be wondering right now is the timeline related to the school’s waitlist decisions.

If you are rather new to the entire application process, you may even be curious as to what the waitlist is referring to. Well, not to worry. We’ve got you covered.

What does it mean to get waitlisted?

Before getting into the important specifics and dates regarding Harvard’s waitlist decisions, you should probably make sure that you have a pretty strong understanding of what the waitlist actually is.

Simply put, being put on the waitlist means that you have not been admitted after applying, but that you have not yet been rejected either.

Instead, you will have to wait to see if you will get the chance to get in after the school looks at all of the students that applied in your application cycle.

A man looking at the laptop screen, touching his chin, and pondering.

Students who are waitlisted applied under the Restrictive Early Action program. Eventually, their applications will be compared to all of the REA students that were waitlisted as well as all of the regular admission students as well.

The truth is that when it comes to students that apply to schools like Harvard, the school has a rather impossible decision to make.

In fact, admissions experts often say that out of the tens of thousands of students that apply to a school like Harvard in any given year, that school could likely build multiple fantastic graduating classes.

Sadly, only a small group of those students will end up getting in, and the truth is that most students who are waitlisted will ultimately receive a rejection letter.

However, that is obviously not the case for every student, and students do go from the waitlist to accepted every year!

So, when will you find out if you have been waitlisted? In fact, you will find out by the time the REAL results are sent back to students. In this most recent application cycle, that was December 16.

What to do when you find out you are waitlisted?

This is a big question that our consultants at AdmissionSight get asked a lot every year. Students who are put on the waitlist are put in a pretty tough position.

The reason why is because it is hard to know what any student can do to improve their chances of getting in once they find out that they have been put on the waitlist. If you are asking yourself that question, take a look at some of the most important things to keep in mind, below:

  • Decide if you want your spot on the waitlist: The first decision that you have to make is whether or not you want to be on the waitlist at all. For some students, it makes the most sense for them to accept the fact that they were put on the waitlist as a sign that this school is not the right school for them.
  • If they do this, they simply have to notify the school and continue their application process to the other schools that they want to get into. However, if the school that you are waitlisted at is your clear top choice, you will likely want to accept your spot on the waitlist.
  •  Maintain fantastic academic standing: Though some students take their foot off the gas academically in the second semester of their senior year, students who are waitlisted will not be able to do that in any way. In fact, they will want to perform even better academically (if possible) and send in any updates to their grade point average and transcript to prove that they have water taken to succeed at a school like Harvard.
  • Send additional letters of recommendation: Another effective way to improve your standing as a waitlisted student is to send in more letters of recommendation to the school that you were waitlisted at. All students who apply to Harvard have to send in two letters of recommendation from two separate teachers and one letter of recommendation from their high school counselor.
  • If waitlisted, a student may want to seriously consider sending in other letters from community leaders that they have worked with, athletic coaches, club organizers, etc. This could help further clarify that the student would be a positive and productive member of the Harvard community if they are taken off the waitlist and accepted into the school.
  • Write a letter of continued interest: another great tool that a waitlisted student can utilize is a letter of continued interest. Essentially, this is a letter directly from the student to the admissions officers at Harvard that is used to prove that despite the wait list, the student is undeterred and remains as passionate as ever about getting accepted to and attending Harvard.
  • In this letter, students should not forget to update the admissions office on any new accomplishments, milestones that have been reached and more. Most importantly, it is important that students who are waitlisted show immaturity and humility about the fact that they were waitlisted from what is likely their dream school. This level of maturity can be a great sign that a student has what it takes to be a part of the Harvard community.

When do you find out your final decision?

After being waitlisted, one of the hardest parts of the process is simply waiting to hear back. The best approach after being waitlisted is to send in any of the aforementioned materials to help boost your case as well as continue on with completing and sending in your other applications.

Simply waiting and hoping that you will get off the waitlist would be a major mistake. First off, there is no guarantee that you will actually get accepted. Moreover, you can expect to wait for quite a while after being waitlisted.

In fact, waitlisted students typically do not hear back about their decision until after the national May 1st deadline. Some students do not even hear back until soon before the fall semester begins.

It is also impossible to predict how many students will get in after being waitlisted. At Harvard specifically, there have been years where zero students are accepted off the waitlist.

There have also been years where more than 200 students have been accepted off the waitlist. It varies greatly from year to year and the most important thing for a student to do is to make sure that they have a Plan B that they are very excited about if they end up unfortunately getting a rejection letter.

Get more advice on Harvard admissions

The truth is that getting into Harvard has never been harder than it is right now. That is just one of the reasons why so many high school students are turning to admissions consultants like AdmissionSight to help them improve their chances of getting into their dream schools as much as possible.

While there are no guarantees in the highly competitive world of college admissions, having an experienced and effective consultant on your side can absolutely help improve any student’s chances of getting into even the most selective schools.

If you are interested in learning more about how admissions consultants work and how one could help you improve your chances of getting into Harvard, contact us today to set up a free consultation.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.