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How many people apply to Harvard JUST to apply to Harvard?

MylesWMylesW Posts: 27Registered User New Member
edited November 2010 in Harvard University
I'm pretty curious, I mean, with an acceptance rate of 7%, and hearing a person failing the majority of their classes saying they were going to apply to Harvard, just cause it's Harvard, I had to wonder, what percentage of applicants are actually competitive? My estimate is 25% of the students that apply are competitive, what's you all's estimate?
Post edited by MylesW on
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Replies to: How many people apply to Harvard JUST to apply to Harvard?

  • FatumFatum Posts: 870Registered User Member
    Although there certainly are people applying for because it's "Harvard", most applicants who apply end up in top 50 colleges, if not Harvard. So I'd say at least 50% of applicants are competitive stats-wise.
  • mifunemifune Posts: 2,756Registered User Senior Member
    Fitzsimmons has stated that 85% of the applicants to Harvard are competitive and qualified to handle the work.
  • LobzzLobzz Posts: 1,970Registered User Senior Member
    25% is definitely way off. I remember the article that referenced Fitzsimmons's comment. But in the end it depends on how you define "qualified to do the work". Fitzsimmons could have meant 1900+ SATs/ 3.5+ GPA, or he could have meant 2100+ SATs/ 3.7+ GPA. Remember, though, Harvard does not reject the 1800/3.3 GPA applicants because they aren't qualified; they reject them because they can use the plethora of 99th percentile students (this oxymoron made me smile haha) to comprise a class that meets Harvard's every institutional goal.
  • mifunemifune Posts: 2,756Registered User Senior Member
    The objective criteria incorporating that 85% are roughly an 1800+ on the SAT Reasoning Test and a 3.0+ GPA. Many students comprising this lower range are admitted, albeit not on academic merit.

    The basic distinction must be set at this mark to denote that 15% are simply unqualified and have no likelihood of gaining admission.
  • jgraiderjgraider Posts: 2,845Registered User Senior Member
    I misread the title of the post and thought that you asked how many people apply only to Harvard and no other schools, and when you said 25%, I was about to slap you across the mouth :)
  • g0ld3ng0ld3n Posts: 896Registered User Member
    i do!
    ME ME ME

    I apply just cuz it's harvard!
  • glassesarechicglassesarechic Posts: 5,481Registered User Senior Member
    Fitzsimmons has stated that 85% of the applicants to Harvard are competitive and qualified to handle the work.

    I've heard the same, though I've also heard a much more conservative estimate regarding the number of kids who are actually competitive for admission--whereabouts of 20%, if I remember correctly. I think this is where adcoms get the idea that they could fill their class with the next x number of people and see no marked decline in quality.
  • mifunemifune Posts: 2,756Registered User Senior Member
    I've heard the same, though I've also heard a much more conservative estimate regarding the number of kids who are actually competitive for admission--whereabouts of 20%, if I remember correctly.

    One can derive varying percentages based on whatever form of criteria is employed. I'd be interested in what the 20% figure incorporates. However, I cannot imagine it integrating anything on an objective or raw numerical scale. SAT- and GPA-related credentials fluctuate rather appreciably among the student body considering the multitude of subjective criteria that erect preference categories. If valid, that statistic could possibly designate a rough percentage of applicants who are assessed by the final evaluation committee.
  • elbeeenelbeeen Posts: 1,222Registered User Member
    That depends on what constitutes "competitive". Some would argue an 3.5 is good enough to handle the courseload at Harvard. Others, a 4.0. It's all subjective.
  • glassesarechicglassesarechic Posts: 5,481Registered User Senior Member
    ^Competitive =/= "good enough to handle the courseload."
    If valid, that statistic could possibly designate a rough percentage of applicants who are assessed by the final evaluation committee.

    I can't for the life of me remember where I heard that statistic, but I believe you're right. I do know that the number did not refer to just the capable applicants or even those that were modestly impressive; thus, I imagine it refers to those who are considered seriously for admission .
  • MylesWMylesW Posts: 27Registered User New Member
    Yeah, my bad! Haha, I probably should've defined what I meant as competitive. I wasn't thinking 1800+ and 3.5+ to put it bluntly... I was thinking a lot higher, like a minimum of 2000 and 3.7+ minimum, and that's a little modest tbh. But if what's considered qualified is 1800+ and 3.5+ then yeah, I'll believe 85% in a heartbeat :)
  • powerbombpowerbomb Posts: 3,364Registered User Senior Member
    Applying to H just because it's H and applying to H knowing you're not qualified are two different things.
  • originalthoughtoriginalthought Posts: 373Registered User Member
    An Analysis:

    Assuming 85% of applicants are qualified, around 26,000 applicants are 'qualified.'

    If ALL of the best applicants applied, by using roughly 1.5 million (the rough number of college seeking individuals) as the total, one finds through comparison with percentile charts, that the 'competitive' SAT score is 2200.

    Of course, this is a bit too high. First, for a variety of reasons, not all the best applicants apply to Harvard. Secondly, not all high SAT scorers are strong students and, thus, are not necessarily strong students.

    In 2005, 3200 valedictorians applied to Harvard. In the same year, around 16000 high schools were recorded by the National Center for Education Statistics. So, 20% of valedictorians apply to Harvard.

    The major remaining question is how many of the students who did not apply were 'qualified'. US News and World Reports ranks 8.74% of high schools in its best high school guide. Certainly, the valedictorians in these schools are almost all qualified for Harvard. In fact, I would argue that most of the adjacent school districts contain very similar socio-economic properties, as well. So for argument, let us all assume that 3 other similar high schools exist for all the 'top' ones. Factor in high power private schools and we can easily assume that atleast 1/3 of all valedictorians are qualified applicants.

    So. we now find that roughly 5400 valedictorians are qualified and about 60% of qualified applicants apply. Therefore, we only need double the number of students in the percentile to acquire a rough estimate for what is meant by "qualified."

    We find this population size at 2120. We can easily assume then that all atleast 85% of the applicants have a 2000.
  • DoinSchoolDoinSchool Posts: 738Registered User Member
    I would guess that about a third of the applicants have an actual chance at getting in...just my ballpark estimate
  • umers56umers56 Posts: 116Registered User Junior Member
    i feel like harvard has lowered its standards. they are looking more at people with better ECs then stats. thats what i am feeling.
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