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What percentage of all applicants even stand a chance?

ColumbiaGirl101ColumbiaGirl101 Posts: 53Registered User Junior Member
edited February 2012 in Harvard University
Out of the approximate 35k people that apply to Harvard every year, how many of them do you think have the scores, grades, and ECs needed to be even considered? Because I mean, if you can rule out those random people who have sat scores of 1500 and their entire EC/volunteer/awards/etc list complies of "dance after school and volunteered at hospitals" then an applicant probably has a better chance... Just wondering if anyone knows :)
Post edited by ColumbiaGirl101 on
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Replies to: What percentage of all applicants even stand a chance?

  • notakidnotakid Posts: 688Registered User Member
    In Early Action, around 12% were rejected (70% deferred), so one could guess the number of non-starters is less than 12%. Maybe half of that? Or RD might have a higher percentage.
  • T26E4T26E4 Posts: 16,965Registered User Senior Member
    I know you're just posting a question out of curiosity but how do you define "not a chance"? The ones who don't make it past the initial 2 readers i.e. those that don't make it past the first round? If H counted these, I doubt it's a stat they would release.
  • computerDadcomputerDad Posts: 71Registered User Junior Member
    I hate myself for responding. But, the chances are smaller than many people realize. Now a little background--don't think I am bitter--just disappointed. Son was once a athletic recruit-- all the way until mid December--he didn't get selected. He wanted to go to Harvard anyway--academics always first. His stats are 4.0 unweighted, 33 ACT, many EC's, alot of community service, and state and local level awards for both athletics, DECA, and top of his class. He applied restricted first action. He is not a URM--just a typical applicant. He has not started his own business or charity. Sports consumed way to much and he was a captain. Bottom line--he was deferred. A 35 ACT probably would have made a significant difference--maybe. Now here are other percentages to consider--and I got this information from watching CC and other research. About 1/3 of the applicants that get in are alumni hooked. Another 1/3 are for those athletes and some high scoring URM's (and I think that is just fine). Thus, only about 1/3 are left for everyone else. You can do the math on the number of total applicants and the freshman class spots--and the percentage really drops down into very low single digits for the majority of applicants. My son's deferral is as good as a rejection. I would never say that to him--but it is a lottery winning like chance. Have a good back up plan--and if you get in--and still want to go (and can afford it--which is also a huge challenge for us)--then jump for joy. I think it is a great opportunity for anyone who gets the chance. Though son has already been admitted to 5 other schools and two likleys from top 15 schools--he would still choose Harvard!
  • notakidnotakid Posts: 688Registered User Member
    OP's question was what portion of submitted applications were dead on arrival. Deferrals wouldn't be in that category.
  • JHSJHS Posts: 14,150Registered User Senior Member
    computerDad is being maybe a little hysterical. More realistic numbers: Recruited athletes, about 13% (but a somewhat lower percentage of acceptances, since the yield for this group is almost 100%). URMs 15%. Legacies 15% as a hard cap. International ~10%. But those categories are not mutually exclusive, except no one will be counted as both a URM and International. There are plenty of athletes and legacies who are URMs, and some who are all three. So those groups, combined, represent somewhere around 35% of the acceptances. Non-athlete or legacy internationals are maybe 8-9% of the acceptances, but they represent a much higher proportion of the applicant pool, probably 25-30%, so on balance that actually increases the chances of domestic applicants.

    The bottom line is that there are probably something like 1,150 admission slots for unhooked domestic applicants, and somewhere between 20-25K of them applying.

    The standard line you will get from any HYPS admissions person is that 70-80% of applicants are "fully qualified" (more in the EA pool). I don't know that anyone really believes that many applicants have a realistic shot, but I suspect that it's closer to true than many people think. At least in the part of the world I have seen, kids don't apply to Harvard willy-nilly. They hate getting rejected, and the ones who do apply really have lots to say for themselves as smart, energetic, world-beating thinkers and leaders.
  • GordonTheGekkoGordonTheGekko Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    Response to post #4...

    It would be great if you had better sources than reading CC, a place that is mostly hearsay. I don't think your numbers are correct. (Edit: I know they are not correct, unless you can point me to something that says 33%/33%/33%)

    1.) 200 athletes are recruited. This is under 8% of the admit pool, not 33%. Between 4 and 20 of them have numbers that would be questioned in a normal candidate (this is a good estimate, not a source).
    2.) A little over 12% of all legacy (Mom or Dad) applicants are accepted. Very few applicants are accepted as legacies who wouldn't of been if they weren't legacies. Most legacy applicants have responsible and knowing parents who start college preparation (and high school) before the 9th grade - thus most of the 6% extra in the 12% is due to this.

    After reading through more of your post, it seems like you have no notion of how admissions works on a detail level. It is NOT a lottery - far from it. Although it is always sad to move acceptances to the waitlist, the 'cutoff' one does not have many hard feelings. To put it in laymen terms, Harvard dearly wants 100-200 of it's applicants, really wants 800 of the applicants and wants (but would live without) around half or more of the class. This is what the "curve" looks like. Waitlist numbers are not released, but they range from 900 to 4,000. Bottom line: most of the class is made up of well rounded, sweet, smart students who can do the work and meet most of the officer's general criteria.

    Your sons acceptance will be based almost exclusively on essays, short answer, recs and possibly interview at this point. I hope you're a little more hopeful, even though if you're not sure what they're looking for in these four things...and also that you feel good about the other schools too. Good luck to everyone :)
  • ColumbiaGirl101ColumbiaGirl101 Posts: 53Registered User Junior Member
    Uh, first, just to point out--I'm Canadian. Which I'm pretty sure makes me international. So um, yay, my chances at being accepted just went down a whole lot >.<

    And oh, I thought a lot of idiot would apply to Harvard not realizing how tough it is to get in... I hoped at least maybe like 4 000 weren't well qualified :P
  • sasbmarsasbmar Posts: 122Registered User Junior Member
    When I went to an information session last summer, an admissions officer said 85% of the applicants last year were "academically qualified to study at Harvard." Maybe I'm misreading it, but it would seem that if you are part of the 15% who are not academically qualified to study at Harvard, there is no essay, recommendation, or interview that can make up for the fact that the admissions officers believe you would not be successful as a student at Harvard.
  • quickster94quickster94 Posts: 200Registered User Junior Member
    I wonder what the real admissions rate for regular applicants who did not get LLs is, given that so many spots have already filled with the EA and LL admits. Anyone have access to the figures and want to crunch the numbers?
  • collegeinfo1994collegeinfo1994 Posts: 733Registered User Member
    A Harvard sophomore who works in the admissions office held an information session at my school, where she told us that EA applicants should expect to be deferred--that's the norm(as confirmed by aforementioned deferred vs. rejected statistics). She added that the EA acceptances are reserved for people with hooks, mostly athletic recruits, so deferred applicants should not feel incompetent and/or hopeless for acceptance.
  • mustangmanmustangman Posts: 126Registered User Junior Member
    one alumnus interviewer, though not my interviewer, was chatting with me. he asked me for my scores/grades. i told him and then he began to tell me that there are many kids who apply with, say, a 28 act score, which is a great score he said. a 28 isn't going to get you in, he went on to say. I think the original question is a valid one and it's unnecessary to scorn someone for believing that yes, 1000 or so applicants are cocky numskulls who specifically pay their 80 dollars and send in their app just to hold up their rejection letter all high and mighty to the world, paste it on their fridge and say, "harvard doesn't know what they're missing out on." i would bet my left arm and right foot that there is a number of students who don't stand a chance. i kind of feel like one of them, but that might just be cc inferiority complex (otherwise known as yale syndrome)
  • GordonTheGekkoGordonTheGekko Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    Acceptances off the deferral and wait list are surprisingly similar to first time acceptances, although this chances year to year. It's like a whole another round of admissions. 6% here, 6% there, and sooner or later you have a crimson class! :P
  • HparentHparent Posts: 88Registered User Junior Member
    OP: "Out of the approximate 35k people that apply to Harvard every year, how many of them do you think have the scores, grades, and ECs needed to be even considered?"

    I'd speculate the number is a lot less than most people thought (probably much less than half of the commonly believed 80-85% of the pool - many of them can handle the workload if admitted, indeed, but won't stand a real chance - these are two quite different things although many may not realize it), due (but not limited) to the following reasons:

    1. Although the applicant pool has been growing significantly in the recent years, the number of "really competitive (not just qualified) candidates" among the senior classes nationwide doesn’t change significantly year after year;

    2. Just opposite to what many would have thought, a deferral or even rejection from the big H (or YPS) is not really that heartbreaking - as a matter of fact, it's a lot less painful than that would have been caused by a rejection from a "more reachable" or "good match" college - everyone knows it's extremely hard to get in, so it is "normal", "understandable", and “OK” to not get in; and

    3. Of course, the fussy "holistic" process itself and the seemingly “easy” requirements in H's supplementary form (compared to other highly selective colleges) have also produced a lot of false optimism and the "lottery-bidder" thought (nothing to lose except the $75 fee - so why not give it a try?) among way too many students and their parents...
  • etondadetondad Posts: 1,120Registered User Senior Member
    The focus needs to be not what makes a perfect applicant, but what makes a perfect class. The admissions committee speaks about "building a class"--they want a variety of people, academic superstars, musicians, athletes, social service types, writers, gov jocks, etc. Obviously there is a floor for academics but after that, unless a candidate is in the academic superstar (a math 55 kid &/or a summa type) then the question is what is it that a candidate brings to the class as a whole. There are many many terrific kids who through no fault of their own don't make the cut. They go on to have amazing college and professional careers, careers Harvard would be proud to have for one of their alums.
    Once one stops seeing the admissions process as not an evaluation of the worth or preparation of the applicant but in this global sense, many of the odd decisions from Harvard does not seem so bizarre.
    In my S's class, of the kids I have met (and as we live 15 minutes away, we have met a number of them...) there has only been one who I could quite figure out why or how this person was admitted. I figured that the person has a story or qualities that I could deduce--when I asked my S, he told me the person's story, and then the person's admission made sense.
  • ColumbiaGirl101ColumbiaGirl101 Posts: 53Registered User Junior Member
    ....what was the persons story? lol
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