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Chance this German guy for 2013 entry

Sebastian93Sebastian93 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited November 2012 in Harvard University
Hey there,

may anybody summarize my chances to get into Harvard? I'm currently applying for Oxford University, London School of Economics and University College London for 2013 entry. One of my friends encouraged me to give Harvard just a try, although my SAT score is really mediocre (at least partly due to the fact that I'm a non-native - but no excuse anyway). Do you think I would have any chance if I did well on the SAT IIs (guess, they're going to be Maths and Physics) and got good recommendations?
Please be honest as I'm actually thinking to have no chance at all whilst my friends tried to convince me of the opposite.

Thanks in advance, guys!


SAT I (breakdown): 1940 (M: 790, CR: 570, W: 580)
SAT II: n/a yet
TOEFL: 109/129
German Abitur: 1.0 (best attainable) so equivalent GPA (out of 4.0): 4.0
Rank (percentile if rank is unavailable): 2/80
Intensive courses: English (15/15), Maths (13/15) Further examination subjects: Social Sciences (15/15) and Physics (15/15)
Other minors: History, Spanish, Religion, PE, Art, Music, Philosophy, German, Latin,


Extracurriculars: spokesman of my year, member of the student representation (person in charge for public relations) - introduced social media communication between representation and students, founder and leader of soccer society, organized and introduced an annual soccer competition between our and our co-operation school, organized a charity concert for disadvantaged children in Afghanistan and raised several thousand euros, gave tutorials for younger students in Latin and Maths, won a management competition (business simulation), won a Math Olympiad on regional level, playing soccer at a competitive level (got offers for sport scholarships in the US), captain of my team while winning the states championship
Job/Work Experience: currently interning 6 months at Deloitte (Audit/Consulting) in the Enterprise Risk Solutions department (probably 3 months in Germany, 3 months in London), two-week internship at a lawyer's office
Volunteer/Community service: Voluntary youth tourist guide and group leader in Spain, see above
Summer Activities: See above
Teacher Recommendation: Are actually perfect (as for everybody)
Counselor Rec: Great


State (if domestic applicant): n/a
Country (if international applicant): Germany
School Type: Public school
Ethnicity: German mother plus Tunisian (i.e. North-African) father
Gender: M
Hooks (URM, first generation college, etc.): None
Post edited by Sebastian93 on

Replies to: Chance this German guy for 2013 entry

  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,212 Senior Member
    Oh, please. . . yet another newbie who has no idea about "chances!"

    Sebastian93, as this is your first post, I'll cut you some slack, but at schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton etc, it's impossible to predict anyone's chances as so much of the applications process is subjective and comes down to how an admissions director "feels" after reading your teacher recommendations and essays and compares them to all other applicants. You need to just send your applications out into the universe and hope for the best. See: Guidance Office: Answers From Harvard's Dean, Part 1 - NYTimes.com

    "Many people believe “best” ought to be defined by standardized tests, grades, and class rank, and it is easy to understand why. Such a system, another Harvard dean of admissions, Bill Bender, wrote in 1960, “has great appeal because it has the merits of apparent simplicity, objectivity, relative administrative cheapness in time and money and worry, a clear logical basis and therefore easy applicability and defensibility.”

    While we value objective criteria, we apply a more expansive view of excellence. Test scores and grades offer some indication of students’ academic promise and achievement. But we also scrutinize applications for extracurricular distinction and personal qualities.

    Students’ intellectual imagination, strength of character, and their ability to exercise good judgment — these are critical factors in the admissions process, and they are revealed not by test scores but by students’ activities outside the classroom, the testimony of teachers and guidance counselors, and by alumni/ae and staff interview reports."

    "Personal qualities and character provide the foundation upon which each admission rests. Harvard alumni/ae often report that the education they received from fellow classmates was a critically important component of their college experience. The education that takes place between roommates, in dining halls, classrooms, research groups, extracurricular activities, and in Harvard’s residential houses depends on selecting students who will reach out to others."
  • IWillKillForMITIWillKillForMIT Registered User Posts: 702 Member
    First of all, thanks gibby for your advice on the harvard forums. You have helped me and many other students.
    @german guy :) : you have a pretty good application. Your verbal score are weak but since you are an international, you should talk to the admission office. Your math score is very impressive and you should be proud of it. The rest of your application is very good and dont listen to anyone who says that you have no chance.
  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,212 Senior Member
    ^^ Although Harvard doesn't require a TOEFL score, Yale does -- and the minimum score at Yale is 100. At Harvard, the OP's score of 109 should offset a weak SAT verbal score. So, from that perspective, all seems to be good. But, for the OP's chances . . . that's just impossible to predict.
  • Sebastian93Sebastian93 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Thank you so much for the replies so far. I know that you cannot effectively assess my chances. I've been scrutinizing Ivy admission policies for a long time now and I am aware of the fact that the holistic approach focuses on more than abstract testing score figures.
    But simultaneously I assume that someone with a 600 overall SAT I score would never get a place at an Ivy, so consequently there must be a threshold anywhere between 600 and 2400 where a respective lower score will make any application pointless. And in my case, I thought that 1940 is near to the lower margin.
    Further I wanted to know, how you would rate my ECs, Work Experience etc. as they are above average in relation to my fellow German students, but (in my opinion) not really outstanding when competing with the world's best, are they?
  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,212 Senior Member
    1940 is indeed near the lower threshold. Your biggest weakness is your reading and writing scores -- if you could bring each of those up by 50 to 100 points, that would be better. Harvard requires a lot of reading and writing. As it stands now, I can imagine an Admissions Director looking at your stats and wondering "If we admit him, can he do the work?"

    Extracurriculars show what you are interested in doing outside of the classroom. One EC is not better than another, or one EC is not stronger than another -- so forget those phrases. Everything you do is okay! What matters most is your commitment and passion to your extracurricular activities, whatever they may be. Looking over what you have, you're fine.
  • notjoenotjoe Registered User Posts: 1,181 Senior Member
    The CR and the W scores are very low for Harvard. Only about 3% - 4% of Harvard freshmen scored below 600 each on these two subsections of the SAT. For an American student, I'd imagine these scores would nearly rule him/her out. I don't know how this fits in for an international student, especially since the TOEFL score is rather good.
  • IvyLKMIvyLKM Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    International is a crap shoot
  • EvansGerminatorEvansGerminator Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Ich bin sprachlos!Meiner Meinung nach sollst du dich einfach spontan bewerben .Ich würde sagen das du mit 75 Prozentualer Wahrscheinlichkeit angenommen wirst.Deine schulische Leistungen sind weitgehend über Standart.Dein Abi zählt als 32 kredit-Punkte!
    Glaub mir ich bin hier neu immigriert und bin jetzt Klassenbester :D Highschool ist ein Witz ,deshalb habe ich AP und IB Kurse gewählt,welsches nicht mit Deutschland vergleichbar ist.Eher vergleichbar mit Grundkurse :DD
    Bist du schon auf ner Uni?
    Gruß Evans
  • LooshinLooshin Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Leider hat niemand 75 prozentuale Warscheinlichkeit - das ist Harvard. Und ich bin sicher, dass sein Abi z
  • worriedmom777worriedmom777 Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    To Sebstian:

    It is not fair to say that Highschool is always easier than the German Abitur. The German Abitur can be rather easy or very hard depending on which part of Germany you take your exams in. The same is true for the US, but here you may get a very good education in one school and only superficial knowledge in the next. That is where the standardized tests come in handy.
    Nobody can tell you what your percentage of admission is. You just have to try. People play the lottery every week and their chance of hitting the jackpot is one to several million. But they believe they can get!
    So, write a good, convincing and passionate essay and pay your application fee. Your odds are low, but if you do not apply you do not get in. I have known several Germans who did go to Harvard.
This discussion has been closed.