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Chance for a legacy?

theater318theater318 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited September 2013 in Harvard University
Hi guys! So I would really love to go to Harvard, obviously, but I really don't even know if it's worth applying. The only reason I'm considering it is because I'm a legacy, and I heard recently that chances for legacies are dramatically higher. Obviously, though, I would still need the proper merit. Here's the rest of my stats:

GPA: 4.5 (weighted), 3.9 (unweighted)
SAT: 2120
All honors classes, with 3 AP's junior year and 4 senior year (the rest are just honors)
J:Comparative Govt, American Govt, Chemistry
S:Euro History, English Lit, Stats, Spanish Lang
VERY active in theater- I would probably sent in supplementary materials of my performance experience
President of 2 clubs
I would want to study humanities to one day have a career in entertainment.

I don't really know what else to put, so please ask if you want any other information, and thanks for your input!
Post edited by theater318 on

Replies to: Chance for a legacy?

  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,492 Senior Member
    Harvard's legacy acceptance rate is around 30% to 40%. Another way to look at that: 60% to 70% of legacies are rejected because Harvard didn't "feel good" about them. From what you've posted, it's impossible to tell how an Admissions Director will feel from reading your file. Your GPA is great, your test are in the mid range (most accepted legacies have better stats than non-legacies), and you have a passion for theater. So, it all comes down your essays and what your teachers write about you -- which is essentially what it comes down to for everyone else. Good luck to you!
  • notjoenotjoe Registered User Posts: 1,181 Senior Member
    theater318,

    If you would like to go to Harvard, it's worth applying. From what you've posted, there's nothing to suggest that you fall outside of the range of students ordinarily admitted.

    If you are really a legacy (And Harvard uses a narrow definition - either a father or a mother who graduated from Harvard College. No grandparents, no uncles or aunts, no graduates from the graduate or professional schools), that gives you a modest, but real advantage. Gibby points out the relevant statistics for legacies, although there is evidence that most of the superior admissions rate of being a legacy can be attributed to growing up in a household with a parent who graduated from an Ivy League school, not the slight favor given by Harvard to legacies.

    But if you'd really like to go there, there is nothing in your post to suggest that you shouldn't apply there. Most students who apply to Harvard are turned down, and that is the likeliest outcome for you, too. However, the school must admit SOME students, and your chances are no worse than most and better than many.
  • Falcon1Falcon1 Registered User Posts: 1,950 Senior Member
    Agree with gibby and notjoe. Just curious what your class rank, SAT II, and AP scores are.
  • theater318theater318 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Falcon1- my school doesn't do class rank, but I'm obviously somewhere near the top. I got a 700 in Chemistry and a 700 in Math 2. I got a 3 on Chem, 4 on American Gov, and 5 on Comparative Gov.
  • Falcon1Falcon1 Registered User Posts: 1,950 Senior Member
    ^^ Thanks. Hope you get in!
  • arwarwarwarw Registered User Posts: 1,309 Senior Member
    You seem passionate about theatre. I'm curious as to why you would choose Harvard where theatre is just an extracurricular activity?
  • DeskPotatoDeskPotato Registered User Posts: 1,329 Senior Member
    Harvard offers an enormous depth and range of opportunity for people interested in theater. What difference does it make whether is is in the context of credit courses or extra-curricular activity? I don't think that casting directors care much whether someone has a theater major or not. (Many theater folk major in English where they can take wonderful courses in dramatic literature.)

    The Lampoon is "just an extracurricular activity," too, yet launches the careers of television writers. The Crimson is "just an extracurricular activity"--there is no journalism degree--yet it also launches careers.

    One of the most prolific and successful music director/music arrangers working on Broadway has a degree from Harvard. In biology.
  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,492 Senior Member
    ^^ It actually makes a HUGE difference. For example, at other university's that offer a major or minor in theater, stage productions are directed by faculty members with years of experience, or they are directed by graduate students who are being supervised by faculty members.

    At Harvard, all productions (save one that is guest directed) are student directed with no supervision from faculty members. The result is hit or miss -- if you happen to get cast in a play or musical with a student who has great organizational skills and a vision for the production, then you are golden. However, more often than not, most productions are run by students who are learning as they go. Consequently rehearsals are often unorganized and productions are uneven -- at least that's been my experience watching my daughter perform in Harvard theater productions.
  • mythreesons1144mythreesons1144 Registered User Posts: 173 Junior Member
    Gibby is on target. If your ultimate goal is to be a performer, it might be best to attend conservatory or a college that offers a major in your performance discipline.

    For those who want to major in a non-performance area, but still wish to practice their performing art, Harvard offers wonderful choices.
  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,492 Senior Member
    ^^ Agree. Harvard is a wonderful school, but many other institutions do a better job of facilitating the academic study of the arts: How Harvard Teaches Artists (Or Doesn't) | Arts | The Harvard Crimson
    . . . many of Harvard’s graduates currently in artistic fields and undergraduates considering similar career paths say they feel that the College as an institution encourages a sort of learning that does not promote creative development and often fails to present the arts as a viable career path for Harvard students.
  • LightIntoLifeLightIntoLife Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    You definitely stand a good chance of getting in. Harvard's acceptance rate for legacies is significantly higher than the acceptance rate for non-legacies-it more than doubles! Harvard is the oldest university in America and old schools like to keep it in the family. Your grades are great but not extraordinary by Harvard's standards, you've demonstrated leadership by becoming president of TWO clubs, and you have one central passion, theater. I THINK that you will get in but the coin can fall either way. Your case is iffy. Best of luck! Please post your acceptance result when you find out as I'm curious.
This discussion has been closed.