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Joint Concentration on Harvard Application?

nvb123nvb123 163 replies20 threads Junior Member
Hi everyone,

I am a rising junior in high school but definitely plan on applying to Harvard. I also plan on doing a joint concentration there if I get in (in neurobiology and economics). How can I put this on my college application to show this? The reason I feel it matters is because my application integrates these fields quite a bit and I feel like it wouldn't be complete unless I stated what I intended to do.

Could anyone let me know how this will work?
8 replies
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Replies to: Joint Concentration on Harvard Application?

  • skieuropeskieurope 42310 replies8428 threads Super Moderator
    Short answer - you cannot have a joint concentration with neurobiology.

    For those areas that do allow joint concentrations, IIRC, the application asks for your intended concentration. That said, Harvard does not admit by concentration. Many Harvard students ultimately select a different concentration then they originally planned.
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  • nvb123nvb123 163 replies20 threads Junior Member
    Got it. Thank you! If neurobiology doesn't have a joint concentration I will likely choose a life science one that I can integrate well with economics.

    It's good news that the concentration doesn't matter too much though, I saw some threads of people saying "your ECs don't align with your major," but I guess that doesn't matter there.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 42310 replies8428 threads Super Moderator
    edited August 2018
    I saw some threads of people saying "your ECs don't align with your major," but I guess that doesn't matter there.
    I'll let you in on a secret. None of us, including me, is an AO. (Well, there are a few AOs, but none on any of the Ivy League forums AFAIK). We can share our opinions/experiences, but that's it. Some of us have more experience than others. When you get an answer, consider the source. A user who joined yesterday and is in HS probably knows less about the process that someone who has been through the process themselves or with their kids.
    edited August 2018
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  • gibbygibby 10541 replies249 threads Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    FWIW: More than 60% of US college students switch majors during their 4 years of school, so it's impossible for an Admissions Office to use an applicant's "intended major" as a recruiting tool, as most students will graduate with a major that is different from the one they wrote down on the Common Application.

    All student's apply to Harvard College as Liberal Arts Majors, and do NOT choose a major, called a concentration, until their sophomore year.

    As such, Admissions asks about your "intended major" to see how committed you are to your interests -- the idea being that your commitment, energy and drive is a transferrable skill. So whatever student's write down as their "intended major" they should make sure they have documented evidence in the rest of their application of their commitment to that major.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_arts_education
    . . . A liberal arts education is a term that refer[s) to certain areas of literature, languages, art history, music history, philosophy, history, mathematics, psychology, and science. The term generally refers to matters not relating to the professional, vocational, or technical curriculum.
    edited August 2018
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 36064 replies406 threads Senior Member
    Yes, OP should actually look at the Common App. There is a section for academic and for career interests. This is not declaring a major, which comes much later. Nonetheless, it figures in your review. The app is a sort of snapshot of your thinking. Yes, activities and possible major need to make sense.

    And look at any supplements for various targets. Some may ask you to explain the interest.
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  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    In addition to the foregoing, the current version of the Harvard College Handbook for Students states "The Economics Department does not participate in Joint Concentrations." They used to be permitted, but I think not in the past decade.
    https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/student-handbook/book/economics

    That said, wherever the OP goes to college, the OP might find that his or her interests are best reflected in an Applied Math major/concentration.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 36064 replies406 threads Senior Member
    Or take enough courses in the secondary field even without some official certification.
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  • compmomcompmom 12274 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Please don't stress about aligning your ECs and potential future studies.
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