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What are my chances for getting into Harvard?

horsetornadohorsetornado Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
I have been dreaming of going to Harvard for years, particularly for their environmental public policy strain of studies. Here are my stats as of the beginning of junior year:
GPA: 4.57
ACT: 35 composite
SAT2: 760 Bio (planning to take math 2 and chem and not submit the bio one)
Class Rank: 2 (trying to get that up)
Extracurriculars: Research at UC Berkeley analyzing the correlation of socioeconomic status and environmental air pollution factors (hoping to get published soon), currently writing literary review on research concerning the correlation between air pollution and suicide rates, Girl Scout bronze and silver award (shooting to finish Gold award this year), varsity swimmer, applying to go to Greenland this summer for a polar environmental field study program, special olympics volunteering, job at air and space museum, job coaching, finishing a course era epidemiology course, and did an online internship for sustainable energy at generation180.

Can someone please tell me if I'm on the right track? I know ivies are a whole new world in terms of college apps, but Harvard's public policy program is something that I think I would really be interested in and love.


Replies to: What are my chances for getting into Harvard?

  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,492 Senior Member
    Yes, you are on the right track.

    That said, students with unweighted 4.0 GPA's and perfect test scores get rejected from Harvard every year. When a college is that difficult to get into, no one stands a good chance of being admitted.

    Let's do some math, as this will help you concretely understand your odds.

    Harvard Admissions is on record as saying that 80% of applicants can do the work on their campus, and fully 40% of them are top students with exemplarily credentials.

    Now last year almost 40,000 students applied to Harvard. If 40% of them are tippy-top students, that means 16,000 students are the best-of-the-best from across the country and around the world -- truly stellar students with top grades, test scores, recommendations and essays.

    However, Harvard only has room for 1660 students in their freshman class, which means over 14,000 terrifically qualified students are rejected every year -- and everyone one of those students had a chance. So, might you have a chance? Sure! But are the odds in your favor? No! Are the odds in anyone's favor? No!

    So, I would suggest you stop obsessing over whether you have a chance at Harvard and just do the best you can. And, please explore other top colleges. Attending Harvard shouldn't be your goal. Getting a top paying job upon graduation should be -- and Harvard doesn't have the corner on that market!
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,266 Senior Member
    edited September 14
    Great advice above. I will add that the OP should explore not just top colleges. OP needs a safety school or two. Also, let go of the idea of a dream school. The odd are against you. Be realistic, and find a school you can learn to love, where you actually have a good chance of getting in.
  • coolguy40coolguy40 Registered User Posts: 1,751 Senior Member
    Harvard has a 4% acceptance rate, and every applicant is virtually identical. It's pretty much a lottery based on what mood the admissions people are in. If you think about it, admissions is the only department where it's your job to make up excuses. There's ALWAYS a reason to turn you down. Just give them a good application and see what happens. Make sure you apply to a list of good affordable match/safety schools. In fact, your stats would get you a full tuition scholarship at TCU and Univ if Alabama. In my opinion, scholarships are a far better deal than a "prestigious" college. Prestige is completely subjective. Scholarships let you graduate debt free, which is a completely measurable benefit.
  • TheBigChefTheBigChef Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    "However, Harvard only has room for 1660 students in their freshman class, which means over 14,000 terrifically qualified students are rejected every year"

    It's important to note, that a good chunk of those 1660 slots go to applicants with hooks (recruited athletes, development admits, children of staff etc ...), so the odds for an unhooked kid are even worse than the 5% admission rate suggests. Bottom line, to the extent that a "right track" exists for an unhooked to get into Harvard, OP is on it. But having your heart set on Harvard is usually a sucker's bet.
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