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Is it possible for your average good student to get into Harvard?

taytayjtaytayj 0 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
Like is it possible for someone who hasn't won an international competition or started a business to get in? I'm a good student: 4.9 GPA, 1500 SAT but I have a feeling that I have no chance of getting in because I don't have any outstanding ECs. Thoughts?
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Replies to: Is it possible for your average good student to get into Harvard?

  • inthegardeninthegarden 1167 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 4
    Just by the numbers (admissions rates), you're probably right. But there are many fine schools that will be thrilled to admit you. If those are your stats, you're more than a "good student". Why Harvard?
    edited October 4
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1381 replies7 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes it is possible. From your bare stat's, you are in the ballpark. Are your chances good, no, but not any different from all the unhooked applicants that are successful. The decision will be driven by human judgment of how you fit what Harvard wants which is determined by your LoR's, essays, recognition/awards, quality of EC's and perhaps your interview. The vast majority of S's friends at Y don't have international or national recognition. They all did very well in school and on their tests. They all seem to have had meaningful accomplishments in non academic areas such as music, sports, community service, writing, debate, etc... His two friends from town who got into H were the same.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2181 replies3 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Scholarships are a far better deal anyway.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1428 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    Scholarships are a far better deal anyway.

    Not necessarily especially if one is from a low SES, they can go to Harvard and similar highly selective colleges for little or no EFC.

    Also, one needs to factor in "fit", just because some colleges will give you lots of merit/scholarships doesn't necessarily mean it's a good deal if the quality of education is not the same.

    To the OP, apply to Harvard if you want to and it's affordable, but make sure to have a good mix of match and safety colleges on your list. Good luck to you!
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78226 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    taytayj wrote: »
    Like is it possible for someone who hasn't won an international competition or started a business to get in? I'm a good student: 4.9 GPA, 1500 SAT but I have a feeling that I have no chance of getting in because I don't have any outstanding ECs. Thoughts?

    Well, we don't know what your 4.9 weighted GPA really means.

    But even if we assume 4.0 unweighted in hard courses, you should assume that most admits to super-selective colleges have something extra, whether it is an earned achievement (e.g. some top end achievement) or unearned attribute (e.g. legacy), as well as something compelling in the hard-for-applicants-to-know-how-they-compare essays and recommendations and being what the college itself is looking for (some such things are stated publicly, but others are not -- at the very least, check their public statements to ensure that you are not an obvious mismatch).
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  • tdy123tdy123 734 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited October 4
    At H, 40% of admitted white students were either legacy, faculty/staff brats, athletic recruits or developmental (big $ donor). The remaining 60% of the accepted white students (under 30% of the overall class) is further broken down by things like geographic diversity, first gen, low income and truly outstanding academic achievers with national and international awards. How many slots are left for the otherwise ordinary really bright white kid?

    Not a whole lot.
    edited October 4
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1167 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP didn't mention race.
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  • tdy123tdy123 734 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    OP didn't mention race.

    True. But that usually goes with the "ordinary really bright kid chances" on CC. For URMs the chances are better, for ORMs, worse.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3483 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    AKA "Standard Strong"
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  • websensationwebsensation 2106 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have seen many bright kids with good ECs (but no international or national award or starting business) get into Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Princeton. But they demonstrated focused interests.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34100 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 7
    If Harvard were about "average" kids, you probably wouldn't be interested.

    You do not need natl or intl awards. Most H kids don't have them and those applicants who do have no better shot, if they don't offer the whole picture H wants. Holistic.

    But the problem is, when a kid asks and only cites stats and "no outstanding ECs," it tells me you don't understand what H does look for, the depth AND breadth. Probbly don't understand what's a good EC or combo of them. You probably haven't self-matched. So, how do you make a bang-up presentation in your application?

    Plus, it's NOT the combined SAT score. It's the parts. 1500? Could be 800/700, for all we know. And the 700 is below bar.

    So, some learning to do. Some thinking.
    edited October 7
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2217 replies36 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "Average excellent" students do get accepted into T10 schools. Unless you're recruited for a particular sport or talent, it is practically impossible to predict what particular skills a college wants from year-to-year, however.
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  • compmomcompmom 10762 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It's about how you can contribute to the mix of the class. Maybe you are a very nice person and that comes through in parts of the application, or maybe you have some hardship we don't know about that you have overcome etc.

    None of us can tell you your chances. We can only advise you not to get stuck on Harvard or any other elite school and make sure you have choices you will like to attend and have a good idea you will be accepted.
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