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Can I get into Harvard even if I come from a small town

akgillakgill 1 replies1 threads New Member
edited August 11 in Harvard University
Im from canada bc and im from a really small town with 300 kid in high school. we dont have any ap classes or advanced classes but i do a lot of volunteering as well as take part in theatre basketball and soccer. But I have dreamed of going to harvard since i was 11. I know its really hard to get in but does anyone know if I would have a chance. P.S I want to be a dentist.
edited August 11
10 replies
Post edited by skieurope on
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Replies to: Can I get into Harvard even if I come from a small town

  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15972 replies1068 threads Senior Member
    Being from a small town will not hurt your chances. Your school will send a school profile that shows the lack of AP classes etc. Being international will reduce your chances of admission which are low for all applicants.

    What is you GPA?

    Why do you want to go to Harvard other than it is Harvard?
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  • LZHopeLZHope 68 replies17 threads Junior Member
    Carefully evaluate your desired institutions subjectively. Prestige is not everything.

    What are your qualifications?
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  • mommyrocksmommyrocks 1222 replies14 threads Senior Member
    I don't know what year you are in high school, and how much time you still have to fill out your resume. AP classes are available online, and you can take college classes on Coursera and other sites. There are a lot of ways to prove yourself academically, including how high you rank against your classmates and how well you do on standardized test scores. What would most impress Harvard or another Ivy at this point though is if you do something that makes you stand out nationally or internationally, especially if it is related to the major you want to pursue. This can be done by starting a nonprofit that does something significant, by competing and winning national awards, by writing for international publications, etc. It's hard to give specific ideas because I don't know your strengths or interests, but get creative and think of how you can make a difference outside of your school, in your community and far beyond. That in itself can get the attention of top U.S. universities.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6797 replies2 threads Senior Member
    As others have said being from a small town will not stop you from getting accepted to Harvard.

    However, it is not clear to me that attending Harvard will be the right way for you to both get accepted to dental school and be able to afford to attend dental school and graduate without debt.

    What is it about Harvard that is attractive to you?
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 401 replies2 threads Member
    After a quick google search, I found that the University of British Columbia has an in-province tuition and fees of ~$7,000 Canadian Dollars. By comparison, Harvard's tuition and fees for this year is a bit more than 70,000: 10 times the tuition and fees of a UBC degree. Even if you qualified for a huge amount of financial aid (after running college's financial aid calculators, which aren't 100% accurate) not all selective colleges like Harvard are "need-blind"---most are "need aware," which means your ability to pay as an international student is taken into account during the admissions process. Furthermore, if your family's financial situation changes at any time (increased income etc.), your financial aid eligibility could be impacted as well, leaving you with an increased bill for your family to pay for.

    Keep in mind that graduate school is quite expensive as well, especially in the United States (where public medicine and dentistry schools are usually limited to residents of the state they are located in, and the tuition of private dentistry schools is very similar to the tuition of undergraduate private schools ,) and there is limited professional school financial aid compared to undergraduate financial aid at these highly selective schools (and almost none that is from the US federal government, whose loans many American students take.)

    Now this isn't to say that you shouldn't apply to Harvard if you LOVE the school, but you shouldn't be applying for the wrong reasons. You should only apply to Harvard, or any other highly selective school, if both of the following are true.

    1. You LOVE aspects of the schools besides its prestige or brand name. These could be the curricular ideology, academic departmental strengths, alumni sponsored internships etc.

    2. You and your family could afford the school if admitted (see first paragraph.)

    Lastly, you should make sure that you are applying to a variety of schools that are affordable and at least one where you are guaranteed admissions. Admission to any school like Harvard is far but guaranteed, so as a Canadian student, I highly recommend you apply to schools in Canada (which are more likely for you and your family to afford, even if you don't receive any scholarships or aid) AND schools in the US, rather than fixating on one specific school.

    Hope that helps! Good luck with admissions!
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  • compmomcompmom 12056 replies82 threads Senior Member
    The thing to think about is why, at age 11, Harvard was a "dream." There are many reasons to love Harvard, and many reasons to prefer other schools. So first of all, educate yourself on Harvard (rigor, large lectures with grad TF's, house system etc.) and then educate yourself on other colleges (I often suggest the Colleges that Change Lives website.).

    Coming from a small town is not a barrier at all. Schools will go by the curriculum offered at your school. However, if you want more, you can take classes at community or other colleges and here is a really good virtual high school that our high school uses officially: https://vhslearning.org/ They have diverse offerings including AP's. (I would not recommend Coursera)

    But take classes out of interest, not to get into Harvard. Don't try to fit yourself to any one school's admission: instead find a school that fits you.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2956 replies14 threads Senior Member
    compmom wrote: »
    Don't try to fit yourself to any one school's admission: instead find a school that fits you.

    This cannot be emphasized enough.

    From your point of view colleges should be there to provide you with what you need, instead of you trying to provide a college with what you think it wants. At the moment you should be focused on getting what you need and what you want from high school.

    Have you ever been to Harvard, spent time on campus, spent time in classrooms, speaking to faculty and students? If not, then I cannot imagine what you were dreaming about.

    Besides, being "accepted to Harvard" is such a meager and limited dream for a teenager. You will, what, spend 4 of your next 70 years at college? What about the rest of your life?

    Dream bigger. Dream about what you want to do in your life. Then select the colleges which will help you do so. Harvard is one of hundreds of colleges which would allow you to fulfill any life's dream that you have, so long as your dreams are not all focused on the college to which you will be accepted.
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  • aimivyaimivy 10 replies0 threads New Member
    edited August 28
    If you truly think H is the right place for you, and your personality aligns with its values, then by all means apply. Coming from someone accepted to Harvard and an admissions counselor, these are tips to use if you're from a small town:

    A. Use it to your benefit! Not many people come from small towns, and perhaps you have a narrative that demonstrates your unique personality that only someone from your town could write about.

    B. Make up for your school's lack of AP/Advanced classes by pursuing other forms of academic rigor: research projects, competitions, etc. If you can manage to take an AP test without taking the class, then by all means do so!

    C. Remember that H gets thousands of applicants every year, and many are likely just applying because of the prestige. Give a clear, (and most importantly) honest explanation on why you see yourself at Harvard -- but also be sure to show how your background, personality, identity, and experiences (a) align with H's, (b) add to H's community, and (c) make you "a Harvard student."

    Harvard is an incredibly amazing school, and I wish you the best of luck as you apply. Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions.

    Cheers,
    edited August 28
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • akgillakgill 1 replies1 threads New Member
    edited August 28
    Hello @aimivy I was wondering if I could ask you some more questions personally if you don't mind.

    Thank y
    edited August 28
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • skieuropeskieurope 41583 replies7941 threads Super Moderator
    @aimivy @akgill

    The site is call College Confidential. Don't use your real names
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