Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Recruitment for academics

Carnegie111Carnegie111 Registered User Posts: 267 Junior Member
edited August 2006 in Harvard University
Just a question,

does Harvard recruit students based on exceptional academic interest?

I'm deeply passionate about politics and have worked in COngressional offices and campaigns for my entire high school life, can I be recruited for political science?
Post edited by Carnegie111 on

Replies to: Recruitment for academics

  • xjayzxjayz Registered User Posts: 1,654 Senior Member
    No. (10 char)
  • afanafan Registered User Posts: 1,686 Senior Member
    Yes, but it takes truly exceptional academic accomplishments to stand out in Harvard's applicant pool.

    I read an old source that said that Harvard gets around 50 applications a year from students it considered brilliant, and accepted nearly all of them. Perhaps the number is larger now, but unlikely to be more than a couple hundred (out of ~22,000 applications). There are just not that many brilliant people around. Another data point- at one time, again a while ago, MIT estimated that there were about 300 "academic superstars" in the county graduating high school each year.

    Very few Harvard students are admitted on academic potential alone. Almost all are admitted because they are very smart, and they bring something else to the College.

    From talks from the admissions officers, 800 SAT's, multiple AP's, and performance on other evaluations intended for high school students do NOT identify someone as brilliant, just as a good student who would fit in academically. Brilliant is published author of scholarly work, international math olympiad gold medal, and things at that level that few high school students ever acheive.
  • ICargirlICargirl Registered User Posts: 565 Member
    I think a strong interest in a particular subject helps more than you seem to think. While it won't compensate for below average stats, in a pool where most people are qualified, it definately helps you stand out. Harvard has a politics department. You have a passion for politics. Assuming your other credentials are good, this is the kind of thing that will get you in over the many excellent, well-rounded students that you are competing with.

    In my case, while I applied to Princeton with very good SATs and rank, there were certainly students in my school with a more impressive academic record. Mostly, this was because, unlike many of my classmates, I wasn't particularly well-rounded - I did fine in upper level math and science, but I certainly wasn't getting As. I didn't get into BC calc, and the only AP science I took was the comparatively easy Environmental Science. But I presented myself as a passionate English student, sent in samples of my critical writing, had stellar English and history grades anad scores, had glowing recommendations, and wrote (in my opinion, at least) really good essays. I think I got in because Princeton realized that I was the type of person their English Department wanted - while I wasn't the best student, I was competent enough to get through their distribution requirements, and I would be an asset to the Department I joined. So, while I wasn't recruited, I think the fact that I was so focused on one area helped.

    Politics is even more valuable, since people who enter politics have a chance at getting a national reputation that will reflect well on the school.
This discussion has been closed.