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3.6 GPA to Harvard

PaperChaserPopPaperChaserPop Registered User Posts: 1,291 Senior Member
edited December 2008 in Harvard University
How can a 3.6 GPA, non-URM student get accepted? What must the student have? Please give realistic examples.
Post edited by PaperChaserPop on

Replies to: 3.6 GPA to Harvard

  • hookem168hookem168 - Posts: 3,206 Senior Member
    There's not a whole lot you can do at this point.

    In retrospect, you would need a 2400 on both the SAT I and SAT IIs, 5s on 10 AP exams, essays that put Mark Twain to shame, and you would have to do something incredible like write a novel that hits #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List. Or cure cancer. Whichever floats your boat.

  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 29,723 Senior Member
    Well the easiest way is to come from a school where that 3.6 GPA puts him into the top 1 or 2% of the class. Barring that something like playing the cello like YoYo Ma, or having parents who can fund a building might help.
  • HuntHunt Registered User Posts: 26,871 Senior Member
    One word: football.
  • FireAdept24FireAdept24 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Haha, I'm in the same situation as you described, my GPA's around 3.67 unweighted thanks to a personally rough junior year. Of course, I'm not actually applying to Harvard (or any college remotely close). To be honest, anyone who has below a 3.8 unweighted probably shouldn't be looking at Harvard, since you start to get that "I know I won't get in, but just imagine how awesome it'd be if I did" sort of mentality that ultimately only ends up disappointing. Unless you are a child prodigy at something, come from a super rich family, and/or go to an absolutely ridiculously difficult highs school in which no one has ever gotten a 3.8+, it's just not going to happen. Harvard attracts the best, most gifted minds from all over the world, so the competition isn't even proportional compared to the sorts of stats expected of an applicant.

    Now, if you did something extraordinary that has changed the lives of many people, that could certainly be a sort of foot in the door that really gets you noticed, and you could try explaining why your GPA is so low, but short of finding out you have cancer as a freshman or something, I don't think Harvard will honestly even consider your application after a cursory glance. There's just too limited of a number of seats for too great a number of amazingly talented students.

    However, I think you can partially overstep that boundary if, by some amazing writing, you could demonstrate that you want to go to Harvard more than anything because of the great academic opportunity and the culture and such, completely regardless of its name and prestige. I mean, as if it were still your number one choice even if it was a no-name school (hahaha) in the middle of the desert with an amazing academic program. Just, keep things in perspective. It's okay to reach for one's dreams on principle, but not everyone successfully attains their dream, sadly.

    (P.S. A 2400 would also be mandatory.)
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,471
    Well the easiest way is to come from a school where that 3.6 GPA puts him into the top 1 or 2% of the class.

    This is the credited response. High school G.P.A.s of the same numerical value are not all equal, because not all high school curricula are equal. Harvard says, explicitly,


    that it doesn't have a minimum G.P.A. requirement, because Harvard doesn't get to calibrate all the different grading standards used by high schools.

    Challenging yourself with tough courses in high school and doing as well as you possibly can is always a good idea.
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    The answer is to offer something that Harvard feels would add significant value to their entering class. A 3.6 with a typical American high school student background is a little low at Harvard. A 3.6 from a member of a refugee family who emigrated to the U.S. five years before, speaking no English, is very different. A 3.6 from someone whose artistic, athletic, or entrepreneurial skills are world-class may bring a unique value to the student mix.
  • bulletandpimabulletandpima Registered User Posts: 9,826 Senior Member
    I agree with gadad, otherwise donate a building or win an academy award ;)
This discussion has been closed.