Chance Me: Harvard University

Currently high school freshman
GPA (Unweighted): 3.99
Class Rank: 2 or 3/275 (Top 1 or 2%)
School: Private, Catholic
Gender: F
Race: White
No SAT/ACT scores yet, but got a 1150 on a practice test over the summer that I didn’t study for etc. (summer between 8th and 9th grade)
Central middle class family (attend private school on financial aid)

I live in the Midwest, but not in a state that gets preference for being majority rural


Currently in most rigorous course load available- Honors 9th Grade English, Honors 10th Grade math, AP Human Geography, French III, all other classes must be taken at regular levels. Predicted to get a 5 on the AP Human Geography exam in May by my teacher and counselor. Next year will take 4 Honors and 1 AP, Junior and Senior year plan to do dual enrollment at a local christian Women's college.

Extracurriculars (in no particular order)-
Varsity Cross Country (may quit next year)
Varsity Nordic Ski Team (will likely become a captain)
Speech (undetermined Varsity vs. JV)
Varsity Track
Theater (decent, mainly supporting roles- school and community theater and acting/voice lessons)
Math League
Inaugural member of Math National Honor Society- only freshman admitted
Very likely future member of NHS
Freshman Student Council Secretary (will likely be re-elected in this position; at my school, all StudCo members do the same thing regardless of title)
State policy and outreach teams for a climate action organization I won’t name here, school lead and area chapter member for that same organization (may join National outreach team, TBD)
State events co-lead at a gun reform organization I also won’t name here
Volunteer group (no leadership opportunities available but one of the top hour-earners, even among upperclassmen)
Fellowship at a Youth Leadership and political action organization (hard to be accepted into, bit of a bigger deal? This year only.)
Climate Club (Co-Founder and Co-President)

Founder, local chapter of a climate action organization

Senior Presidential Volunteer Award recipient (likely in coming years as well)- 100+ hours of service

All-Conference Honors for Speech

USFA certified referee
Climate and gun reform organizations

May have to pick up a job in retail or fast food in coming years

Hooks for Harvard-
Partial Legacy (Mother attended JFK Government school)
I will likely apply as a political science major, my activism experience could be beneficial for this?
Will apply early action

(Almost certain that I will not be a recruited athlete)

The other main colleges I am interested in include Columbia, NYU, Georgetown and UC Berkeley!

Thank you so much and please chance me to the best of your ability!

With only 1 year of grades and no standardized test scores, no one can give you an even remotely accurate estimate because you are only a freshman. It’s too early to start building a college list imo.

Don’t get too caught up on one college this early, especially one as difficult and unpredictable to get into as Harvard. You’re a freshman; just focus on your grades and joining extracurriculars of interest - and enjoy yourself! It goes by so fast, trust me.

Assume that admission to Harvard will be the equivalent of winning the lottery. Even if you stay at the very top of your class. Even if your SAT goes up 400 points. Even if you win some awards. Even if your LoRs are outstanding.

As for your “hooks”: understand that a ‘hook’ is something that you have which the college wants: sports skills, seriously mega $$, fame of some sort, and legacy. Being an activist in a field that you are interested in is not a hook (though it can be helpful in assessing your overall application). Similarly, applying EA is not a hook, though it might be helpful. Legacy at Harvard is a big pull, but grad school counts less than undergrad: there are roughly 2x the number of grad students as undergrads at any one time, and many of the grad programs are 1-3 years, so in any one intake year, the number who have a grad degree 4 years later is another multiple.

The hard fact is that there are simply too many students who are as smart, hard working, motivated and accomplished as you.

This is one of the best pieces of advice on getting into super-selective colleges out there comes from the admissions team at MIT. Read it, believe it, live it:

(ps: do make sure that you understand what your financial options are: UC-B is the guts of $70K / year, with no financial aid for out of state students).

None of these are hooks. Legacy for Harvard means a parent attended as an undergraduate

Harvard isn’t as fulfilling of a school for politics as are Columbia and Georgetown, purely bc of their location. I would recommend applying to UPenn too, its a bigger and more social Ivy with a similar vibe to Harvard, but better city access.

Please don’t think about college yet. Spending your high school years with admissions in mind can ruin your experience- and your authenticity. Pursue general interests, explore, make friends, grow as a person, and leave college concerns for later.

If you are in a high pressure environment at school or home, with expectations of an elite school, maybe there is someone you could talk to.

Frankly, you have a lot to learn about what H wants. And what your opportunities are, through the hs years. Rather than ask if you’re in place for an admit, blindly based on partial stats and some ECs, figure out what matches you to your targets, what they look for, and what you need to add.

The activism is good, but not enough. We have no idea what your outreach is. I suspect much of it is teen stuff. And get some experience in local politics.

Closed at user’s request.