Hey guys,
I am a sophomore and my absolute dream school is Harvard. I am currently taking all honors and few APs. I messed up my freshmen year and therefore, have a poor Gpa-3.3. I am currently a member at Quizbowl and Math team . My friend introduced me to the game of cricket and I am a member of that too. I plan to begin a cricket club at my school. I play for the cities’ cricket team as the captain( hope that helps).I will try to do some stuff and try to get some leadership. I have around 100 hours volunteer hours and hope to increase it to around 250ish. SAT- took as a practice and got a score of 2170. Hope that increases too. I am planning to take Business class since Stanford( my secod dream school) is business focused. Should I take the classes then? What else should I be doing to secure my chances? Thanks folks

Take more AP classes and raise your GPA-alot!

Right now, your scores are low and your EC’s are pretty average. People you’re going up against will have EC’s such as starting international organizations and interning at famous corporations. Also, to be considered competitive at Ivy leagues as well as schools such as Stanford, GPA is extremely crucial and needs to be at least a 3.9 unweighted and far above 4.0 for weighted. An admissions officer from Yale has said that if you get a C anytime in your high school career, they “suggest that Yale is not the right fit for you,” which basically means they won’t accept those people.

I’d suggest that you raise your GPA a lot, as the poster above stated, by taking as much weighted classes as you possibly can while making sure you receive A’s in all of them. Also take courses at your local community college or any college near you. Having a hook will definitely help - such as being first generation, being nationally-ranked at a unique sport (or if it’s a common sport like tennis, you’ll have to be ranked top 10), or things like that that will help you stand out.

Ultimately, work hard and keep in mind that the admissions process is random and based on luck for everyone. There’s no telling who will get in, and you have as much a chance as anyone else. However, you can definitely raise your chances if you have a high GPA and outstanding, truly different EC’s as well as application essays/recommendations (try to build strong ties with your junior year teachers).

Good luck!

Improve your GPA, do your best on your standardized tests, do things you want to do for the sake of doing them, not for the sake of application to Harvard or other top schools, and have a good time.

When you have time, take the time to learn about different colleges and universities. Go to open houses. Meet college reps when they come to your school (if your school does that sort of thing). Do come comparing and contrasting of schools, and different sorts of schools. Try to visit a few. Learn what makes each unique. Realistically appraise your financial aid needs.

When the time comes, apply to a range of schools where you think you could thrive and be happy, and where you can attend without becoming a near-permanent debt slave, including at least a few “dream” schools, and sort out the results as you get them.

There is really no way to “secure” your chances except if you were a highly recruitable athlete with excellent grades and test scores. Taking business classes probably won’t mean much to either Harvard or Stanford since neither offers an undergraduate business degree. Also, you seem to have this notion that getting into Harvard is formulaic and you are just trying to check off boxes. Captain of a sports team? Check. 250 hours of volunteering? Check. Started a club? Check. Took classes that looked good? Check. …

It really doesn’t work that way. You have to do things that you enjoy doing and do them extremely well. You have to be " so good, they can’t say no" in whatever you choose to excel in. For Harvard and Stanford, as others have said you need to raise your gpa. It all starts with academics and goes on from there.

Stanford has four undergraduate schools;

Earth Sciences
Humanities and sciences

There is no undergraduate degree in business.

It has graduate schools in;


Stanford is a competitive application. 75% of the admitted students have a 4.0 GPA. Less than 5% have below a 3.70.
You might consider putting your efforts into getting into a good undergraduate school with a business program and then aim at Stanford for graduate school.

Given that many high school’s require community service hours in oder to graduate, college admissions does not pay that much attention to volunteer hours. It’s not like the AO’s give applicants “extra points” for volunteering. So, more hours do not necessarily enhance your resume. As @T26E4 recently said to another poster on the same subject:

FWIW: See C11 Data point in Harvard’s Common Data set 96.21% of accepted students to Harvard had GPA’s greater than 3.50