Transferring to Harvard from duke

Hope all is well guys,
I would like to transfer to Harvard or somewhere up north (MIT, Yale, penn, Princeton), Harvard or MIT being my first choice, for family reasons. I live in South Carolina and my nuclear family lives around Boston and my grandfather has to take care of my drug-addict uncles kid’s and is have a tough time. I currently attend Duke as a Sophomore for biomedical engineering, and I’m not the biggest fan of the social scene, and there are some research points that these schools seem to hit that Duke doesn’t as well.
I would like to know if I’m in the ballpark at having a great shot for these schools.
My GPA is a 3.75 (had a rocky first semester freshman year).
My high school stats are perfect all around and I had several leadership positions but no massive awards or meaningful research beyond scrubbing Petrie dishes(got into Duke, penn, vandy, and Dartmouth out of high school).
At Duke, I’ve been involved in intramurals, made into a very competitive investment club, produced an engineering project for a course (poster presentation) been involved in a startup accelerator that’s tough to get into to advance my project, volunteered a bit, and held a part time job so I can continue to afford Duke. I also made it to the final round on a competitive college national game show.
Any tips or help would be appreciated!

“my grandfather has to take care of my drug-addict uncles kid’s and is have a tough time”

Being a full time student at MIT or Harvard is more than a full time job. You cannot help take care of an uncle’s child and be a full time student at a tough school and expect to keep your grades up.

“My GPA is a 3.75”

Transferring into MIT or Harvard is a long shot even for students with nothing but A’s and A+'s.

I think that it is admirable that you want to help your family. You are currently doing very well at an academically demanding university. However, I am skeptical regarding whether this plan to transfer is going to work out okay. I see several ways that this could go bad.

Harvard doesn’t take that many transfers. I think I remember reading somewhere that its in the range of 10-15 students per year. Your stats are in the ballpark. Have a backup plan.

Since you were admitted to Dartmouth out of high school, have you consider applying there as a transfer? Might have a better chance.

Not to sound harsh, but I don’t think those schools will consider your reasons for transferring as being compelling. They are compelling for you, of course. You need specific reasons for needing to transfer into those schools.

3.75 is a fine GPA in college. Don’t beat yourself up.

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Well, in fairness to the OP, he didn’t say that he would take over the care of the kids, and he most definitely could help if he were local – certainly 10-15 hours per week helping his grandfather would be doable. How many hours per week does it take to be a student at a tough school? 40? 50?

In my opinion, many students at tough schools will find themselves working for law firms or in finance or at a tech startup in a few years, and looking back the number of hours that they spent per week as a student will seem laughably low. Ask me how I know :wink:

I think that I probably put in about 50 hours per week at MIT, which was marginally okay. I probably put in more like 60 or 70 hours per week at Stanford as a graduate student, and my grades definitely did reflect the difference.

I would think that 10 hours per week would be doable. 15 would probably be okay except when the “academic crunch” hits at the end of the semester. I would not plan to spend any more than this plus a Saturday night date off campus. I can see how even 10 hours per week could be quite helpful to the grandfather.

Getting accepted might be the real challenge.

I agree that getting accepted might be the real challenge.

In my four years undergrad at an Ivy and 3 years at an Ivy law school, the only year where I exceeded 40 hours per week on school was my first year of law school – and most of that year was wasted, inefficient studying. For most of those years I had a part-time job, which is why I think 10-15 hours per week could work for the OP. Of course, things like major, aptitude for that major, and even personality type, etc. will factor in.