What do you guys think is the NUMBER 1 thing Harvard looks for?

<p>Salvete! I am posting this thread to ask you all what you think the number one thing Harvard looks for. I hear grades, SAT, EC's, essay..... blah blah blah. I just want to hear from you guys what you believe. I've heard from many current Harvard students that the number one thing is the essay. I am curious as to if they primarily look at your GPA, and if you have a 4.0 or higher, solid SAT/ACT, then spend more time on the EC's and such. Ig I were in their shoes, I would be much more interested in the EC's and essay.</p>

<p>First of all, I will assume that since you seem to want to go to Harvard that you have the grades and the standardized test scores. After this assumption, let me tell you that, in my opinion, there is no one particular area of the college application that is viewed more strongly than the others. Harvard looks for celebrities, geniuses, and world class atheltes. The admissions comittee wants everyone to have stellar grades and standardized test scores. They want to see that you are a leader in your community and that you have made a difference. They don’t want a valedictorian, with a 2400 SAT score, a 4.0 GPA, and a mix of randomn clubs. Rather they would take a salutatorian, with a 2180 SAT score, a 3.7 GPA, but who has shown that he loves music by participating in the band and winning big awards. When applying to your school you need to play to your true strengths and not try to sell yourself as more than you really are. See where you fit in. Are you a math nerd (me), the next Mozart, Michael Jordan, or just a human being with a passion to serve your fellow human beings. The admissioms comittee is looking for the best people in each area. You should see if you are a master of music, math, sports, or even the unicycle. Speaking of passion, I guess that could be your single point that you are searching for. Do what you love and do it to the best of your ability. You are a human being. You don’t have to be god to get into Harvard.</p>

<p>This is a fool’s errand. The Harvard Common Data Set section C7 makes it very clear that there is no single thing that is most important. There are no criteria that they rate as Very Important of even Important. They consider: Rigor of secondary school record, Academic GPA, Standardized test scores, Application essay, Recommendations, Interview, Extracurricular activities, Talent/ability, Character/personal qualities, First generation, Alumni/ae relation, Geographical residence, Racial/ethnic status, Volunteer work, and Work experience. They do not consider: Class rank, State residency, Religious affiliation/commitment, or Level of applicant’s interest.</p>

<p>Ah, I see. And yes, I do have rather impressive academic stats, which can be found in my “chance me” thread. I am trying to show my inexorable passion for science by competing in national science fairs, and doing extensive research.</p>

<p>Hehe I see you took Latin.</p>

<p>Scribe epistula bene. Si poses illam, vident anima. Esto certus qui similis socios discuplos non es. Non dicere de ordinario; multus hic tenet tua scientia. Possum dicere te quod novus non sum idem impedimento. Cupio tibi felices!</p>

<p>LOL, I think I could interpret like 80% of that, but could you translate? I see the parts about having a great letter, and standing out from similar applicants, but well, yeah. gratias enim tuus auxiliam!</p>

<p>Depends. In one sense, grades and scores are probably the most important, because without good grades/scores you just won’t get in.</p>

<p>But almost everyone who applies has good grades and scores, and after that there is no clear-cut “number 1” thing. I would guess that ECs are probably more important than the essay and recs. The essay is a one-time thing and rec quality isn’t always reflective of the applicant, but ECs are reflective of the difference you have made in your high school, community, state, or even country. They’re reflective of how you prioritize your time and how competent you are in pursuing your interests. An applicant without leadership positions isn’t necessarily a dead applicant but it might raise some eyebrows as to what they did with their time. Of course, if an applicant is spending all of his time doing cancer research or something, Harvard certainly won’t expect him/her to be President of the ____ Society or Captain of the Quiz Bowl team.</p>

<p>Ignore the people who say that having “random clubs” is bad. That is a misleading statement, because often people will expand and say that you have to make yourself clearly a “political science Model UN guy” or a “science research guy” or a “charity founder” guy, and if you are on the Model UN team but you also do science research, that makes you seem like a resume padder. That’s false. Colleges like well-rounded applicants with diverse interests that have nothing to do with each other. My ECs had no “focus” whatsoever and I was accepted to 3 Ivies.</p>

<p>But I digress.</p>

<p>Thanks for the info, Dwight!</p>

<p>^Excellent post, Dwight! You’ve also reassured me somewhat xD</p>

<p>I applyed for harvards summer school program as a high schooler and was accepted. I don’t know what to expect and I’m nervous. What two classes would you recommend for me to take that will give me a taste of what harvard is like? Also, can you explain to me in detail what to expect in harvard classes and how to be successful (B, B+, A) in them? </p>

<p>Thank you.</p>

<p>Being a URM or athletic recruit is number one</p>

<p>Being married to an alum who does interviews , AND having a freshman there this year , AND having met many current freshman , I feel the # 1 thing ( beyond all the above ) is a Demonstrated Passion that you care about something enough to have committed alot of time and energy to something YOU believe in ,which makes you stand head and shoulders above the rest ,when compared to other applicants .You might get an idea from looking at the current admitted students from last year .Many qualified students don’t get in -why ? You just can’t know who you are up against . The only thing I noticed about many admitted students is that they were involved in their passions at a young age ,way before they were thinking about college .Examples - starting and staying with an instrument ,dance …my D started volunteering in seventh grade at a rest home and was visiting almost every week until the resident died ,more than 2 and a half years ! You have to be unique somehow .Having all the right stats gets you to the opportunity to be seriously considered . I am merely sharing my perceptions here .There is no definite answer …good luck !</p>

<p>Thanks a lot, fauzmaven!! I believe along with my science research and competitions, I could express charismatically in my interview my passion for science and my drive for excellence.</p>

<p>what does EC mean, am very new to this site, sorry if it is a stupid question.</p>

<p>i think havard is looking fr someone diverse with good grades and ecs that arent random.</p>



<p>It’s a fair assumption that Harvard seeks students who know how to speak and write well in English.</p>

<p>lol, Jazzpark. Ugh, I am just getting so busy with clubs and science fairs and all that. I’d just like to know if e.g. essays are the most important-as I have heard from current Harvard students- or whatever.</p>