How to get to Harvard: Admission Requirements

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Harvard University is not only the oldest university in the U.S but also the most prestigious. The university’s main objective is to provide excellence in teaching, learning, and research. It is also a pioneer for good leadership by shaping out leaders who make a difference globally. The university is coveted by many individuals from different countries since it’s believed to offer world-class education. Because of this, Harvard’s acceptance rate has continued to decrease over the years. Recent study reports show that the acceptance rate lies at 4.0%. By this, only a few applicants get the lifetime opportunity for studying at the university.

This article will give you detailed information on how to get into Harvard, You will be able to understand the university’s admission requirements and why it is hard to get an admission at Harvard. But before that, let’s take look at what the university is expecting from you as an applicant.

What is Harvard University looking for?

Understanding what Harvard is looking for might help a lot in righting a winning application that will help you get a spot at the university. You should first understand that Harvard doesn’t need well-rounded students, they want a well-rounded class. What this means is that every applicant has an outstanding academic record, therefore they tend to filter the applicants depending on what makes the applicants unique.

Therefore, Harvard will tend to pick students based on social-economic diversity, students from different countries, background interests Etc. They might also have an interest in students who are heavy on leadership and community development, whereby they take part in charity work. The only way Harvard will get to know this involvement will be in your essay. Consequently, when writing an essay, focus on points that make you unique and that might arouse the interest of someone reading the application.

How hard is it to get into Harvard University?

In America, Harvard University is ranked one of the top universities where getting admission is very challenging. Out of the 57,000 + students who applied for a chance at the university in the previous year, 1,968 students managed to successfully get admission. Since the acceptance rate (4.0%) at the university is too low, creating an outstanding profile might boost your chances of securing admission. A pro tip is that you should avoid listening to most of the YouTube videos where some people talk about getting into the university when in a real sense they have never gotten the admission themselves. The trick is to find a student who already is in Harvard or a graduate from the University and ask them the methods and tricks they used in getting their admission.

Academic requirements of Harvard University

After knowing what Harvard is looking for in an applicant and why it is hard to get admission into the university, let’s look at the academic qualifications required by the university.

Harvard SAT Score Requirements

The average SAT score at this university stands at 1515. Now get to know how the average score comes up. At Harvard University, the 25th percentile is 1460. It implies that a maximum of 25% of students admitted into the university scored 1460. On the other hand, the 75th percentile of the SAT exam is 1570. It means that a maximum of 75% of the total students admitted managed to score 1570. You then sum up the two values (1570, 1460) and get their average score which is 1515.

For individual sections such as Math, there are also the 25th and 75th percentile. The 25th percentile is a score of 750 while 800 is the score for the 75th percentile. For the EBRW, the 25th and 75th percentile have scores of 710 and 770 respectively.

NOTE: Harvard university does not do any super scoring. It is also important to note that the university considers the highest score in all the attempts you have taken on the SAT exam.

Harvard ACT score requirements

The average score for the ACT exams is 34. To achieve this, you will have to have a score of 33 as the 25th percentile and 35 as the 75th percentile. You have to get a score that is close to the average composite score to increase your chances of getting a spot in the university.

NOTE: The highest ACT score is considered by Harvard. Therefore, you can attempt the exams as many times as you want and send the highest score achieved in the ACT.

Harvard GPA requirements

To get a shot at the university, you will need a GPA of 4.04 on a scale of 4. This means you must show high levels of academic prowess in your class. You should focus on achieving the highest scores in SAT and ACT if you find the GPA more challenging.

Writing engaging essays  

You will be competing against students all over the world for limited spaces in the world. Therefore, write an essay that attracts attention, is short, and memorable. This will help glue the admission officer’s eyes on your application. In the essay, try to show why you are the best fit in the university, your unique abilities, and what you intend to bring into Harvard’s community. This will ensure that you are shortlisted and even picked when the officer has a hard time when choosing between two or three proposals.

Shine on your interview

Harvard will use interviews to conclude whether you are really who you claim to be on your profile. Therefore on the day of the interview (you will be informed via e-mail) try to look at it as a conversation rather than an interrogation. This will help you stay calm and relaxed and give your mind the right psychological environment to answer questions. Dress formally and try to be very engaging during the interview. The key is to create a lasting presence in the admission officer’s mind.

Harvard University application requirements

Harvard University accepts both the coalition applications and common applications. They will all be treated equally by the admission committee. For your application to be given full considerations, try to submit them as soon as possible. If you decide to apply with the common application, make sure you submit your application first before submitting the supporting documents such as; Secondary School reports, Teacher Reports. Bear in mind that your application won’t be submitted to the Admission office if you don’t submit your application sections.

What you will need for your application;

  • Harvard College Questions for the Common Application, coalition application, or the Universal College Application Harvard Supplement
  • US$ 75 fee (or request a fee waiver)
  • SAT or ACT (with or without writing. However, this will be optional for 2021-2022 applicants
  • School Report and high school transcript
  • Two teacher reports
  • Mid-year school report (after your first semester grades)
  • Final school report- applicable to admitted students only

For more information about admission into Harvard University, visit their official website.


Getting to Harvard isn’t a walk in the park. You have to show them that you deserve admission to their university. Try as much as possible to be short but most importantly, unique in your essays. Bring out the best in you and show them what benefits you are willing to bring into their community. Believe in yourself and avoid all the negativity out there about “entry into Harvard University”. I believe that you will get admission into Harvard. All the best!!



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