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Harvard University: What You Need to Know

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Ah, the Ivy Leagues. Attending Harvard University is the dream of many a college applicant, and chances are, if you’re viewing this page, you’re right alongside them. But what kind of school is Harvard, and what does it actually take to apply there? If the answers to these questions are eluding you, fear not: CEA has put together a helpful guide containing such information.

The Basics:

Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636, Harvard University is one of the oldest universities in the United States. Its current student body clocks in at just over 36,000, with more than 371,000 living alumni having already passed through the hallowed halls of its 13 different schools and institutes. Its academic reputation precedes itself, boasting 49 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state, and 48 Pulitzer Prize winners–to name a few! 

The Requirements: 

1.) Your midyear school report. Not every college asks for this! It allows Harvard’s admissions team to see what your grades look like during the first half of your senior year.

2.) Two “teacher evaluations,” Harvard’s way of asking for letters of recommendation.

3.) Both the ACT and SAT, with no minimum score requirement. If you like, you can choose to submit your scores sans the writing section.

The Deadlines:

November 1: Restrictive Early Action

This is another way of saying “Single-Choice Early Action,” and is not, we repeat, NOT a binding decision! In this case, applying Early Action to Harvard means that you can’t apply Early Action to other schools. However, you’ll know whether or not you’ve been accepted much earlier than Regular Decision applicants, and then, even if you are accepted, you can still choose to attend a different institution.

January 1: Regular Decision

Nothing fancy here! In order to be considered for admission for the upcoming school year, you must send all of your application materials to the university by this date.

The Essays: 

Harvard requires two short answers and one essay from all applicants, with one additional brief question for international students. For more information on exactly what these essays look like and how to think about answering them, check out our other handy resources here: Harvard University Supplemental Essay Guide.

The Application:

You can apply to Harvard through either the Common App or the Coalition App!

The Competition:

Last but not least, let’s get to the nitty gritty regarding your competition. Harvard is one of the most selective schools out there; last year, they accepted just 4.63% of applicants. The class of 2022 had an average unweighted GPA of 3.90, scored an average of 1512 and 35 on the SAT and ACT respectively, and had taken about eight AP classes during their high school career.

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