Facts About Harvard University

The 7 Most Interesting Facts About Harvard University - UniScholarz Blog

Harvard University is, to many members of the general public, the archetype of a prestigious college. Its name recognition, reputation, and long history make it world-renown, even iconic, in its stature. Even if it’s not actually the very best at everything, it’s still an incredible place to learn and grow with the backing of an exceptional array of resources and opportunities, and many high school students dream of joining its ranks.

Of course, getting admitted to such a respected university is an extremely competitive process. If you’re a high school student who’s planning to apply to Harvard, you need to take time to familiarize yourself with the university, its expectations, its culture, and its application process. Here’s what you need to know if you plan to include Harvard on your college application list.

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interesting facts about harvard university

Harvard University is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious and well-known colleges in the world. Its reputation comes from being in operation for centuries, and its rigor is unmatched. But there are still things about this prestigious college of which you have probably never heard. Check out a few things below.

John Harvard Statue

The statue of John Harvard is quite possibly the most recognizable landmark at Harvard University, but it is often called the ‘Statue of Three Lies.’ Firstly, John Harvard was technically the main benefactor of the college, donating funds to begin the university, which ensured that the school would carry his name – the statue labels him a founder of the school. It also states that the college was founded in 1638 when it actually opened in 1636. Lastly, the sculpture doesn’t even depict John Harvard, but rather a student by the name of Sherman Hoar.

The 7 Most Interesting Facts About Harvard University - UniScholarz Blog

Widener Library

It may be expected of the oldest university in the country, but the library collection at Harvard is the oldest in the country. The entire system comprises 79 libraries, with the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library being the largest by far. It is home to some 3.5 million books and has 57 miles of shelves. Four floors are underground due to the fact that they needed to expand but had nowhere to go but down.

Largest Academic Endowment

It’s well known that Harvard has a lot of money, but do you know just how large their endowment is? About $37.6 billion USD. That makes it the largest academic endowment in the world. While it has seen hits lately, it remains far above the next two, which are Yale University and the University of Texas.

Radcliffe College

Today, Harvard prides itself on gender equality, as well as being an advocate for LGBTQ rights. But it wasn’t always that way. Until 1999, Radcliffe College, now the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, was essentially the all-female counterpart to Harvard courses. Joint Harvard-Radcliffe diplomas were offered in 1963, and the beginnings of a merger started in 1977. This allowed Radcliffe students to take Harvard classes but didn’t offer those women an official Harvard degree.

Harvard Stadium

The famous U-shaped football stadium of Harvard University is located right across the river in the Allston neighborhood of Boston. It is the nation’s oldest stadium, constructed in 1903, and mimics elements of Greek and Roman architecture. It holds over 30,000 fans, and it has become a multi-use arena, serving as a field for Harvard track and field, rugby, lacrosse, and even ice hockey. Harvard Stadium is only one of four stadiums to receive national recognition.

No Commercial Filming

While you’ve probably seen plenty of movies about Harvard University, it’s rare that any are actually filmed in the Yard. Since 1970, the college has had a strict policy of not allowing camera crews on campus. Due to the amount of requests the school gets – sometimes up to five every week – they believe that having Hollywood film crews on campus would be a distraction to their students. This policy is firmly in place; however, it hasn’t stopped some camera crews from getting their Harvard shot.

Crimson Color

Harvard fan or rival, you would know the famous crimson color of the university anywhere. It seems that this color came to be the school color by complete chance. In 1858, a couple of rowers – Charles W. Eliot and Benjamin W. Crowninshield – handed out crimson scarves to their teammates during a regatta. Charles Eliot would become president of the college in 1869 and serve until 1909. A year later, crimson was voted the official color of Harvard.

The 7 Most Interesting Facts About Harvard University - UniScholarz Blog

important facts about harvard university

  • Type: Private University
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Founded: 1636
  • Enrollment: 6,710 undergraduates, 20,324 students in total
  • Tuition: $48,949 (2017-2018)
  • Average Financial Aid Award: $50,562
  • Acceptance Rate: 5.2% (class of 2021)
  • Average SAT Score: 2235 (class of 2020), roughly equivalent to 1530 on the new SAT

An Introduction to Harvard

Students and Culture

With over 6,700 undergraduates and over 20,000 students altogether, Harvard is a fairly large university. (You won’t always encounter all the graduate students, though—some of their campuses are separated from the main campus area.) These students, who hail from all over the world, bring in experiences, perspectives, and expertise from innumerable sources.

Harvard students are intelligent, driven young people with great potential who appreciate a rigorous academic experience, so coursework is challenging and the environment is heavily intellectual. Their numbers include currently high-profile people like Olympic athletes and children of well-known figures, as well as people who are destined for future greatness.

At the same time, Harvard isn’t just an icon; it’s a real place full of real young people learning, exploring, and shaping the future on a daily basis.

Harvard University Tuition

A Harvard education is an expensive commodity, with the average student’s cost of attendance (including room, board, books, and personal expenses) adding up to roughly $67,000 for the 2017-2018 year. However, the school does offer need-based financial aid to help mitigate this expense, which can make attending Harvard a much more viable possibility for many students and their families.

You should know that Harvard awards only need-based financial aid, not merit-based, academic, or athletic scholarships. Your aid will depend upon your family’s income, assets, and ability to contribute. Around 55% of students currently receive financial aid, and recently, Harvard replaced all required student loans in their aid packages with more grant aid that students don’t have to pay back later.

It costs $78,200 to go to Harvard—here's what students actually pay

Where is Harvard University Located City and State?

Cambridge, Massachusetts is a small, dense town right across the Charles River from Boston, close enough to share in its subway system and many other city amenities. Within the next few years, Harvard is planning to expand its facilities in Boston itself, but for now, most undergraduate activity takes place in the Harvard Square neighborhood of Cambridge.

Boston and Cambridge are steeped in American history, and reminders of the American Revolution are everywhere. The large number of colleges and universities in the area gives it an enduring legacy of intellectual excellence, with Harvard as a major part of that tradition. You’ll find a combination of big-city benefits and quirky local traditions, a strong devotion to the Red Sox, and easy access to the rest of the East Coast.

Academics and Popular Majors

Harvard’s most popular majors lie within the fields of biological and physical sciences, social sciences, history, and math, but these are by no means the only strong academic options. The university is home to exceptional programs and scholars in many disciplines, and even if you can’t study with a star professor directly, their influence helps make the academic offerings at Harvard truly world-class.

Student Life and Activities

Harvard students come from all over the world and bring in a huge range of exceptional talents and backgrounds, and this is reflected in the wide range of student activities available. No matter if you’re interested in athletics, politics, cultural groups, or even rare hobbies, you’re likely to find your people somewhere.

As you can imagine, high-achieving Harvard students often like to compete, whether it’s in debate, crew, or robotics. There are plenty of competitive opportunities, especially given the large number of other colleges in Boston, as well as Harvard’s membership in the tight-knit Ivy League.

However, not everything is so high-stakes; there’s plenty of fun to be had. In recent years, the university has also put more resources toward helping students relax and better manage the stress of their busy academic and extracurricular schedules.

Housing

Harvard is a residential community, with 98% of undergraduates living on campus. First-year dorms are located in the campus center, on the iconic Harvard Yard, and the ornate first-year dining hall that reminds many students of Hogwarts is nearby.

After this first year, students are divided among the twelve “residential colleges,” smaller communities within the Harvard campus that combine housing with dining halls and other common spaces. RAs and staff in each college head up activities that range from study breaks to fun group outings.

Walking Through the Harvard Admissions Process

Admissions Statistics

Each year, Harvard receives close to 40,000 applications for undergraduate admission. In 2017, the university accepted 5.2% of applicants, continuing a general trend of lower acceptance rates each year at Harvard as well as at many other comparable universities. Since Harvard is such a well-known and prestigious school, its yield is typically very high, meaning that most of the students who are accepted to Harvard will decide to go there.

Who Gets Admitted to Harvard?

While Harvard doesn’t have a stated minimum GPA or standardized test score range, successful applicants usually have very high grades and scores. For the class of 2020, the average combined SAT score (on the older version of the test) was 2235, which translates to roughly 1530 on the newest version of the SAT. Applicants also typically show strong extracurricular involvement and have taken on challenging coursework.

However, getting accepted requires more than the right numbers. Harvard’s holistic evaluation procedure looks for students who are truly exceptional and have great potential. Qualities like innovativeness, dedication, and curiosity are important, but most of all, you’ll need to stand out from the large pool of highly accomplished applicants. The key is to focus on what makes you special and the unique contribution you’ll add to this exceptional campus community.

Harvard is a reach school for any applicant due to its extremely low acceptance rate; many highly qualified applicants can’t be accepted do to space constraints. However, many students still decide that the potential benefits are well worth the work required and the risk of being rejected.

Application Timeline

Harvard’s application for the Regular Decision timeline, which most applicants use, is due on January 1st. You can expect to hear back about whether you’ve been accepted by late March. If you’re accepted, you’ll have until May 1st to decide whether to attend.

Harvard also offers a Single-Choice Early Action application option. If you choose this option, you’ll submit your application by November 1st, and you’ll be prohibited from applying early to other colleges. You’ll get your admission decision by mid-December. You’re not contractually obligated to attend if you’re accepted early under this SCEA program, and you’ll also have until May 1st to make your final decision.

Harvard Requirements for Admission

What are Harvard’s admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

  • GPA requirements
  • Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
  • Application requirements

School location: Cambridge, MA

This school is also known as: Harvard College, Harvard University Shares

Admissions Rate: 4.7%

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at Harvard is 4.7%. For every 100 applicants, only 5 are admitted.

This means the school is extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation. If you don’t meet their expectations, your chance of getting in is nearly zero.

After crossing this hurdle, you’ll need to impress Harvard application readers through their other application requirements, including extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation. We’ll cover more below.

Harvard GPA Requirements

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school’s average GPA for its current students.

Average GPA: 4.18

The average GPA at Harvard is 4.18.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You’ll need nearly straight A’s in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes – AP or IB courses – to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

If you’re currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 4.18, you’ll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

SAT and ACT Requirements

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Harvard. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

Harvard SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school’s average score.

Average SAT: 1510

The average SAT score composite at Harvard is a 1510 on the 1600 SAT scale.

This score makes Harvard Extremely Competitive for SAT test scores.

Harvard SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1460, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1580. In other words, a 1460 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1580 will move you up to above average.

Those who live near Harvard may want to look into tutors in Acton and elsewhere in the Boston area to strengthen their test performance.

Here’s the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math770740800
Reading + Writing740720780
Composite151014601580

Harvard ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, Harvard likely doesn’t have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 34

The average ACT score at Harvard is 34. This score makes Harvard extremely competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 33, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 35.

Even though Harvard likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 33 or below, you’ll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 34 and above that a 33 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you’re taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school’s ACT requirement of 35 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you’re happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

Final Admissions Verdict

Because this school is extremely selective, getting a high SAT/ACT score and GPA is vital to having a chance at getting in. If you don’t pass their SAT/ACT and GPA requirements, they’ll likely reject you without much consideration.

To have the best shot of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1580 SAT or a 35 ACT. You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score.

For a school as selective as Harvard, you’ll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We’ll cover those details next.

But if you apply with a score below a 1580 SAT or a 35 ACT, you unfortunately start out with the odds against you and have a tiny chance of getting in. There are just too many students with high SAT/ACT scores and strong applications, and you need to compete against them.

Note: Your admission decision relies not only on your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but also on your coursework difficulty, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. This tool provides only a simplistic estimate of your chances of admission. Instead of treating this tool as a crystal ball, we recommend you consider the big picture of what your chance means:

  • 80-100%: Safety school: Strong chance of getting in
  • 50-80%: More likely than not getting in
  • 20-50%: Lower but still good chance of getting in
  • 5-20%: Reach school: Unlikely to get in, but still have a shot
  • 0-5%: Hard reach school: Very difficult to get in

We recommend you apply to schools across a range of chances. Applying to some safety schools will guarantee you have a college to go to, while applying to some reach schools will give you a shot at getting into the school at the top of your range.

Application Requirements

Every school requires an application with the bare essentials – high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We’ll cover the exact requirements of Harvard here.

Application Requirements Overview

  • Common Application Accepted, supplemental forms required
  • Universal Application Accepted, supplemental forms required
  • Electronic Application Available
  • Essay or Personal Statemen tRequired for all freshmen
  • Letters of Recommendation2
  • Interview Required
  • Application Fee$75
  • Fee Waiver Available?Available
  • Other Notes

Testing Requirements

  • SAT or ACTRequired
  • SAT Essay or ACT WritingRequired
  • SAT Subject TestsRequired
  • Scores Due in OfficeMarch 6

Coursework Requirements

  • Required Years
  • English
  • Math
  • Science
  • Foreign Language
  • Social Studies
  • History
  • Electives

Deadlines and Early Admissions

  •  
    • Offered?DeadlineNotification
  • Regular Admission
    • YesJanuary 1April 1
  • Early Action
    • YesNovember 1None
  • Early Decision
    • No

Admissions Office Information

STEP 1: RECRUITMENT

Harvard’s admissions office starts thinking about prospective applicants well before many high schoolers start thinking about the College.

Things typically kick off when Harvard purchases students’ test scores and contact information from standardized testing companies such as the College Board and ACT Inc., which administer the SAT and the ACT, respectively.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 testified in court Oct. 17 that the University buys information for “well in excess of 100,000” students each year.

“It’s a good start,” Fitzsimmons said.

The College uses this data to identify “accomplished students” and then floods their inboxes and mailboxes with emails, letters, and shiny booklets stuffed with glossy photos of Harvard’s campus. Sometimes, the College starts recruiting promising applicants as early as freshman year of high school, according to the 2013-2014 iteration of the Harvard Admissions Office interviewer handbook.

Next, admissions officers put rubber to the road to seek out candidates across the country. Sometimes alone and sometimes traveling alongside representatives from other top-tier schools — such as the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University — Harvard officials trekked to 130 cities in all 50 states in the 2013-2014 school year, the handbook states.

Once arrived, staffers typically rent out public spaces like hotel conference rooms and give presentations meant to explain the admissions process and advertise Harvard.

The College specifically targets low-income and minority students, as well as high school hailing from less populous sections of America.

Via the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative and the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program, College officials and undergraduates make a personal appeal to applicants. The admissions office contacts candidates individually by telephone and email. Students let high schoolers stay overnight in their dormitories on campus to give them a taste of Harvard life.

Admissions representatives also visit high schools and junior high schools. The 2013 handbook notes that staffers for the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program must travel to at least two junior high schools each.

The handbook argues the merits of in-person recruitment efforts.

“A friendly note or phone call to introduce the candidate from sparse county to Harvard can be an important first step,” the handbook states.

Admissions officers additionally seek students skilled enough to play a varsity sport at Harvard. According to the 2013 alumni interviewer guidelines, staffers sometimes recruit “prospect[s]” as early as the first day of high school.

Documents released as part of the lawsuit show that recruited athletes see a significant boost in the admissions process. In the past, Harvard has ranked its applicants’ academic prowess on a scale of 1 to 6; athletes who earned a score of 4 were 1,000 times more likely to win admittance to the College than were non-athletes who received the same score during admissions cycles stretching from the Class of 2014 to the Class of 2019.

Harvard wins appeal on race but the battle is far from over | The Japan  Times

STEP 2: ALUMNI INTERVIEW

Once recruitment season ends, it’s time for applicants to strut their stuff.

After each Harvard hopeful submits an online application — replete with test scores, transcripts, and personal essays — the vast majority of students sign up for an interview with a College alumnus tasked with evaluating the candidate. More than 15,000 Harvard graduates typically serve as alumni interviewers each year.

Until alumni meet their assigned interviewees face-to-face, they know only the basics: full name, phone number, email address, and high school. The interviewers never see the interviewees’ Harvard applications.

Nonetheless, each alumnus later produces a report evaluating the pros and cons of the high school they spent roughly 60 minutes getting to know. The interviewer handbook details what criteria the interviewers use to judge applicants — as well as the nitty-gritty of how Harvard wants these conversations to go down.

The handbook instructs interviewers to keep the conversation under an hour and tells them not to suggest a dress code. It also advises against interviewing students in graduates’ homes.

“Some high school guidance counselors explicitly instruct their students to reject offers to meet alumni in their homes,” the document states. “In these cases you should happily suggest an alternative meeting location on neutral ground.”

During the interview, some topics are taboo. Alumni should “avoid prolonged discussions of political and personal issues” and “be wary” of asking where else applicants are applying, according to the handbook. If an interviewer chooses to ask about a student’s grades or test scores, they should do so in “a casual tone,” per the book.

“Your approach in asking for this information can help put candidates at ease and reassure them that grades and standardized test scores are by no means the only things the Admissions Committee considers,” the handbook states.

According to the 2013 guidelines, interviewers should start with easy-to-answer factual questions and slowly shift to a line of inquiry meant to unearth “motivation, commitment, and level and quality of contribution.”

The handbook suggests sample questions. One Harvard-proposed query asks applicants to describe their “school community” and speak about which classes they enjoy and do not enjoy.

Another asks, “Do you have a favorite book? Or, which book have you recently read? Do you prefer reading online? What blogs or sites do you read regularly?”

The document also details questions alumni should be asking themselves throughout the conversation. Interviewers should ponder an applicant’s “potential,” “maximum growth,” and “direction” while also considering the student’s intellectual and personal “capacity,” according to the handbook.

And interviewers should guess at the broader arc of candidates’ lives.

“Does the candidate have a direction yet? What is it? If not, is she exploring many things? Or is he just letting everything happen to him?” the document states. “Where will the candidate be in one year? Five years? Twenty-five years? Will she contribute something, somewhere, somehow?”

After the interview, alumni write up short blurbs detailing their interviewee’s strengths and shortcomings. Interviewers summarize the “special contribution” promising candidates could make on campus and how the students would benefit from a Harvard education.

The handbook cautions interviewers to “be aware of, and suspect, [their] own biases” when compiling these reports.

“Since no one can really be ‘objective’ in attempting to evaluate another person, be aware of your biases,” the handbook states. “The good interviewer makes allowances for this, appreciates a point of view on its own merits, and evaluates the interview accordingly.”

Interviewers also assign candidates numerical ratings for their personal, extracurricular, academic, and overall accomplishments. These scores typically range from 1 to 4 — 1 being the highest and 4 being the lowest — with added plus and minus signs that enhance or diminish the ranking.

The 2013 handbook notes that, because ratings are difficult to standardize, the admissions office relies more heavily on interviewers’ written comments than on the numerical scores they assign to students.

“The [Admissions] Committee does not expect to achieve anything approaching national consistency with the use of numerical ratings, so we use them in the most general way to show whether an interview was favorable or unfavorable,” the document states.

The handbook urges alumni to file their reports within two weeks of receiving their interview assignments.

STEP 3: HARVARD READS APPLICATIONS

As students around the world anxiously prepare for alumni interviews, admissions officers back in Cambridge sit down to sift through tens of thousands of applications.

Harvard assigns each admissions officer a geographic region and asks that they read all applications from students living in that area.

The first reader for each application records a Harvard-dictated set of data points and makes note of any missing materials. This year, first readers will take down applicants’ citizenship, race, legacy status, recruited athlete status, socioeconomic background, and standardized test scores, according to reading procedures for the Class of 2023.

First readers also verify labels and scores that identify applicants’ likelihood of qualifying for full financial aid. Roughly 60 percent of College students receive need-based scholarships and 20 percent pay nothing towards tuition.

“It has long been a priority for Harvard to seek talented students from all backgrounds, including those extraordinary individuals who are able to transcend economic disadvantages and achieve unusual academic distinction,” the document reads.

Admissions officers then move to the numbers. First readers assign applicants scores for their academic achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, athletic prospects, personal qualities, and the strength of the student’s “school support” — meaning their letters of recommendation. Staffers use a slightly different numerical scale for each category, though 1 marks the highest ranking across all scales.

The reading procedures offer highly detailed insight into what it takes to earn top marks.

In order to score an academic 1, an applicant must be a “potential major academic contributor” with “summa potential” and “near-perfect scores and grades.” It also helps if the high schooler has “national or international level recognition in academic competitions.”

Those who earn an academic 2 typically score in the mid-700s or higher on the SAT — or 33 or higher on the ACT. An academic 3 denotes an applicant with “mid-600 through low-700 scores” on the SAT or a 29 through 32 on the ACT.

A student with an academic 4, meanwhile, typically boasts “low-to mid-600 scores” on the SAT and between a 26 and 29 on the ACT — academic achievements the admissions office call “adequate preparation” for Harvard. Students who draw a 5 academic ranking typically earn SAT scores in the 500s or an ACT score clocking in at 25 or below. Harvard asserts these high schoolers have only “marginal potential.”

In the extracurricular category, a 1 denotes “possible national-level achievement or professional experience.” High schoolers can hope for a 2 if they serve as “class president, newspaper editor [or] concertmaster.”

An athletic 1, meanwhile, indicates the student could compete in his or her sport “at the national, international or Olympic level.”

In line with past years, the reading procedures for the Class of 2023 also detail how admissions officers calculate personal scores. This year’s iteration, though, is far more fleshed-out than old guidelines. While previous versions of the procedures summed up what it takes to score a personal 1 in a single word — “outstanding” — the 2023 booklet devotes a whole paragraph to the topic.ADVERTISEMENT

“Truly outstanding qualities of character; student may display enormous courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles in life,” the document reads. “Student may demonstrate a singular ability to lead or inspire those around them. Student may exhibit extraordinary concern or compassion for others. Student receives unqualified and unwavering support from their recommenders.”

How Harvard assigns personal scores forms a key point of dispute in the ongoing admissions trial. Students for Fair Admissions has alleged Harvard unfairly assigns qualified Asian Americans lower scores for their personal traits as part of a campaign to systematically deny them admission. The University has repeatedly and strenuously rejected these allegations.

Still, the charges may have had some effect in Cambridge. The Class of 2023 reading procedures explicitly tell Harvard admissions officers how and when they may consider race as they evaluate candidates — something never detailed in past versions of the procedures, which the College produces each admissions cycle. The new guidelines particularly forbid admissions staffers from weighing a candidate’s race when assigning scores for personal traits.

Finally, in a section titled “School Support,” the reading procedures outline how admissions officers should rank letters of recommendation penned by teachers and guidance counselors. If a letter writer describes the student as “the best of a career” or “one of the best in many years,” that student is likely to earn a 1. If, however, the applicant is merely “one of the best” or “the best this year,” they are more likely to score a 2.

Most applications see only two readers. The second person who reads the application — always another employee in the admissions office — typically checks facts and records applicants’ scores in an internal database.

Harvard professors sometimes review portions of an application if it includes notable academic or artistic work.

STEP 4: COMMITTEES TAKE A VOTE

Following the reading and ranking, the best-scoring applications go before two successive Admissions Office committees. A majority of each committee must vote “yes” on any given applicant for that student to win a spot at Harvard.

The Class of 2023 reading procedures indicate that all applications with a 2- overall score or better should make it to the committee phase. The first reader decides on a case-by-case basis whether those who earn a 3+ will proceed, while those scoring a 3 or worse typically do not advance.

The first committee that examines all applications is a smaller sub-committee comprising five to eight people: admissions officers, faculty readers, and a senior admissions office employee who serves as chair. There are several of these committees; each one focuses on applicants hailing from a particular geographic region.

The subcommittees’ discussions and debates as they review candidates can be rather lengthy.

“Subcommittees may discuss a single case for half an hour or even more before voting on a recommendation to offer the full Committee,” the 2013 interviewer handbook states.

The subcommittees work throughout the fall and winter as officers slog through the early action and regular decision cycles.

“Subcommittees begin meeting in November for the Early Action process and for three- to four-day shifts in late January until the end of February for the Regular Decision process,” the handbook states.

8 Interesting Facts I Discovered About Harvard University - The Wakaholic

The subcommittee holds a vote to determine which applicants it will pass on to the full admissions committee, a group comprising 40 application readers. A simple majority of the subcommittee must vote in an applicant’s favor for that student to move to the next phase.

The full committee scrutinizes and votes on each application at least once. It, too, obeys a simple majority rule.

But the full committee can be fickle. It often changes its mind, revisiting and occasionally rescinding its decisions to accept — or reject — borderline applicants.

The flexibility of the process preserves “the possibility of changing decisions virtually until the day the Admissions Committee mails them,” according to the 2013 interviewer handbook.

STEP 5: FINAL DECISION

In mid-December, Harvard will inform early action applicants of their fate. In late March, the College will do the same for regular decision candidates.

Though this year’s class is heading into the process with a much more detailed knowledge of Harvard admissions than any applicant pool in recent memory, they share at least one trait with decades of their peers.

Until that email pops up in their inbox, all they can do is wait.

Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

These schools are have higher average SAT scores than Harvard. If you improve your SAT score, you’ll be competitive for these schools.

School NameLocationSAT AvgACT Avg
California Institute of TechnologyPasadena, CA155536
University of ChicagoChicago, IL153034
Yale UniversityNew Haven, CT151034
Columbia UniversityNew York, NY151034

Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

If you’re currently competitive for Harvard, you should have no problem getting into these schools. If Harvard is currently out of your reach, you might already be competitive for these schools.

School NameLocationSAT AvgACT Avg
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroy, NY142030
New York UniversityNew York, NY141331
Boston UniversityBoston, MA141231
Boston CollegeChestnut Hill, MA141033

How to Apply

Harvard accepts the Common, Coalition, and Universal college application forms; none is preferred, so you can choose the form that works best for you. Whichever form you use, you’ll need to fill out all of Harvard’s required supplemental questions. Harvard’s supplement includes an essay question that is technically optional; we strongly encourage that you do submit this optional essay. 

In addition to your application form, you’ll need to submit your scores on the SAT or ACT as well as on two SAT II subject tests, your transcript, a School Report from your guidance counselor, and two recommendations (referred to as Teacher Reports). An interview with a Harvard alum near you is optional and not always possible, but we recommend you take the opportunity if you have it.

Applying to a place like Harvard can be intimidating, but the more you know, the better you can decide whether to take a chance on Harvard—and the better you’ll be able to prepare for the demands of the application process. If you’re thinking about applying to Harvard University, visit Harvard’s undergraduate admissions website for the most up-to-date information about application deadlines, requirements, and procedures.

What is the tuition and fees for a prospective Harvard student

The tuition and fees refer to the number or amount which the college quotes for one year of attendance. For the 2016-2017 academic year, students paid a total of $46,858 in tuition and fees. Based on a 2015 estimate, Harvard undergrads pay an average net price of $47, 018. Tuition and fees at Havard are always increasing on an annual basis and from a calculation of the average annual change of the past five years, Havard’s tuition increases at a rate of 3.5% and fees at a rate of 3.4%. This means that students may be charged as much as $51,937 in the 2019-2020 school year in tuition and fees.

Will I have to pay as much as the above to attend Harvard?

Most of the time, students do not end up paying the quoted price also known as the full sticker price. This is especially where you qualify for resident discounts or financial aids which reduce the final price you get to pay.

How do these amounts apply to international students?

All international students who wish to attend college in the US are usually charged full tuition and sometimes this also includes some extra fees not applicable to local students.

However, some schools offer scholarships meant specifically for international students.

And this is all about Harvard University. If this article was useful to you, do well to share it will your friends and colleagues.

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Harvard Admissions Lawsuit

A group called Students For Fair Admissions is accusing Harvard University of considering someone’s race too much in the admissions process which, they argue, is making Asian-American applicants meet a higher bar.

The trial begins Monday and is expected to last two to three weeks.

The Arguments

Students For Fair Admissions has several complaints about the admissions system at Harvard — from failing to consider race-neutral admissions tactics to putting too much weight on race in the decision-making process. But the biggest allegation is discrimination against Asian-American applicants. The plaintiffs will be trying to prove that with a few key points:

1) Quotas

When you look at Harvard’s freshman classes, they appear pretty similar from year to year.

The plaintiffs say that means Harvard is using a quota system or racial balancing, which would be illegal under federal law.

Harvard denies that, saying race is one of many factors they consider. Admissions data WBUR reviewed shows that in recent years more Asian-American students have been accepted into Harvard’s freshman classes.

2) Academic Performance 

The plaintiffs argue if admissions were based on academics alone, Harvard would accept twice as many Asian-Americans. Take the SATs, for example. According to the plaintiff’s analysis, Asian-American applicants score an average of 25 points higher than white applicants, 217 points higher than African-American applicants and 153 points higher than Hispanic applicants.

One of the biggest influences on their calculations in this debate comes from a 2013 report from Harvard’s Office of Institutional Research.

Report from Harvard's Office of Institutional Research
Report from Harvard’s Office of Institutional Research

In court documents, the university maintains that analysis was just a preliminary report. School officials like Dean Rakesh Khurana told WBUR it takes more than good grades to get in. Things like extracurricular activities, artistic ability and athletics factor in too.

“We’re looking for people who are genuinely curious. Not just those who do well on exams but actually want to learn and have an integrative capacity,” he said. “We’re looking for people who are service oriented.”

3) Personal Rating

Harvard applicants are rated in four categories: academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and personal factors.

The plaintiffs claim that Asian-Americans consistently get lower personal scores compared to other ethnic groups.

But Harvard disputes that, and says the plaintiffs aren’t accurately considering how other factors — essays, letters of recommendation, public service or facing adversity — are weighed in the admissions process.

The Man Behind The Lawsuit

The president of Students For Fair Admissions is Edward Blum. This lawsuit against Harvard is one of multiple challenges Blum has made against affirmative action. He is not an attorney, but his group has filed a similar lawsuit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Blum was also behind another lawsuit challenging race sensitive admissions, Fisher v. University of Texas. The Project on Fair Representation, an activist group Blum also directs, ultimately lost that case in the Supreme Court in 2016.

In addition to his efforts challenging affirmative action, Blum was involved in the Shelby County v. Holder case. The 2013 Supreme Court ruling in that case struck down a provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required states with a history of voter discrimination get federal approval before changing voting laws.

Edward Blum declined WBUR’s request for an on-the-record interview, given the pending litigation. But people close to him, like Ilya Shapiro, a constitutional studies fellow at the Cato Institute, say the issues at the center of the Harvard suit go beyond Asian-Americans.

“He has a vision of a society where race doesn’t matter, where the government treats us all the same regardless of skin color. I share that vision,” said Shapiro. “Asian-American applicants are at the forefront because that’s how you can most starkly illustrate the problems.”

Student Response

Unlike Fisher v. University of Texas, the Harvard lawsuit was filed by an activist group, not an individual. That’s a factor that doesn’t sit well with some students, like Harvard senior Jang Lee, who thinks Asian-American students are just being used as a wedge.

“I get angry and frustrated because there’s this white guy saying that he supports Asian-Americans,” said Lee. “Their agenda, when you look at his track record, it’s very clear that he does not care about Asian-Americans or people of color.”

Were you denied admission to Harvard? It may be because of your race:

Lee submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. federal court in Boston in support of Harvard and the use of race conscious admissions. He’s also been working with the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

But there are Asian-American groups on both sides of this issue.

Lee Cheng is with the Asian-American Legal Foundation. He’s a 1993 Harvard graduate but supports Students For Fair Admissions in this argument. Cheng disagrees with the argument that Asian-American students are just being used for a political win.

“They are trying to make this a lawsuit about what a white man wants,” said Cheng. “Leaving out, of course, that Ed is Jewish and is motivated by a desire not to see discrimination occur.”

A Case That Could Set A New Precedent

A lot of people will be watching this lawsuit to see how it plays out. Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, worries that if Harvard loses this case, selective colleges in the U.S. will become less diverse.

“Those experiences that students get from having students from different diverse backgrounds is good for all students,” said Coleman.

But the plaintiffs and the Trump administration argue that schools can still get diverse classes without using race, and that Harvard hasn’t adequately explored those options. The Department of Justice has submitted a statement of interest in support of Students For Fair Admissions.

Ultimately, when it comes to this decades-old precedent allowing race to be considered in college admissions, legal experts say it’s likely the Supreme Court that will have to decide.

Applicants to HBS

The application must have the following:

+A 4-year undergraduate degree or its equivalent+GMAT or GRE test results+TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test results if you attended a non-English undergraduate program

  1. Written ApplicationTo apply to Harvard Business School, we ask you to assemble and prepare a variety of materials that will help us assess your qualifications. Remember, all materials must be submitted to HBS online by the application deadlines. The following serves as a preview of what you need to prepare.
  2. InterviewAfter your written application has been submitted and reviewed, you may be invited to interview.
  3. Post-Interview ReflectionWithin 24 hours of the interview, candidates are required to submit a written reflection through our online application system. Detailed instructions will be provided to those applicants who are invited to the interview process.
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