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Kimberly Liu
5 How to Get Into

How to Get Into Harvey Mudd College: Admissions Stats + Tips

What’s Covered:

 

One of the seven colleges in the Claremont consortium, Harvey Mudd College is known for its rigorous focus on science and engineering. At HMC, students all work towards a Bachelor of Science degree, but also complete the Common Core, consisting of required courses in the humanities, social sciences, and arts. 

 

Interested in applying to Harvey Mudd? Read on for a deep dive into what it takes to get accepted into this selective school for STEM. 

 

How Hard Is It to Get Into Harvey Mudd College?

 

For the 2020–2021 admissions cycle, Harvey Mudd College (HMC) received 4,737 applicants, of which 473 were accepted. This means that last year, the acceptance rate was 9.9%, making it a highly selective school. That same year, Harvey Mudd received 485 early decision applicants, of which 104 were accepted, which yields a 21.4% acceptance rate for early decision. Harvey Mudd does not have early action. 

 

While Harvey Mudd’s admissions rates are low, they don’t necessarily reflect your own chances of admission. Our free chancing calculator can help you better understand your chances of acceptance into any school. By taking into account multiple elements of your profile, including your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance, and give you tips on improving your profile! 

 

Average Academic Profile of Accepted Harvey Mudd Students

 

SAT/ACT

 

While standardized test scores are usually required for applicants, HMC is test-optional for three years, beginning with students entering in Fall 2021. Of the students who enrolled in Fall 2020,  the top 25% of students scored above a 1540 on the SAT, with 96% scoring above 1400. The top 25% of those who submitted ACT scores scored above a 36, with 100% of students scoring above 30

 

Class Rank & GPA

 

Harvey Mudd doesn’t offer information on its freshman class’ high school class rank or GPA, but given the high standardized test scores, you should aim to graduate in the top 10% of your class, and with all A’s. 

 

What is HMC Looking for?

 

How Harvey Mudd Evaluates Applications

 

According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Harvey Mudd considers the following factors “very important” in a student’s application:

 

  • Course rigor
  • Academic GPA
  • Application essay
  • Recommendations

 

These factors are “important”:

 

  • Extracurricular activities
  • Character/personal qualities

 

These are “considered”:

 

  • Class rank
  • Standardized test scores
  • Interview
  • Talent/ability
  • First generation
  • Alumni/ae relation
  • Geographical residence
  • State residency
  • Racial/ethnic status
  • Volunteer work
  • Work experience

 

And these are “not considered”:

 

  • Religious affiliation/commitment
  • Level of applicant’s interest 

 

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Harvey Mudd 

 

1. Aim for all A’s while taking the most challenging classes available

 

While Harvey Mudd doesn’t have a “cut-off” GPA, accepted applicants across the board have strong academics. Since almost 100% of enrolled first-years last year graduated in the top quarter of their class, a competitive candidate for Harvey Mudd will need to have A’s in nearly every class. Additionally, Bowdoin wants to see that students challenge themselves, so you should try and take advanced honors, AP, or IB classes.

 

If your GPA is lower, and you’re still a freshman or sophomore in your high school, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.

 

2. Write engaging essays and supplement responses

 

In addition to the Common Application or Coalition Application essays, HMC will require you to write two additional short answer essays as part of the Harvey Mudd Supplement. 

 

Use these essays and response questions to show your strengths, character, your authentic voice, and what you may bring to the Harvey Mudd campus, as well as your passion for STEM. 

 

For a detailed guide on how to approach the Harvey Mudd essays, take a look at our article How to Write the Harvey Mudd College Essays 2021–2022.

 

3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)

 

Harvey Mudd is a challenging and invigorating academic environment, and a large part of a student’s time there is participating in real-world research and learning the social implications of science. While stellar grades are still the most important for your application, the admissions committee also wants to see your out-of-classroom passions and your skills that are less able to be assessed on paper: your extracurriculars. 

 

In general, any activity that you do regularly outside the classroom counts as an extracurricular, as long as you can demonstrate that the activity has contributed to your growth as an individual. However, not all extracurriculars are created equal. Extracurricular activities can generally be divided into four “tiers.” To increase your chances at HMC, you should have one to two “Tier 1” or “Tier 2” extracurriculars. 

 

  • Tier 1 activities demonstrate exceptional talent, achievement, leadership, or merit. Activities and roles on the national level or which garner field-wide recognition count as Tier 1 activities. This may include winning a national award, qualifying for international competition and therefore gaining prestigious recognition, or starting a nonprofit that gains national traction. Having a Tier 1 activity marks you as a distinguished youth in the field of your activity, so having Tier 1 activities is rare. 

 

  • Tier 2 activities are more common than Tier 1, but still show high levels of achievement and potential. Holding school-wide leadership positions like student government president, winning regional competitions or awards, and local recognition as a student athlete or musician are all considered Tier 2. 

 

  • Tier 3 activities demonstrate sustained participation rather than exceptional achievement, and are frequently seen in applications, both across the board as well as in any given individual student’s application, as some students may have more than one Tier 3 activity. These activities can include holding minor positions in school clubs or being on a Varsity team.

 

  • Tier 4 activities are the most common and have the lowest entry bar; they demonstrate interest without particular dedication. However, they are still important to include, especially if you have higher tier activities, because they can help show the diversity of your interests. Tier 4 activities can include regular volunteering, general membership in clubs or organizations, or taking any kind of music or art lesson over several years. 

 

4. Fulfill Harvey Mudd’s required courses for enrollment 

 

Harvey Mudd requires its students to enroll with a few specific courses already under their belt in order for them to be prepared for its rigorous STEM curriculum. Applicants should have: 

 

  • One year of high school chemistry
  • One year of high school physics
  • One year of high school calculus 

 

Applicants who haven’t completed these courses by high school graduation may be offered conditional admission. 

 

5. Ask the right teachers for recommendation letters

 

Harvey Mudd requires three letters of recommendation: one from a counselor, one from a math or science teacher, and a third recommendation from a humanities, social sciences, or arts teacher. HMC is a small college with a high student–faculty ratio (8:1) where students collaborate closely with each other and with professors. 

 

Your letters of recommendation will show admissions officers what kind of student and peer you are. Letters of recommendation should come from instructors who know you the best and who can speak positively of your character and abilities. Take some time to think about which teacher will write you the most promising recommendation letter, and take a look at tips from CollegeVine to help guide you through the process. 

 

How to Apply to Harvey Mudd College

 

Planning on applying to Harvey Mudd? Here are some dates to keep in mind.

 

Application Timeline

Admissions Application Due

Financial Aid Application Due

Notification Date

Early Decision 1

November 15

November 15

December 15

Early Decision 2

January 5

January 5

February 15

Regular Decision

January 5

February 1

April 1

 

Application Requirements

 

Harvey Mudd accepts the Coalition Application and the Common Application. To apply, you will need:

 

  • All parts of your Common or Coalition application, including the personal essay
  • $75 application fee or fee waiver
  • Supplemental essay (500 words) and short answer response (100 words)
  • Secondary school report (information about school’s offerings and environment)
  • Official secondary school transcript
  • Counselor recommendation
  • Bowdoin Supplement
  • Two letters of recommendation: one from a math or science teacher, one from a humanities, social science, or arts teacher 

 

Optional materials include:

 

 

Learn more about Harvey Mudd

 

Take a look at our other resources on HMC to help you with your application process:

 

What Does It Cost to Attend Harvey Mudd College?

How to Write the Harvey Mudd College Essays 2021–2022

What Are the Claremont Colleges?

Harvey Mudd Essay Example: Breakdown + Analysis


Short Bio
Kimberly graduated from Smith College with a degree in English Literature. This year, she has been based in Beijing, China, where she works in the education field and rescues dogs in her free time. She will be starting her masters at Columbia University in the fall.