How to Get Into Haverford: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into Haverford?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Haverford Students
- What is Haverford Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Haverford
Haverford College, a close-knit intellectual community located on a serene arboretum campus just outside of Philadelphia, is known for its rigorous and highly-esteemed academic program, and its student-governed Honor Code. It is consistently considered among the top academic institutions in the country. Haverford’s academic program focuses on intellectual exploration, individual growth, and pushing the boundaries of what we know, and prepares students for a myriad of opportunities after graduation.
Haverford is a member of the Tri-College Consortium, which includes Bryn Mawr College and Swarthmore College, and allows students to easily take classes at the other two colleges. Students additionally get the benefit of the personal experience of a small liberal arts college in addition to the wide range of resources of the Consortium.
Haverford’s unique honor system and student community is embodied by the Honor Code: unlike in most other colleges, Haverford’s Honor Code is entirely written and governed by its students. Every year, the code is re-ratified by the student body through voting. By being directly involved in the set of expectations and rules for their time on campus, students have autonomy and agency, all while creating a community of trust and respect.
Unlike some colleges where senior theses are reserved for honors students, at Haverford, every senior completes a senior thesis in which students conduct original independent research alongside faculty members, at levels usually reserved for graduate students at other institutions.
Interested in applying to Haverford? Read on for a deep dive into what it takes to get accepted.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Haverford?
For the 2020–2021 admissions cycle, Haverford received 4,530 applicants, of which 826 were accepted. This means that last year, Haverford’s acceptance rate was 18.2%, making it a highly selective school. That same year, Haverford received 427 early decision applicants, of which 197 were accepted, which yields a 46% acceptance rate for early decision. Haverford does not have early action.
While Haverford’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 Haverford. 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 Haverford Students
Of the 32% of last year’s first-year students at Haverford who submitted class rank, 94% graduated in the top 10% of their high school class, and 99% graduated in the top 25%.
While standardized test scores are usually required for applicants, Haverford 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 1510 on the SAT, with 68% scoring above 1400. The top 25% of those who submitted ACT scores scored above a 35, with 93% scoring above 30.
While Haverford doesn’t offer information on its students’ high school GPA, given that almost 95% of admitted students graduated in the top 10% of their class, you should aim for all A’s to be a competitive candidate.
What is Haverford Looking for?
Haverford seeks intellectually curious, honest, and collaborative individuals who want to inform and improve the world.
As exemplified by its Honor Code and senior thesis, Haverford wants students who will make the most of the college’s efforts to expand students’ intellectual horizons in order to foster a better world.
How Haverford Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Haverford considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
- Academic GPA
- Application essay
- Extracurricular activities
- Character/personal qualities
These factors are “important”:
- Class rank
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
These are “considered”:
- Standardized test scores
- First generation
- Alumni/ae relation
- Geographical residence
- Racial/ethnic status
- Level of applicant’s interest
And these are “not considered”:
- State residency
- Religious affiliation/commitment
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Haverford
1. Aim for all A’s while taking the most challenging classes available
While Haverford 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 10% of their class, a competitive candidate for Haverford will need to have A’s in almost every class. Additionally, Haverford 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/Coalition Application/Questbridge Application essays, Haverford will require you to respond to questions in the Haverford Supplement, which includes a response to their Honor Code. Haverford’s emphasis on a student’s written articulation can be seen through not only the writing supplements but also the school’s mandatory first-year writing seminar.
Use the essays to show your strengths, character, your authentic voice, what you’re passionate about, and what you may bring to Haverford’s campus.
For tips on how to approach the supplemental essays, take a look at our guide to the Haverford essays 2021–2022.
3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)
Haverford seeks students who are not only curious learners in the classroom but who can bring their independent thinking into the world. Haverford fosters new ways of seeing the world and boundary-pushing innovation through collaboration and hands-on learning, and the school wants to see that its prospective students have engaged with non-academic passions, whether that be through service work, debate clubs, or music competition awards.
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 Haverford, 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. Ask the right teachers for recommendation letters
Haverford requires three letters of recommendation: one from a counselor, and two from teachers of an academic core subject (English, Math, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language.) Haverford is a small college with a high faculty–student ratio (9:1), in which 76% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and where students and professors collaborate closely outside the classroom as well as inside.
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.
5. Apply Early Decision
Remember that Haverford’s early decision acceptance rate is 46%, while the regular decision acceptance rate is 18.2%. As early decision is binding, you considerably increase your chances of acceptance to Haverford when you apply as an early decision applicant—even after accounting for profile strength. If you have your heart set on Haverford, applying ED can be a great way to show your commitment. However, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind about applying early, including less time to refine your application, fewer financial aid packages options, and the obvious inability to try your hand at other colleges if you do get in.
How to Apply to Haverford
Planning on applying to Haverford? Here are some dates to keep in mind for the 2021–2022 cycle.
Admissions Application Due
Early Decision 1
Early Decision 2
Haverford accepts applications through the Common Application, Coalition Application, and QuestBridge National College Match application. There is no preferred application. To apply, you will need the following materials:
- All parts of your Common, Coalition, or QuestBridge application, including personal essay and application fee (option to request fee waiver)
- Haverford supplement and Honor Code essay
- Early Decision form (for those applying ED)
- School Report, with most recent transcript
- School Profile and Counselor report
- Required as soon as first trimester or first semester grades are available: Mid-Year School Report Form with attached Secondary School Transcript
- Two recommendations from teachers of English, Math, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language
Optional materials include:
- Arts or athletic supplemental materials
- SAT or ACT scores
Learn more about Haverford