What SAT Score Do You Need For Harvard?

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Some colleges stand out more than others as the pinnacle of elite college admissions, and among those commonly regarded as the cream of the crop is Harvard University. Harvard, the oldest college in the US and a member of the selective Ivy League, often lands on the lists of college hopefuls who dream of scoring a coveted acceptance letter to one of the top universities in the country.

 

When it admitted the class of 2022 in spring of 2018, Harvard announced that its acceptance rate had reached an all-time low of 4.59%. This places it as the second most selective college in the country, with only Stanford having more competitive admissions. It’s no wonder, then, that we often hear from students who want to know just what sorts of stats they need to attend Harvard.

 

In this post, we’ll outline the SAT scores, GPA and more needed to optimize your chances of getting into Harvard. Keep reading to find out more.

 

What SAT Score Do You Need to Get Into Harvard?

 

It’s very important to realize that standardized test scores are just one of several factors considered when you apply to Harvard. While they are sometimes used as an initial screening tool or as a final measurement for deciding between several applicants, they are nowhere near the most important factor in admissions. In fact, the Harvard website clearly states, “We regard test results as helpful indicators of academic ability and achievement when considered thoughtfully among many other factors.”

 

Harvard receives so many well-qualified candidates that it’s possible for the admissions committee to fill most, or even all, of the incoming class with students who received perfect SAT scores. Of course, the fact that they choose to do otherwise means that their formula for acceptance is a little more complex, though it doesn’t mean that test scores are irrelevant. The average SAT score for the class of 2022 was 1512, and most students reported taking the SAT twice.

 

This doesn’t mean that many students with various SAT scores weren’t also accepted. 75% of Harvard admits score 1470 or above, while only 25% score 1570 or above. In addition, keep in mind that Harvard does superscore, so they will look at your highest score in each section, no matter when you took each exam.

 

Ultimately, if you want to increase your chances of getting into Harvard, you’ll need to do well on the SAT. If your SAT score doesn’t place you comfortably among the scores of admitted students, you’ll need to really shine in other ways if you still want to score that acceptance.

 

For more help boosting your SAT score, check out these CollegeVine posts:

 

 

If you still have questions about the SAT, or you are interested in our full-service, customized SAT tutoring, head over to CollegeVine’s SAT Tutoring Program, where the brightest and most qualified tutors in the industry guide students to an average score increase of 250 points.

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What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Harvard?

 

There’s no GPA cutoff for getting into Harvard, but you should aim to submit a GPA that is indicative of your ability to tackle challenging academic work. Harvard reminds students through its FAQ section that it seeks to “recognize that schools vary by size, academic program, and grading policies, so we do not have rigid grade requirements.” This being said, students who get into Harvard have typically been very successful in their high school coursework.

 

The class of 2022 self-reported an average GPA of 3.90 on an unweighted scale. This means achieving mostly A’s with a few A-’s mixed in, or maybe one or two B+’s over the course of your four years. Still, this is only the average GPA and isn’t an indicator of every student’s experience. Undoubtedly there are students who have received a C or even worse during their four years of high school. When this is the case, these students typically excel in other remarkable ways that offset their academic stumbling points.

 

What Classes Do You Need to Take in High School to Get Into Harvard?

 

Of all the factors it weighs during admissions, Harvard is perhaps most clear about this one. While there is no prescribed course load for Harvard hopefuls, there is a clear path to take if you want to get in to Harvard. Harvard notes that “the strongest applicants take the most rigorous secondary school curricula available to them.”

 

Further, it goes on to specify that a competitive four-year college prep program includes the following:

 

  • Four years of English, with extensive practice in writing
  • Four years of math
  • Four years of science including biology, chemistry, physics, and an advanced course in one of these subjects
  • Three years of history, including American and European history
  • Four years of one foreign language

 

Harvard recognizes that not all high schools offer the same variety of advanced or honors classes. For this reason, it offers the clear advice to pursue the most challenging course track possible at your high school. You should meet with your counselor if you aren’t sure what this consists of at your school.

 

What Extracurriculars Do You Need to Get Into Harvard?

 

As is the case with most other factors that Harvard considers, there is no magic formula for extracurricular involvement to get into Harvard. Therefore, it’s helpful to look at the stats provided by recent Harvard admits.

 

In a self-reported study before they arrived on campus, the class of 2022 reported wide extracurricular involvement during high school. The top extracurricular reported by the class of 2022 was community service, with 73% reporting to have participated in this during high school.

 

In addition, 65% of students reported participating in athletics. 37% participated in student government and another 37% participated in music/bands. To see the entire breakdown of reported extracurricular involvement, check out the Crimson’s report on class academics and extracurriculars.  

 

It’s also worth noting that the majority of students did not participate just peripherally in these activities. Only 17% reported having no leadership positions within extracurriculars, while another 17% reported leadership positions in four or more extracurriculars. More commonly, students reported holding leadership roles in one (24%), two (25%) or three (18%) extracurricular activities.

 

Applying to ultra-selective colleges like Harvard can be especially stressful because there is no simple formula for admissions success. Looking at the past statistics and knowing where you stand in comparison to other admitted students can help you to gauge your chances in a more objective way, but there is always an element of the unknown. For more help putting your best forward and optimizing your chances at acceptance, consider enlisting the help of CollegeVine’s Elite Universities Application Assistance, which provides targeted services for applicants to top colleges.

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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.