When it comes to the schools that top high school students within the United States and all over the world want to attend, there is little doubt that Harvard University is amongst the most desirable schools in the world. Harvard continues to be the gold standard amongst the Ivy League schools, and really every school in the world! If you are a student interested in attending Harvard, you are likely curious about what GPA and SAT scores do you need to get into Harvard?
Luckily, here at AdmissionSight, we make it our number one priority to give all high schoolers the best chance possible at getting into the schools of their dreams. If you are curious about how to get into Harvard, then you have come to the right place.
Let’s break down all of the basic facts and expectations related to getting into Harvard, as well as go into some useful tips about how to improve your chances of getting into Harvard together.
Let’s get started!
Harvard’s GPA requirements
It is no secret that Harvard is among the most selective and competitive schools in the entire world. Based on official metrics, Harvard is the second hardest school to get into in 2021, behind only the California Institute of Technology.
The Harvard University acceptance rate this year is at a measly five percent. This incredibly high selectiveness is without a doubt one of the reasons why Harvard is able to maintain its incredibly lofty reputation. It maintains its reputation as an incredibly elite club where you have to be one of the brightest and most accomplished high school students not just at your school or in your city, but possibly in your entire state or country just to get considered!
You may be asking yourself, “If it is so to get into Harvard, why even try?” Well, you know the reason. A degree from Harvard can open some of the most exclusive doors across countless industries. Beyond that, just because it is hard does not mean that it is impossible.
There are certain things that you can do to strengthen your applicant profile. For example, you should keep in mind that the average GPA of high school students that get into Harvard is 4.18. The fact that it is beyond that of a perfect A, 4.0 GPA means that students are not just getting straight A’s, but also getting A’s in honors, AP, and IB level courses.
What this signifies to college admissions officers at Harvard is that a student is ready to learn and succeed at the college level.
While it is every high schooler’s job to try to get the best grades possible during their years in high school, it is important to mention that just like a really high GPA is no guarantee of acceptance into Harvard, a lower GPA is also not necessarily a death sentence of your Harvard dreams.
What is the lowest GPA cut-off for Harvard?
When we are talking about the Harvard average GPA of 4.18 for high school students to get accepted to Harvard, it may leave some high schoolers feeling absolutely hopeless in terms of their dreams of walking the hallowed halls of the school in Cambridge, Mass.
However, a lower GPA in high school does not necessarily mean that a high school student’s dreams of getting into Harvard are completely dashed.
As important as GPA is to a student’s chances of getting into Harvard – or any school for that matter. Harvard has never specified that there is an actual minimum GPA that a high school student is going to have to achieve in order to apply.
Harvard confirms this fact, stating that, “There is no minimum GPA to apply, although our students usually have strong undergraduate records.”
With all that being said, it is thought that the lowest GPA to get into Harvard is around a 3.0 GPA. Of course, there are likely some pretty unique circumstances where students with lower GPAs may have gotten into the school. However, that information is private and likely will never see the light of day.
For that reason, any typical student in the United States should make it a high priority to get as good of a high school GPA as possible to improve the chances of acceptance at Harvard.
What are the SAT requirements to get into Harvard?
If you are a high schooler right now, chances are good that you are well aware of the major changes in sentiment in regards to the common standardized tests that high school students have been taking for years, such as the ACT and SAT.
In fact, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard University – and many other of the top universities and colleges across the country – made the submission of any standardized test scores completely optional. This began in the 2019-20 school year and has now been extended to at least the 2020-21 school year.
“Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard College is extending our standardized testing policy through the 2021-2022 application cycle,” the announcement read. “We will allow students to apply for admission without requiring ACT or SAT test results.”
They also made it clear that students who do not choose to include an SAT or ACT score with their application will not be disadvantaged compared to students who do choose to submit.
With that being said, there are surely many thousands of students who will elect to submit test scores anyways. That is especially true if those test scores are up to the high standards that Harvard University has established over the years.
While Harvard has no official cutoff score when it comes to the SAT, there is of course something of a “hidden” test score requirement in the form of the average score of students that are ultimately accepted into Harvard.
That average SAT score for Harvard applicants that get an acceptance letter is 1520 out of the perfect score of 1600. This is a deeply competitive score and indicates just house excellent a student’s test scores have to be if they are truly committed to getting into Harvard.
When it comes to percentile, the 25th percentile score of students who get into Harvard is 1460 and the 75th percentile score is 1580. In other words, if a student’s score is at or below 1460, they are below the school’s average. If a student’s score is 1580 or above, they are above the school’s average.
How to improve your chances of getting into Harvard?
Now that you have some of the basic facts about what kinds of GPA and SAT scores you will have to aim for if you are truly committed to getting into Harvard University, you may also be curious about some additional tips and information that you can use to your advantage in order to increase your chances.
No matter if you are right at the average GPA and SAT scores, a little bit above the average, or a little bit below, these tips should be taken very seriously. After all, there is much more that goes into any school’s decision to send a student a letter of acceptance than simply the grades that they earned in high school and the scores that they recorded on the SAT or ACT.
So, let’s get started on some of the most important tips that you should keep in mind as you prepare to send in your application to Harvard.
Tip 1. Apply Early
One of the best things that any student who is sure that they want to attend one specific school over all others is to find out whether or not that school as an Early Action program. Harvard’s Restrictive Early Action program allows those students who are most committed to attending Harvard to apply early.
Those who are interested in applying early should know that they need to have their entire application filled out and submitted by November 1st.
While applying early does make it so that students need to work quicker on their applications and make some hard decisions very early on in the school years, it does offer student’s slightly better chances of getting into the school of their dreams.
Beyond that, applying with Early Action makes it clear to the school that you are committed to attending that university. This desire shows a certain level of maturity that without a doubt looks good for students.
Tip 2. Craft fantastic personal essays
If there is perhaps one part of the college application process in which a student can help themselves overcome a less-than perfect GPA or less-than ideal standardized testing scores is the personal essay portion.
In fact, there are some that believe that the personal essay portion of a college application is the singularly most important aspect of the entire process. That fact is seemingly becoming even more important as top schools and universities seem to continue to move further and further away from the standardized tests that have dominated the college application landscape for many years.
When applying to schools, students are required to write a series of fairly short essays. An important thing for students to keep in mind is that these essays lays a really important opportunity, and one that they will absolutely want to take advantage of if they are committed to getting into Harvard.
Essentially, these essays give students the opportunity to let the school know about themselves. If done correctly, this can help a student really separate themselves from the pack and stand out in some important ways.
That is especially true when a student is given the ability to craft their personal essays with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable college admissions officer. Working with someone at AdmissionSight will offer you invaluable insight that will allow you to take the essay from something that you simply have to endure and turn it into something that could truthfully be the deciding factor in regards to your acceptance at a top school like Harvard University.
Tip. 3 Make sure to get the most out of your letters of recommendation
When a student wants to apply to Harvard University, they are expected and required to send in two letters of recommendation. One of those letters comes from their counselor in high school while the other comes from a teacher.
While high school students ultimately cannot control what will be put in the letter, they do have some say in terms of how great they think the letter will be. The biggest reason why this is true is that students can make it a priority to form meaningful relationships with the counselors at their score as well as the teachers.
Students should try to have a positive relationship with the majority of the counselors at their school. This is especially important at schools where the counselor who will write a student’s letter is not chosen but assigned.
Beyond that, when it comes to the teacher’s letter of recommendation, the student has full rein over what teacher writes their letter of recommendation. For that reason, it is always recommended that the student goes with not only the teacher that they have had most classes with, or have performed best in those classes but also the teacher with who they have formed a meaningful relationship with over the years.
When it comes to these letters of recommendations, it is crucial that the student is able to depend on the teacher and counselor writing them to be able to highlight their strengths within the school community on top of just their academic achievements.
Beyond that, students should be sure to ask the teacher who they want to write their letter of recommendation well in advance of the due date of the application so that the teacher has enough time to write a wonderful and truly impactful letter.
Tip 4. Prepare effectively for the alumni interview
The final tip to help high school students get into Harvard University is to prepare for the alumni interview. Each and every year, Harvard calls on many of its alumni to help further vet the thousands of applicants by way of alumni interviews. These interviews are conducted between an applicant and Harvard alumnus to help give the school a better understanding of who the student is and how qualified they are to attend Harvard.
Though these interviews used to be in person, there are – of course – now being conducted through videoconference in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the way in which the interviews are conducted have changed, what matters most about these interviews remain entirely the same.
Preparing for these interviews, the questions that you will be asked, and the answers that you want to reply with is a great way to make sure that you feel great about the interview after the fact. Do not depend on yourself to be able to come up with the perfect answers to each question right on the spot. No matter how intelligent you are, and how charismatic you are, you should make sure that you are prepared.
A good place to start is to simply find some typical questions online and start crafting some rough answers so that you are not caught off guard on the day of the interview. Beyond that, it is also wise for you to come up with some questions that you yourself would like to ask during the interview if given the opportunity. Having questions to ask shows the interviewer, and by extension Harvard, that you are both seriously interested in attending the school and that you are someone who thinks deeply about topics that you are grappling with. Both will only help you and your chances of getting into Harvard.
Will you get into Harvard University?
Without a doubt, there is no way for a high school student to fully guarantee that they will be accepted into any school, let alone a school as prestigious and competitive as Harvard University. However, when armed with the necessary knowledge and experience, students can absolutely improve their chances of getting into any school, no matter how difficult a specific school is to get into.
That is where AdmissionSight can come in and help top students trying to get into prestigious programs. AdmissionSight and its trained college admission consultants have an incredibly high success rate when it comes to high schoolers getting into the school of their dreams. In fact, that success rate is approximately 75 percent!
Getting into Harvard is difficult for any high schooler, no matter how accomplished they are. Hopefully, this quick breakdown of what typically helps a student achieve that goal has left you feeling better about where your chances stand as well as what you have to do in order to make your dream of attending Harvard a reality.
Whether it’s improving your GPA, getting great test scores, or simply worrying about making your application as strong as it can be, there is always something that can be done about getting into the school of your dreams!
AdmissionSight(Video) how to get into top colleges with bad grades or low gpa or low SAT I my true story + mistakes
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Most students admitted to Harvard have an unweighted GPA of 4.18 or above, so you'll need to have at least a 4.2 to be seriously evaluated. To meet the Harvard requirements, you'll have to score primarily A's on your high school courses.What GPA and SAT do you need for Harvard? ›
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.What SAT score is good enough for Harvard? ›
To be safe, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1580 SAT and a 4.18 GPA or higher to be above average. This is only part of the challenge - after this, you'll need to impress them beyond your academic scores, with your accomplishments and extracurriculars.Is a 4.2 GPA good enough for Harvard? ›
Last year, the reported average GPA of an admitted high school student at Harvard was a 4.04 out of 4.0, what we call a “weighted” GPA. However, unweighted GPAs are not very useful, because high schools weight GPAs differently. In truth, you need close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Harvard.Is a 1500 SAT good enough for Harvard? ›
Achieving a 1500 SAT score would put you in the middle 50% range of admitted students' scores. A 1500 SAT score is good for Harvard, but a score closer to 1580 (the 75th percentile) will make you a more competitive applicant.How do you get a 5.0 GPA? ›
Students in an AP class with weighted grading receive a five-point weighted average for each of the four-letter grades: As, Bs, Cs, and Ds. As a result, a student who only takes AP classes and receives A's will have a 5.0 GPA.Is a 4.7 GPA good for Harvard? ›
You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants, but scoring high on the SAT or ACT is not required. Meeting Harvard's requirements (such as having a 4.7 GPA) is important, but don't forget about things like extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation.What are my chances of getting into Harvard? ›
Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest university in the U.S. as well as one of the most prestigious. But with an acceptance rate under 4%, precious few applicants get to pull up into the Yard on move-in day.Who does Harvard accept? ›
The average high school GPA of admitted students at Harvard is around 4.2. 73% of students had a GPA of at least 4.0, indicating that admitted students typically mostly earned A grades in high school. If you're studying the IB, this translates to scoring mostly 7s and achieving a minimum score of at least 42.Do Ivy Leagues prefer ACT or SAT? ›
A common myth is that prestigious schools, like the Ivy League (Yale University, Princeton University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania) prefer the SAT. This is not true, though. Schools have no preference in regards to ACT vs.
Normally, you would expect the highest score to be the 'perfect' 4.0 score, however, there are several things that a student can do to receive an even higher score. For example, one student actually managed to get a 10.03 GPA score. He did this by taking 17 advanced classes at his school, which awarded him many points.What is the lowest GPA to get into the Ivy League? ›
None of the Ivy League schools have a minimum GPA requirement for applications, which means anyone can apply regardless of their GPA.What is the lowest GPA for Ivy League? ›
For most of the Ivy League schools, they expect as close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA as possible. However, the actual unweighted GPAs of students admitted could vary, with many around the 3.5-4.0 range. GPA alone will not make or break a student's application — but it can play a pretty influential role.How rare is a 1600 SAT? ›
A 1600 is only achieved by around 300 test takers per year and makes you eligible and highly competitive for admission at every college.What GPA is required for Yale? ›
Yale University does not have a strict minimum GPA requirement for undergraduate admissions. However, admitted students typically have very high GPAs, ranging from 3.8 to 4.0, with an average GPA of 3.9.
While many high achievers strive to reach a 1600, in reality any score above a 1500 typically falls within the 99th or 98th percentile. This means that if you've scored a 1500 on the SAT, it may not be in your best interest to retake the test when you could work on other parts of your application.What is a 7.0 GPA? ›
|Original Scale||Multiplier||EX. GPA on 4.0 Scale|
Not All GPAs are Created Equal
There is wide variability in the scale used to calculate GPA. GPAs can be based on a 4.0, 5.0 or 6.0 scale. Also, there are different weights applied to grades used in calculating a GPA. Some schools give plus/minus grades and some do not.
To earn a perfect GPA on the weighted scale, a student must take all Advanced Placement or Dual Enrolled courses and earn an A+ in every class.Should I submit a 33 to Harvard? ›
ACT Requirements for Harvard
ACT scores range from 33 to 35, with 35 representing the 75th percentile. Even though Harvard probably states that there is no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 33 or lower, you will likely struggle to get in unless you have other extremely strong application materials.
After being admitted with a 3.0 or higher grade-point average (GPA), you must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to be considered in good academic standing. If your GPA falls below 2.0, you are in poor academic standing.Can I get into Harvard with a 32 ACT? ›
The average ACT score for students who get accepted into Harvard is between 32 and 35. This is well above the national average of 21.How many AP classes should I take for Harvard? ›
Be cautious of overloading your schedule: Harvard would rather see a high GPA with 4 AP courses each year than a low GPA and a daunting 8 AP courses. Consider your AP, honors, and regular options carefully each semester based upon your own self-knowledge, schedule flexibility, and course offerings.Can I realistically get into Harvard? ›
Most schools use a weighted 4.0 GPA scale, and the average for accepted Harvard students is 4.18! That means you have to work extra hard to get straight A's, on top of taking difficult classes to show you can handle the workload. They're looking for students who are at the top of their graduating class.What is the hardest school to get into? ›
Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, unsurprisingly, are America's toughest colleges to get into in 2023, according to Niche's most recent rankings.How does Harvard pick students? ›
Our admissions process values academic excellence, but never reduces applicants to any one factor, such as grades or test scores. Decisions to admit an applicant are made by the full, diverse, 40-person admissions committee through which each member has one vote.Does Harvard accept B? ›
Does Harvard Accept B Students? Yes, just like I mentioned above, it's completely possible to get admitted into Harvard University with B grades. Admissions are not reserved only for straight-A students.What kinds of students does Harvard want? ›
In our admissions process, we give careful, individual attention to each applicant. We seek to identify students who will be the best educators of one another and their professors—individuals who will inspire those around them during their College years and beyond.Will one C ruin my chances of Ivy League? ›
Just one bad grade in an advanced level course is not going to ruin your chances at an Ivy League. However, consistently underperforming in advanced classes in your area-of-interest classes will penalize you in the applications process.What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into? ›
Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.
There's no absolute ACT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 33 to have a chance at being considered.Can you have a 7.0 GPA? ›
Your grade point average (GPA) is the average result of all your grades and is calculated on a 7-point grading scale. 7 being the highest (HD), and 0 is the lowest (fail). The GPA calculator can help you determine if you are eligible for scholarships, programs such as Honours or admission to other universities.Is a 5.0 GPA rare? ›
Although a GPA above 5.0 is uncommon, schools occasionally design their point systems so that students enrolled in difficult courses might accrue extra points.Has anyone ever gotten a 10.0 GPA? ›
One student even managed to land a stunning 10.03 GPA by taking 17 advanced classes at a school that awarded bonus points. If the different GPA scales seem a little confusing, check out our guide on how to calculate GPA for a straightforward explanation of weighted and unweighted GPAs.What is the lowest GPA at Yale? ›
Visiting campus or attending an information session can be an excellent way to learn more about Yale, but it will not affect your chances of admission. What is the minimum GPA required for admission? We do not set a minimum GPA, nor do we attempt to re-weight GPA's to any standard other than what a school provides.What is the lowest GPA ever recorded? ›
What is the lowest GPA ever recorded? 0.0 on a 4.0 scale is the lowest GPA record.Does Harvard look at weighted or unweighted GPA? ›
This is because all the Ivy League universities take into account a weighted GPA over an unweighted one.Has Harvard ever accepted someone with a low GPA? ›
1. What's the lowest GPA Harvard accepted? Answer- Harvard requires a 4.18 to get in. However, they may accept some with a 4.0 as well.Does Harvard kick out lowest GPA students? ›
To get to Harvard your GPA has to be at least a 4.0 and even then if you get in your lucky but they require at least a 4.18 GPA only .What is the lowest GPA accepted to MIT? ›
You should also have a 4.17 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 MIT, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.
The founder of Facebook scored the perfect 1600 on the SAT and attended Harvard University. There's no surprise there on the score or prestigious university!
Elon Musk reacts to GPT-4 scoring 93% on SAT exams.How rare is a 1450 SAT? ›
A score of 1450 on the SAT is considered a very good score, placing the test-taker in the 97th percentile of all students who took the SAT. This means that out of the 2.13 million test-takers, only 61064 scored the same or higher than a score of 1450.What GPA is needed for Oxford? ›
If your graduate course at Oxford requires a 'first-class undergraduate degree with honours' in the UK system, you will usually need a bachelor's degree with an overall grade of Class 1, 'A' or 80%, or a GPA of 3.7 out of 4.0.
- Harvard University - 4.18.
- Duke University - 4.15.
- Stanford University - 4.11.
- Princeton University - 4.00.
- California Institute of Technology - 3.97.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 3.91.
- Yale University - 3.89.
- University of Pennsylvania - 3.89.
This GPA is outside of the normal 4.0 range of unweighted GPAs, meaning your school measures GPA on a weighted scale. A 4.1 is a very good GPA. It means that you've either been taking the most difficult classes and earning mostly Bs or you've been taking mid level classes and earning As.What score is top 1% on SAT? ›
|Composite Score (Out of 1600)||Percentile Rank|
So if you got an 80th percentile score, you scored better than 80% of all other test takers. Remember that your percentile is different from a test score out of 100. A test score represents the number of questions you got right, and a percentile refers to the number of test-takers you performed better than.Should I retake the SAT if I got a 1570? ›
Should I retake SAT if I got 1570? No, there's really no reason to retake the SAT if you've received 1570. As mentioned before, this is a near-perfect score that puts in you in the top 1% of scorers. No matter where you apply, this is going to help you stand out from the crowd.Can I get into Harvard with a 3.7 GPA? ›
Can I get into Harvard with a 3.7 GPA? Harvard does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, Harvard is highly competitive, so it may be challenging to get in with a 3.7 GPA. The average GPA for entering Harvard students is 3.9.
A 3.5 GPA will be highly competitive, and admission can be reasonably expected at many colleges. Still, it's not the most competitive at places like Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth, which, on average, accept students with GPAs exceeding 4.0.Is a 3.9 GPA good for Harvard? ›
The average high school GPA for admitted students at Harvard University is 4.18 on a 4.0 scale. (You can calculate your high school a GPA here.) This is a very competitive GPA, and Harvard University is clearly accepting students at the top of their high school class.Is 1400 SAT enough for Harvard? ›
Can you get into Harvard with a 1400 SAT? Harvard applicants with a combined SAT score of 1300-1400 and an average GPA of 3.5-4.0 have a better chance of being accepted to Harvard University.What is the lowest GPA let into Harvard? ›
To get to Harvard your GPA has to be at least a 4.0 and even then if you get in your lucky but they require at least a 4.18 GPA only .What is the lowest GPA possible? ›
The lowest possible grade is usually equal to a 0.0 on any scale and most times correlates to an "F" or the failing grade for the course. The scale coverts linearly from the 0.0 to 4.0 with your grade whether you are on a number or letter grading system for the class.Can you get a 6.0 GPA? ›
Not All GPAs are Created Equal
There is wide variability in the scale used to calculate GPA. GPAs can be based on a 4.0, 5.0 or 6.0 scale. Also, there are different weights applied to grades used in calculating a GPA. Some schools give plus/minus grades and some do not.
Any lower than 3.5, however, you'll have to either have an impressive, relevant achievement or pray for a miracle to get an offer. Therefore, it is best to aspire for the maximum 4.0 to play it safe. But as long as you have at least a 3.7 GPA, you can still get a serious chance at consideration for an offer.What is the lowest GPA accepted to Yale? ›
Visiting campus or attending an information session can be an excellent way to learn more about Yale, but it will not affect your chances of admission. What is the minimum GPA required for admission? We do not set a minimum GPA, nor do we attempt to re-weight GPA's to any standard other than what a school provides.How rare is a 1500 SAT? ›
A 1500 puts you in nearly the 95th percentile of all 1.7 million test takers.Which Ivy has the highest acceptance rate? ›
Cornell University is the Ivy League school that receives the most applications each year, and it's not surprising since they also have the highest acceptance rate. They received 67,380 applications for their class of 2025.
The average national SAT score is between 1050 and 1100 every year (on purpose), putting an 1150 at an above-average 67th percentile — that's a score to be proud of! It means that you scored higher than 67% of all other test takers.