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Colleges / Harvard University

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 4-Year Private
Acceptance Rate5%
Acceptance Rate5%

Harvard Admissions

If you are thinking about applying to Harvard, the deadline for Fall 2022 admissions is January 1 and the application fee is $75.

Application fees can add up, but some schools do have free applications and students who are struggling to afford application fees may be eligible for an application fee waiver.

Students who apply for Fall should hear back from Harvard by April 1.

Harvard Admissions Stats at a Glance

Here's an overiew of some of Harvard's admissions stats.

Harvard 2021 Admissions Statistics
Mean Unweighted GPA 4.0
Admitted Students in Top 10% of Graduating Class 94%
Admissions Test Policy Not optional and are considered
Applicants Who Submit SATs 72%
Applicants Who Submit ACTs 45%
Waitlist Yes

Continue reading for more information on Harvard's admissions stats.

Considering Applying Early to Harvard?

Harvard University does not offer early decision but does offer early action.

The Early Action deadline is November 1, which is coming up fast! Harvard will release EA admissions decisions no later than December 16.

Harvard accepts about 14% of early action applicants and 5% all applicants for all deadlines. In 2021, Harvard admitted 894 of the 6,416 who applied early action.

Some students apply to college early because they believe it will help their chances. Early deadlines may increase the chance of being admitted, since applying early shows your are very interested in a school, and your application is being considered before all the regular decision applicants apply.

See a list of some selective colleges that admit significantly more applicants during early decision or early action than during regular admission.

How Hard Is It To Get Admitted to Harvard?

Getting into Harvard is extremely difficult. Harvard evaluates applicants carefully based on multiple criteria to decide who to admit, and who to deny or waitlist.

In 2021, Harvard accepted 5% of students, around 2,015 of the 40,248 students who applied.

Schools that are extremely difficult to get into, like Harvard, accept fewer than 30% of all applicants. At least 75% of admitted students have GPAs in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 1310 on the SAT or over 29 on the ACT.

Harvard has not reported data for waitlisted and admitted students.

What's Most Important to Get In to Harvard?

Colleges consider a range of factors when choosing who to admit for their next incoming class. Each college decides which factors are given the most weight in the admissions process. When creating your list of schools to apply to, you may want to consider your strengths and any possible weaknesses in your application, and choose schools that prioritize the admissions factors where you stand out.

Admissions Factors at Harvard

Admissions Factor Level
Academic GPA Considered
Alumni/ae Relations Considered
Character/Personal Qualities Considered
Geographical Residence Considered
Work Experience Considered
Extracurricular Activities Considered
Application Essay Considered
First Generation Considered
Interview Considered
Racial/Ethnic Status Considered
Recommendation(s) Considered
Rigor of Secondary School Record Considered
Talent/Ability Considered
Standardized Test Scores Considered
Volunteer Work Considered

Harvard 2021-2022 Application Requirements

To apply, all applicants to Harvard must submit the following items. Double check with Harvard's admissions department to confirm all application materials and requirements.

Area Required Recommended Required for Some Details (If Any)
Written Essay or Personal Statement
Letter(s) of Recommendation 2
Transcript of High School Record

What GPA Do I Need To Get Into Harvard?

Your high school grade point average (GPA) is a number that reflects your high school academic performance. A weighted GPA or an unweighted GPA are the two possible GPA scores considered by colleges.

An unweighted GPA is an average of your scores from each class on a four-point scale. 4.0. Unweighted GPAs range from 4.0 to under 1.0. A weighted GPA considers your average grade and the difficulty of your classes. A weighted GPA boosts your average by adding extra points for honors or Advanced Placement courses.

Students admitted to Harvard have an average unweighted GPA of 4.0

Out of all students that were admitted, 39% submitted a class rank. At Harvard 94% of students ranked in the top 10% of their graduating class in high school, 98% were in the top 25% and 99.6% were in the top 50%.

At Harvard University, student GPAs fall in the following ranges
4.0 GPA 39%
3.75 and 3.99 18.02%
3.50 and 3.74 4%
3.25 and 3.49 1.79%
3.00 and 3.24 0.32%
2.50 and 2.9 0.11%
2.00 and 2.49 0%

Harvard does consider ACT or SAT scores as part of the admissions process.

Harvard does not have a test optional admissions policy. Test optional schools allow students to choose if they want to submit ACT or SAT scores with their applications or not.

In 2021, 72% of Harvard's first-year students submitted their SAT scores with their application. 45% of admitted applicants sent ACT scores.

What's a Good SAT Score for Harvard?

On the SAT Math Section, 25% of Harvard students scored 800 or higher and 75% of students scored 720 or higher. On the SAT Critical Reading section (formerly called the Verbal section), 25% of Harvard students scored 780 or higher, and 75% scored a 720 or higher.

Want to increase your SAT Score?

Preparing for the SAT can help raise your score, but it doesn't have to take up a lot of time.

Learn how to increase your SAT score 200 points or more in just 10 minutes a day.

What's a Good ACT Score for Harvard?

To be most competitive at Harvard, you should strive to earn between 33 and 35 on the ACT.

An ACT score of 35 means you fall in the 75th percentile for Harvard's admitted students. One out of every four students scored above a 35, and three out of four students scored lower than 35 on the ACT.

A 33 on the ACT is the 25th percentile for Harvard students. Only one out of every four students scored below 33.

Want To Bring Up Your ACT Score? Access ACT practice tests and study tips and see upcoming ACT test dates.

Transferring to Harvard University

For transfer students wishing to start in the Fall, the deadline to apply is March 1. Applicants should hear back by June 15.

Transfer students can enroll in Harvard during the following terms:

• Fall Term

Harvard Admissions FAQs

Can I defer my acceptance to Harvard?

✅ Yes, admitted students can defer their admission to Harvard.

Does Harvard accept transfer credits?

Harvard ✅ accepts eligible transfer credits from accredited institutions.

Does Harvard accept Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits?

Harvard accepts International Baccalaureate credits (IB) credits and Advanced Placement (AP) credits.

Do I have to submit test scores to Harvard?

✅ Harvard is not test optional. You must submit test scores as part of the application.

What is Harvard's acceptance rate?

✅ Harvard's acceptance rate is 5%.

What is the early decision acceptance rate at Harvard?

❌ Harvard does not offer early decision.

What is the early action acceptance rate at Harvard?

✅ The early action acceptance rate at Harvard was 14% in 2021.

Want To Learn More About Harvard?

Choose one of the options below to find out more about about Harvard:


Student Life


Tuition & Aid

Visit the College Confidential forums to join the conversation about Harvard

Explore other colleges in Massachusetts or use the college admissions predictor to calculate your chances of getting into some of the top colleges and universities in the U.S.

Harvard Admissions Requirements

Admission Difficulty



How hard is it to get into Harvard? Harvard is a selective institution. The Harvard acceptance rate is 5%. This means that the institution accepts 5 out of every 100 applicants.


Harvard Application Deadline

First-Year Applications are Due

Jan 1

Transfer Applications are Due

Mar 1

The deadline for Fall first-year applications to Harvard is Jan 1.

The deadline for Fall transfer applications to Harvard is Mar 1.

Check the school website for more information about deadlines for specific programs or special admissions programs

Harvard ACT Scores


ACT Range

33 - 35

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by ACT Score

ACT Score

Estimated Chance

35 and Above


33 to 35


33 and Less


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ACT Scores Needed to Get Accepted

The median ACT score of an admitted student to Harvard is 34. Students with an ACT score of 35 and above have a good chance of getting into Harvard. Students with an ACT score that falls between 33 and 35 have an average chance of getting admitted, and students with an ACT score of 33 or below have a low chance of being offered admission.

Harvard SAT Scores


Composite SAT Range

Not available


Math SAT Range

740 - 800


Reading SAT Range

720 - 780

Harvard GPA

Avg. High School GPA (non-weighted)


GPA Needed to Get Accepted

At Harvard, the average unweighted high-school GPA for admitted students is 4.0. This is the average, which means that some applicants submit GPAs lower than this and some applicants submit GPAs above this level. If your GPA falls below the average, strong test scores or other qualifications may help you make you a more competitive applicant.

Data Source: IPEDs and Peterson's Databases © 2022 Peterson's LLC All rights reserved

Quick Facts

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Fall Freshmen
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