What is Harvard University?

Disclaimer: There is no formula or secret sauce to getting into top US colleges. Crimson knows that everyone is different, and helps every student reach their own potential through bespoke service offerings.

Key Harvard Facts:

Score expectations:

GPA: 4.0 (top of class) SAT: 1540 ACT: 34

Desired traits:

  • Strong leadership displayed through extracurricular activities
  • A clear passion and desire to learn and grow
  • Community involvement
  • Uniqueness! Harvard looks for students who will contribute something different to the college.

Acceptance rate:


QS World University Ranking:


US News ranking:


Difficulty ranking:

High! Getting into Harvard is far from easy.

Admissions requirements:

  • High school academic transcript
  • An ACT or SAT score
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Application essay
  • Extracurricular activities

If you'd like one of our Academic Advisors to personally assess your candidacy for Harvard University, you can apply for a free one-on-one consultation today!

A little more about Harvard

Harvard is a leading education institution in many regards and is known the world over as one of the very best colleges. Unfortunately, it’s also known for being one of the hardest to get into.

As is the way with all US college applications, at Harvard, you must supply not just your academic grades but also write application essays, outline details of your extracurricular activities and, upon request, even sit an interview. All of these aspects of your Harvard application help build your profile as an ideal college candidate to admissions officers.

There are a number of key traits Harvard looks for on each application, the number one being:

Strong academics

This one seems mighty obvious, but Harvard is in a position to only admit the best and brightest, and the first place they look is your academics. While Harvard does not release specific cut-off scores, it’s a given that your academics must be of a very high standard to be considered and if you drop too low, your application will be on a fast track to the trash can! Generally speaking, a near faultless GPA of 4.0 is ideal and an SAT score of 1540 out of 1600 or an ACT score of 34/36 is required.

While academics are important for all Ivy Leagues, it’s the other aspects including the essays, interviews, and extracurriculars that shape your college candidacy. Though there is no cookie cutter approach to positioning yourself as a strong contender, the following seven qualities and characteristics are favoured by Harvard, so you should try to show evidence of these in your application:

  • Leadership
  • Community service involvement
  • Solution-oriented
  • Passionate
  • Self-awareness
  • Visionary
  • Integrity

Displaying all of these elements in some way on your application will ensure you appeal to Harvard admissions officers; however, in saying that, it’s important to not be heavy handed and exaggerate these traits in a way that could be misconstrued for arrogance. Always try to display your positive traits with self-awareness and humility. Seeking the help of a academic advisor who has navigated the Harvard admissions process many times before will help you immensely.

Gaining admission into an Ivy League is no mean feat; it takes hard work, drive, and plenty of passion to see it through. Crimson can help you at each step of the way to make your Ivy League application as strong as possible and help you reach your full potential.

What about career prospects?

The most popular careers for Harvard graduates are in the fields of finance, business consulting, education and computer science.

With the exception of MIT, Harvard graduates have the highest average income with students earning approximately $87,000 USD a year – more than double the amount of the regular college graduate’s average income.

Can you get into Harvard?