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Harvard University: Class of 2025 Profile

11 MAY 2021

Harvard University broke many of its own records in the turbulent 2020-2021 application cycle, with the Massachusetts Ivy League college accepting a total of 1,968 students for the Class of 2025 — making for a record-low acceptance rate of just 3.4%. 

It’s safe to say that this year’s college admissions cycle will go down in history as the most competitive to date. After hundreds of US colleges made SAT and ACT scores optional to provide more leniency amid COVID-19 restrictions, many leading universities reported record-high application numbers, resulting in record-low acceptance rates. In a series of blogs over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing information about the makeup of the Classes of 2025 admitted to top US universities to shed light on the demographics of the lucky few students who got accepted.

With a shocking application increase of 43% over last year, Harvard University received approximately 57,435 applications for the Class of 2025 (compared with the 40,248 received for the Class of 2024). Despite many deferrals from the Class of 2024, the Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay commented on Harvard still accepting an entire class:

Harvard is committed to opening the doors of opportunity to all talented students, even if it means confronting the challenge of accommodating more students on campus next year.

Geographic Representation

The admitted student body represents all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and international students make up approximately 12.2% of the admitted class (up from 10.8% for the Class of 2024), with students hailing from 94 countries worldwide. 

Of the admitted domestic students, 11.9% are from the Midwest, 17% from the Western and Mountain States, 16.4% from New England, 19.8% from the Southern States, 20.4% from the Middle Atlantic States, and the remaining 14.5% from U.S. territories abroad.

In the words of William R. Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, the university was “delighted to see the diversity and strength of this year’s applicant pool, particularly in a year where no one could predict how it would change.”

Socioeconomic Distribution

Approximately 55% of incoming students will be receiving need-based grants, making Harvard’s average cost around $12,000 per year. 27% of admitted students qualified for the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, which seeks to increase access to a Harvard education for students from families whose annual income is below $80,000.

Legacy and Ethnicity

20.7% of the incoming class are first-generation college students, demonstrating a slight decrease from last year’s 22.8%. In terms of ethnic makeup, 18% percent of Harvard’s Class of 2025 self-identify as African American/Black, 27.2% as Asian American, 13.3% as Latinx, 1.2% Native American, and 0.6% Native Hawaiian. 19 military veterans received admission to the class of 2025 as a part of Harvard’s partnership with Service to School’s VetLink program, which began in 2017.

Alongside the rest of the Ivy League, Harvard extended its test-optional policy for the upcoming 2021-22 admissions cycle, which could in turn reflect similar patterns in next year’s results. Similarly, in lieu of in-person opportunities, Harvard is offering online information sessions and virtual tours for prospective students and admitted students alike to explore Harvard from the safety of their homes.

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