a year ago
Harvard prospective students

Does Harvard consider you a stronger applicant if you choose to include your SAT test scores?

hello, I was wondering if providing your test scores gives you an edge in the admission process. I am currently waiting to retake the sat so I can get a better score but noticed that many universities as well as Harvard are test optional. I am just worried that if I apply test optional to save myself time will hurt me in the end. Thanks!

🎉 First post
Let’s welcome @Salmazobaa to the community! Remember to be kind, helpful, and supportive in your responses.

Earn karma by helping others:

1 karma for each ⬆️ upvote on your answer, and 20 karma if your answer is marked accepted.

1 answer

Accepted Answer
8 months ago

Harvard, like many other universities, has adopted a test-optional policy, which means that you have the choice of whether or not to submit your SAT scores as part of your application. Under a test-optional policy, not submitting test scores will not inherently hurt your application. Admissions committees will review your application holistically, considering various factors beyond standardized test scores.

Here are some points to consider:

Holistic Review: Harvard uses a holistic admissions process, which means they consider a wide range of factors when evaluating applicants. This includes your academic record, essays, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and more.

Test Scores Are Optional: Harvard has explicitly stated that not submitting test scores will not be viewed negatively. They understand that some students may face challenges in taking standardized tests, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strength of Application: The strength of your application will depend on how well you present your qualifications, achievements, and experiences in your application materials. Your essays, letters of recommendation, and the overall narrative of your application are crucial.

Consider Your Scores: If your current SAT scores are significantly lower than the rest of your application, it may be in your best interest to apply test-optional. If you can improve your scores with a retake, you can submit them later, but only if you believe they enhance your application.

Focus on Other Components: While test scores can be a part of your application, don't forget to focus on the other components. Your essays, for example, provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your personality, values, and why you're a good fit for Harvard.

In summary, applying test-optional to Harvard should not inherently hurt your application. Admissions committees are aware of the circumstances surrounding standardized testing, and they emphasize a holistic review process. Focus on presenting the strongest possible application based on your academic and extracurricular achievements, regardless of whether you choose to submit test scores.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works