3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Early action advice

Hello, I am an upcoming junior (Class of 2023). Does anyone have advice on what I should have completed before applying to early action for Harvard? I have been keeping a checklist on what I should do before October 2022 for this coming school year, but I have been so stressed out about the whole college application process.

I have been working on:

practicing on SAT, ACT, and SAT subject tests

brainstorming essay topics

music portfolio (playing the violin)

competing in national competitions

research/personal projects

improving my hobbies (maybe use them for bigger purposes)

planning service projects


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago[edited]

There are 2 things missing from your future Harvard scorecard.

1.) ATHLETIC ABILITY - You will be given a score of 1 to 6 on athletic ability. If you play a varsity sport you are like an automatic 2 something. If you play a Club Sport, perhaps a 3. Now if you are not athletic at all, that's a ding. Therefore, I highly recommend that you research the Athletic Criteria and figure out what you can do.

2.) INTELLECTUAL CURIOSITY - You might be missing a scorable component called "Intellectual Curiosity" so you need to show some evidence that you are a life-long learner and have gone beyond the traditional classroom to curate your independent research or investigate topics such as attending a College Course in a math subject that is not offered at your school. If you plan on applying to Stanford, they call it "Intellectual Vitality" in Palo Alto. Same thing. You want to be at least a 2-,or 2 in that area.

Lastly, you should weigh the benefit of applying early versus having gaps in your application. Remember that even though the admit rates for SCREA are higher than RD, bunched in there are recruited athletes, legacies, development candidates, dean's list candidates, and sons/daughters of Harvard employees so it's not really 7.4% versus 2.6% for most SCREA applicants. It's like 4% versus 2.6%.

I would seriously prop up your admission file with some sports and other intellectual pursuits and consider dropping the activities that Harvard and other top schools may not care about as much. Also, pay close attention to the SCREA admit rate this December. If it falls below 7%, then you know there really isn't much benefit to applying early since they are going to defer 80% of applications anyway.

The last thing to understand is that this year an unprecedented 85% (vs 81% class of 24) of admits decided to matriculate along with the 349 deferred admissions from the Class of 2024 so I know for a fact that housing will be a complete mess since they didn't plan for this. I imagine a lot of freshmen may not get into one of the on-campus houses right away.

This implies that in the next 2 cycles, they will admit fewer people since they are certainly not building more housing units and have to get the numbers all leveled off again. So if they took 1968 this year, maybe they'll cap it at 1875 or 5% less next year.

3 years ago

Hi, thank you for asking your question! @CameronBameron has answered all of the technical details very well. I will just add that many selective schools (top 40 schools in the US) look for something called the "Success Principle". This means that given your current activities, the schools want to see that you will succeed in your field of interest. That being said, try to have an application if possible that is specialized to your area of interest if possible. If not, at least try to have a well-rounded application profile that has 1-2 tier 1 activities and many of the remaining as tier 2 activities (you can discover what these are by completing your EC profile on your account page and ranking what you have accomplished thus far).

Furthermore, applying SREA at Harvard is essentially like applying ED without the legal-binding to attend the school. You will not be allowed therefore to apply to any other private schools EA. If this is a problem for you, then consider alternatives. Here are some additional blog posts that I think you may find useful:




Hope this helps!

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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