a year ago
Admissions Advice

How do I get accepted into Harvard?

Hello everyone, I’m currently a high school junior who’s trying to play the right cards to get in to get into Harvard. I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the U.S. six years ago. It has not been an easy transition, but I am trying to keep succeeding. However, I may have excellent extracurriculars, immense passion, and significant qualities that make me an outstanding unique choice for Harvard. I believe that my only downfall will be my academics, as I have not been able to take any honors courses and AP until this year. Since this was my first year taking more challenging courses, I have struggled a lot. Not with the honors but more with the only AP I decided to do, which is AP U.S. History, the biggest regret in my academic history so far. This led me, along with tragic personal circumstances, to not receive the honor roll for the first time, and I don’t know if this will hinder my chances of getting accepted. Also, I’ve decided to stick with honor courses as AP courses don’t suit me, which I also think may look bad in my application. Moreover, is there still a possibility for me to get accepted if I continue to get honor roll in my honor classes, perform satisfactorily in all my extracurriculars and become a more impactful individual in my school and community?

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Accepted Answer
a year ago[edited]

Honestly, you are asking the wrong question. And every year there are tens of thousands of highly intelligent high school students that rush to the conclusion that they must apply to Harvard and they would sell their souls to get accepted.

Here's the problem. Getting into Harvard is like having a committed relationship for 4 to 5 years. And it's the same thing for all T25 schools. It's not like winning a lottery where you win $400,000 and get to spend it on whatever you want. Getting into a T25 school is the opposite. If you get accepted you are given the opportunity to pay $400,000 to study 16-20 hours a day with the hope you can keep up with the work, peer pressure, and parental and family pressure and maintain your mental health and well-being.

Since all T25s know that burn-out, mental health crisis', imposter syndrome, and getting over your skis are real ticking time bombs, they use a complicated admissions rubric to make sure that they do a good job of picking students who will thrive on campus and not get sucked up into a black hole.

Havard and many top schools are not just looking for smart kids. They are looking for unique humans that will grow to be future leaders, donors, philanthropists, and great kind people. And they sometimes make the admissions process incredibly complicated with 96 different kinds of formulas (Harvard scorecard) that evaluate your academics, personal character, community service, recommendations, interviews, demographics, test scores, intellectual vitality, and in some cases graded papers.

Now if you are an ALDC or hooked applicant, the rules change a bit. Depending on who you are, how marginalized you are, your race, etc..you either get a huge bump or just a little bump. But that doesn't apply to the vast majority of applicants that Harvard gets each year. Havard only has 1650 seats for 61220 applicants and most people don't realize that close to half of those are already spoken for between ALDCs and hooked applicants (AA).

As an experiment, I want you to research the 2 schools in Cambridge MA, which are Harvard and MIT. They are both super prestigious. Watch 10-20 YouTube videos of Harvard students vs. MIT students. All the Harvard kids are thriving. They are smiling, dancing, practicing their instruments, and getting amazing grades (rampant grade inflation). They are getting amazing internships and networking like a boss. All the MIT kids are grinding. They are sleep deprived. Getting 30s, 40s, 50s on their core curriculum classes barely passing. They are complaining about the quality of their internships and feel like giving up at times.

On one hand, I think Harvard does a better job of shaping their class since they've done this job for 385 years. They know what kind of applicants will be a good fit. On the other hand, MIT just wants the smartest kids and the culture is "survival of the fittest!"

I think neither are healthy environments. At Harvard, everyone has an elevated sense of entitlement because culturally we are all brainwashed to think that the best people go to Harvard and they create the greatest impact on the world. And at MIT, you are brainwashed to believe that each and every minute of the day you have to prove yourself either by surviving a test or staying in the fight.

So I propose to you that you ask the question. How do I find the best college that is the best fit for what I bring to the table and vice versa? How do find my peeps? How do I find the best environment that allows me to grow, thrive and succeed? These are much better questions to ask.

If you have the maturity to understand that belonging to an elite class of 1650 students at Harvard is far less important than finding your best-fitting college experience, you will have a much better time prepping and preparing your college application check-lists in order to stack the odds in your favor at schools that are better for you in the first place.

I truly believe that you can get as good of an education for undergraduate studies at 50 to 100 alternative choices to Harvard. If you have plans to be the next President, win the next Nobel prize or Field medal, or become a CEO or an incredibly talented actor or musician, you will go on to graduate school and post-graduate school.

Where you go to undergraduate schools will have little bearing or impact on what where you go for graduate school and what you will ultimately become as an adult. President Obama was not Harvard material as a high school senior. He enrolled in Occidental College in Eagle Rock, CA. Then he transferred to Columbia University. After that, he applied to Harvard Law School. 99% of Americans do not know he went to Occidental College. Most people just remember he graduated from Harvard Law as the Editor of the Law Review.

Good luck!

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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