Harvard University Acceptance Rate 

Harvard University is not just the dream of students in the United States but students globally. The competition for admission to Harvard, however, is very stiff as you’ll be competing with some of the best students in the world. Therefore to increase your chances of gaining admission to Harvard, you have to learn about Harvard University’s acceptance rate, GPA, and admission requirements.

According to Times Higher Education, Harvard University is the top university in the world for employability in 2019. What this means is that wherever you submit your Harvard degree for employment in the world, you will almost certainly win the employer’s preference.

This is not just because of the weight of the name ‘Harvard.’ It is because, through Harvard’s academic curriculum, they have consistently produced exceptional graduates. This reason, amongst many other reasons, is why students chase after Harvard University like mice to cheese.

So, what are these other reasons why you should join in the struggle for admission to Harvard University? You’ll find that out in this article if you read to the end. You’ll also learn about the Harvard University acceptance rate for the class of 2023 as well as the requirements for admission in 2023.

Why Study at Harvard University?

Harvard is one of the eight (8) Ivy League research universities in the USA. Ivy League universities are universities in the USA that are renowned for their history, influence, wealth, and academic reputation.

In Harvard’s case, it is the oldest university in the USA. So, can you imagine what it is like to study at the oldest university in the USA, knowing that eight (8) presidents of the USA and 188 billionaires in the world studied there too? It is unimaginable and if you’re a sucker for following the steps of great men, you’ll do anything to gain admission into Harvard University.

What makes Harvard’s academics so exceptional is that it has renowned faculty members from around the world. It also has state-of-the-art resources and the faculty delivers instructions through an individualized instruction system. That is why Harvard has a 6:1 student to faculty ratio. You get full access to the faculty members when you need them.

Now what is more interesting is that Harvard offers you unmatchable education at an affordable price. The financial aid program at Harvard makes Harvard affordable for every family throughout the world. This package does not require families with incomes of $65,000 or less to take loans or make a contribution to their child’s education.

Meanwhile, families with incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 will contribute from 0-10% of their income. Those families with incomes above $150,000 will pay proportionately more than 10% of their income, based on their individual circumstances.

This ensures that students from low-income families study equitably with students from high-income families without financial hassles. Besides, there are a good number of Harvard University scholarships you can apply to while you study at Harvard University.

Harvard University Undergraduate Acceptance Rate

You must have heard that Harvard University is a highly competitive school. If you ever wonder what this means, it is simply that Harvard University accepts only a little fraction or percentage of students that apply to the school every year.

For the class of 2022, which is the students admitted in 2018, the acceptance rate was 4.7%. The breakdown of this percentage is that of the 42,749 applications Harvard university received, it admitted only 2,024.

The current acceptance rate for Harvard University is 4.6%. This is for the class of 2023 or the students admitted for the 2023-2024 academic year. Of the 43,330 students that sent in their application to Harvard, the university accepted just 2,009.

Compared to the class of 2022, you will discover that Harvard University’s acceptance rate is declining. This means that it is getting even more difficult to get admission to Harvard University.

We will discuss the requirements you need to meet to get admission to Harvard University, but first, let’s meet the class of 2023.

Aside from the Havard Acceptance rate, learn what it takes to study at Havard. Also see: Study at Harvard University: Its Tuition fees and Admission Requirements

What Students Make Up the Class of 2023?

There is always that talk going around that a particular school is racist or accept students from a certain geographical area. Harvard has faced criticisms on its students’ ethnicity. Critics are of the opinion that Harvard takes in a very low percentage of Asian Americans who happen to top the category of high performing students in the USA. While the case is still in court, let’s see how students are represented at Harvard University.

Class of 2023 by Ethnicity

By Ethnicity, we mean the racial diversity of Harvard’s class of 2023. The following is the percentage breakdown of Havard’s class of 2023 by ethnicity.

  • African American – 14.3%
  • Asian American – 25.3%
  • Hispanic or Latino – 12.2%
  • Native American – 1.8%
  • Native Hawaiian – 0.6%

Class of 2023 by Geographic Location

By Geographic Location, we mean the regions in the USA where the students that make up Harvard’s class of 2023 come from. This section also shows the percentage that comes from other parts of the world, classified as International Students.

  • New England – 16.6%
  • Middle Atlantic – 21.8%
  • South – 19.6%
  • Midwest – 9.9%
  • Central – 2.0%
  • Mountain – 2.8%
  • Pacific – 14.3%
  • Territories – 0.3%
  • International – 12.8%

The statistic above shows that 12.8% of students in the class of 2023 are International Students. This is a good percentage for students applying from outside the USA.

So, despite the competitive nature of Harvard’s admission, if you work hard as an international student, you could fall under this 12.8% next year. Who knows, the percentage for International students may be higher by then.

Class of 2023 by Area of Study

This section talks about the fields of study at Havard University that students in the class of 2023 intend to major in.

Here they are:

  • Humanities – 15.7%
  • Social Sciences – 24.5%
  • Biological Sciences – 18.4%
  • Physical Sciences – 7.4%
  • Engineering – 12.3%
  • Computer Science – 8.3%
  • Math – 7.1%
  • Undecided – 6.4%

Social Sciences takes the highest percentage of 24.5%. This shows that students recognize Havard University most for its social science majors.

Are you interested in getting one of the best undergraduate degrees in the social science field? Harvard University may just be where you should be submitting your application.

Harvard University Undergraduate Admissions Criticisms

We know that Havard operates at the best standards and so are interested in high-performance students; but is this really so? Does Havard only take students who meet the admission requirements and merit admission? Do they select students based on color?

The statistics above for the admitted class of 2023 help answer these questions, but they don’t change what critics have discovered and have dragged Harvard to court for.

The Federal lawsuit against Harvard University alleges that Harvard’s admission policies discriminate against Asian Americans – and this population happens to be over-represented among students with high academic achievement. However, a 2022 district court decision on this case found no evidence of explicit racial bias. Nonetheless, they pointed out a small amount of implicit bias.

Critics also pointed out that Harvard University’s admission preferred white and wealthy children of Harvard alumni, employees, and donors.

A study reported in Quartz pointed out that from 2014 to 2019, 43% of white students admitted through the Dean’s Interest List were children of alumni or employees, relatives of donors, or recruited athletes.

The researchers believed that Harvard University would have rejected three-quarters of these students had it not been for their special status.

Notwithstanding these criticisms, Harvard still admits based on merit, and in the next section, you’ll learn what you need to get in place for Harvard to consider you for admission.

Here are Fully Funded Scholarships In Harvard University for you!

Harvard University Undergraduate Admission Plans

Before 2007, Harvard used to operate an Early Admission program that allowed students to apply early in the year than usual and receive their results early as well. This plan was criticized to pose a disadvantage to low-income and under-represented minority applicants.

Presently, Harvard University has the Early Action and Regular Decision program. The Early Action candidates make their application by November 1 and receive notification from the university by mid-December. On the other hand, the Regular Decision candidates are to make their application by January 1 and receive notification by Harvard by late March.

Whichever admission plan you choose, the application timeline will still allow you to compare the admission and financial aid offers of other colleges. This is because you have until May 1 to finally make your college choice.

Are you wondering if the application procedures are different for both the admission plan? No, you will have to submit the same documents for both kinds of applications at Harvard Univerity.

Harvard University Undergraduate Admission Requirements

So what do you need for your first-year application to Harvard University?

Whether you’re a prospective US student in the USA or an international student seeking admission to Harvard University, you must complete the Common Application, the Universal College Application, or the Coalition Application.

You will submit any of these along with the following documents for undergraduate admission to Harvard University:

  • Harvard College Questions for the Common Application, Coalition Application, or the Universal College Application Harvard supplement
  • $75 fee (or request a fee waiver)
  • ACT or SAT (with or without writing)
  • 2 SAT Subject Tests (recommended, except in the case of financial hardship)
  • Optional: AP or other examination results
  • School Report and high school transcript
  • Two Teacher Report
  • Midyear School Report (after your first semester grades)
  • Final School Report (for admitted students only).

At the end of this section, you’ll find a button to view the full Harvard application requirements but let’s touch on the most difficult parts of the application.

Mid-year School Report

Harvard University needs your midyear school report to allow them to review your performance in the first half of your senior year coursework. This is different from your transcript and it will be completed by your school counselor or some other school official.

If you apply for Early Action admission to Harvard, you are not required to submit the midyear report by the November 1 deadline. However, if you applied to the Early Action and are deferred to Regular Decision, you will have to submit the midyear report and transcript in February or as soon as the midyear grades are available.

For international students studying the IB or the A-level curriculum, Harvard expects your school to send predicted grades, based on your current classroom work. Your school should also send the results of any internal or mock exams you have taken up to that point. But if your school does not issue official or predicted midyear grades for your final year of school, then there’s no need to submit the midyear report form.

Finally, if you have already graduated from high school, there is no need for you to submit the midyear report. Simply ask your school to send your final school report if you haven’t already done so.

Teacher Evaluations

Harvard University requires you to get two teacher evaluations. You are expected to ask two teachers in two different academic subjects to complete the Teacher’s Evaluation forms for you. These teachers must know you well. Meanwhile, you can submit additional letters of recommendation if you so wish. But that will be after you have submitted your application. You will get a personalized link to send to your recommenders.

Final School Report and Transcripts

Your final school report and transcript are necessary for your admission process at Harvard University. If you’ve been admitted into the university and you choose to accept the admission, you will need to send a Final School Report and transcript as soon as your final grades are available. That is, no later than July 1.

A school counselor or other school official will complete and send the Final School Report and transcript through Parchment/Docufide or Scrip-Safe International if your school has access to these submission options.

If you’re an IB student, you’ll have to send your final results as soon as they are released in mid-July. Meanwhile, for A level students, Harvard expects to see your final A levels results by mid-August.

Harvard requires you to submit either ACT or SAT – with the freedom of submitting with or without the writing component. So, if you choose to submit Subject Tests, for example, mathematics, choose only one mathematics test rather than two. In the same manner, if your first language is not English, a Subject Test in your first language may not be very helpful.

Additionally, only submit scores from tests taken in the past three years. Note also that while Harvard recommends two SAT Subject Tests, you may apply for admission without them if the cost of taking the tests will be a great financial burden on you or if you prefer to Harvard to consider your application without them. 

Test Score Cutoffs

Are you wondering whether Harvard has cutoffs for their standardized tests or not? Well, Harvard has said that they do not have any score cutoffs. They also do not admit “by the numbers.” However, for the ACT, Harvard University will evaluate your highest composite score and any other score you choose to share with them. The school will also take into account your educational background when reviewing your scores.

Find full information about Harvard University undergraduate admission requirements here:

See More

What SAT, ACT and GPA Do Harvard Really Accept?

Harvard University stated explicitly on their First-Year Application Requirement page that they have no stipulated cutoff marks for test scores. However, you don’t expect to score low in ACT or SAT and get admission to Harvard University.

So what ACT, SAT, and GPA grades depict a standard Harvard student?

According to Harvard’s Common Common Data for the admitted class of 2022, here are the successful applicants’ middle 50% range of SAT and ACT Scores, as well as average GPA:

  • SAT Scores – 720-780 for reading and writing and 740-800 for math
  • ACT Composite Score – 33-35
  • High School GPA – 4.18

Prepscholar agrees with these figures and sums it up to give an average composite SAT score of 1510 on the 1600 scale. 25th percentile of students applying to Harvard score 1460 while 75th percentile of the students applying to Harvard score 1580. Scoring 1580 will be a boost to your application.

On the other hand, the average ACT score for Harvard is 34.

So, if you have an SAT score of 1510 or an ACT score of 34 and a GPA of 4.2, you have almost sealed your chances of gaining admission to Harvard. You just need to meet the other Harvard selection requirements.

MBA at Harvard is almost comparable to none but it may be pretty expensive. So, you really need this Harvard University MBA Scholarship in the USA

What are the Other Selection Requirements of Harvard University?

While Harvard University values academic excellence, being a high-performing student does not make you a “Typical Harvard Student.” In fact, there is no such thing as a typical Harvard Student.

This is because Harvard considers several other factors while selecting students for admission.

A comprehensive list of what Harvard looks for in their prospective student is:

  • Growth and Potential: Includes high academic and personal potential.
  • Interests and Activities: Includes the Intellectual, Extracurricular, and personal activities that interest you.
  • Personal Character: Includes your leadership abilities self-confidence, sense of humor, and your concern for other people.
  • Contribution to the Harvard Community: Includes what you have to give to the school, the community that houses the school, and your fellow Harvard students.

So you see, reaching high academic standards is just a part of the admission requirements of Harvard University. You must be a “whole student,” judging by the other requirements above, to pass the Harvard University admission process.

Harvard Early Decision Acceptance Rate

Moving on, based on the two admission plans (Early Action and Regular Decision) which we have discussed earlier, you should know that Havard accepts some students before others.

There is no other reason for accepting these sets of students first other than that they applied based on Early Action.

So, for the class of 2024, for which the Early Action application began November 1, 2009, Harvard rolled out notification of acceptance by December 12, 2022.

6,424 students applied to the university via the Early Action Program and out of this number, Harvard accepted 895. This gives an Early Action acceptance rate of 13.9% for Harvard University.

One interesting thing to note about the accepted students for the class of 2024 by Early Action is that 51.7% of them are women. This is a commendable growth from 51.2 of last year, and 47.2 of the last two years.

Harvard Graduate School Acceptance Rate

At this point, we would like to remind you that all we’ve been discussing so far is the acceptance rate and admission requirements for undergraduates. Harvard University has different acceptance rates and admission requirements for its graduate schools.

Presently, there are 12 graduate schools at Harvard University, including Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Law School, Havard Business School, and Havard Medical School.

The Havard Divinity School has an acceptance rate as high as 50% and the Havard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) has an acceptance rate of 2.7%. Additionally, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science accepted about 6% of the over 4,000 students that applied in the Fall of 2022.

You can also check out the full discussion on Harvard University Medical School Acceptance Rate

Harvard Ph.D. Acceptance Rate

Discussing the Harvard Ph.D. The acceptance rate is a bit tricky because it would involve getting data from all the 12 graduate schools of Havard concerning the proportion of Ph.D. students they accepted from their Ph.D. application pool.

This would prove tedious work, however, we have a sample of acceptance rate for Ph.D. programs in core subjects and fields.

They are as follows:

  • Economics (PhD) – 4-5%
  • Health Policy (PhD) – 8-10%
  • History (PhD) – 6%
  • Sociology (PhD) – 5%
  • Linguistics (PhD) – 5%
  • Philosophy (PhD) – 5%
  • English (PhD) – 2%
  • Clinical Psychology (PhD) – 2%
  • Political Science (PhD) – 9.2%
  • Statistics (PhD) – 10%
  • Physics (PhD) – 13%

Source: PrepScholar and The Grade Cafe.

Harvard Extension School Acceptance Rate

Have you ever heard of the Harvard Extension School? If you haven’t, the Harvard Extension School (HES) is part of Harvard’s 12 degree-granting schools. However, HES has a non-traditional approach to its enrollment and acceptance.

The reason is that anyone can enroll for a course at HES. The Harvard Extension School was created with a Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) idea, even though it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees to its students. So, at HES there are open enrollment programs, online programs, and on-campus programs.

The greatest advantage of the Harvard Extension School is that it offers you courses taught by world-class professors – most of whom are regular Harvard professors. Also, the fact that that you would actually sit in a Harvard physical class to receive instruction gives you some sense of attending Harvard University.

So, based on how dynamic the Harvard Extension School is, a contributor at Quora placed the acceptance rate at 100%. HES is yet to publish any formal acceptance rate for the school, however, studies have shown that less than 1% of HES students taking degree programs actually complete the programs.

Harvard Summer School Acceptance Rate

The Harvard Summer School is very much like the Harvard Extension School. It does not exist to provide you the regular Harvard programs. The school is only an opportunity for you to spark up your intellectual curiosity and expand your skills in an intensive summer course.

The Summer School offers courses for both adult and college students, providing them the opportunity of learning from Havard’s exceptional faculty and campus resources.

So, like the HES, Havard Summer School offers open enrollment courses with the flexibility of study options. This means that you can choose to study your summer program at Harvard online and offline.

Based on the nature of the program offering at Harvard Summer School, the school is not really selective towards its admission. A contributor at Quora places the Harvard Summer School Program acceptance rate at 60%.

Harvard Acceptance Rate FAQs

How many people apply to Harvad?

Every year, a lot of people apply to Havard University because of its reputation and influence. For the 2018 application, 42,749 students applied to Harvard, while for the 2019 application, 43,330 students applied to Havard.

What is the current Harvard University acceptance rate?

The current Harvard University acceptance rate is 4.6%. Out of the 43,330 applications that Havard University received, they accepted only 2009.

What is the average high school GPA you need to get into Harvard University?

The average high school GPA you need to get into Harvard University is 4.18. Although Harvard does not explicitly states this, the 4.18 GPA is the average GPA of the median 50% of admitted students at Harvard University.

Are there any ACT or SAT score requirement for Harvard?

Harvard does not state anywhere that they superscore either ACT or SAT but they explained that for the ACT score, they will evaluate your highest composite score and any other score you share with them.

What are the requirements to get into Harvard University?

The requirements to get into Harvard University include the submission of the following:
Harvard College Questions for the Common Application, Coalition Application, or the Universal College Application Harvard supplement
$75 fee (or request a fee waiver)
ACT or SAT (with or without writing)
2 SAT Subject Tests (recommended, except in the case of financial hardship)
Optional: AP or other examination results
School Report and high school transcript
Two Teacher Report
Midyear School Report (after your first semester grades)
Final School Report (for admitted students only).

What makes Harvard selective?

Havard is very selective, which is why it has an acceptance rate of 4.6. What makes it more selective is that it selects students based on growth and potential; interests and activities; personal character; and contribution to the Harvard Community.


If you plan to attend Harvard University, you need to equip yourself with Havard’s admission statistics and admission requirements. Undergraduate admission is the most popular admission at Harvard as well as many colleges and for Harvard, the process is still traditional and the selection is stiff.

Harvard has an acceptance rate of 4.6% for the class of 2023, dropping by 0.1% from 4.7% of the class of 2022. Yet, the requirements are unchanged. The middle 50% of admitted Harvard students had an SAT score of 720-780 for reading and writing and 740-800 for math. The Act score for the same middle 50% of admitted students is between 33-35, while the GPA is 4.18.

While the undergraduate acceptance rate at Harvard stands at 4.6% it varies by graduate school for graduate students. For the Harvard Extension School and the Harvard Summer School, it is almost 100% so long as you can pay the associated admission/course fees.


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