Harvard had over 20 applicants per place in the 2017/2018 application cycle. The university is looking for future leaders and the way they identify these is by examining the record of past achievement among all applicants. Therefore, you need to impress admissions officers with world-class Super-Curricular activities in order to stand out. Past successful clients of ours have done round-the-world trips for charity, published their own academic work, won awards at international Mathematics Olympiads, and represented their countries in international Debating championships as well as scoring well in the SATs. While this may sound difficult to achieve, with due time and preparation, it is entirely possible. The key here is to pick one or two areas to focus and really go for them.
2) Sit the SAT exams
Harvard requires every applicant to have completed the SAT Reasoning exam (or the ACT as an alternative). It also requires each candidate to complete SAT Subject Tests. The tests are not a walk in the park and advance preparation is recommended. If you start two years before applying, you can't get it wrong. A good online tool is Khan Academy where anyone can practice the SAT for free.
3) Create a CommonApp profile
Every application to Harvard is done via a portal known as the CommonApp. You can find it here. The portal requires you to provide detailed background information such as your name, age, and school details. You will also need to produce a number of admission essays. The questions to these essays are released on the 1st of August of the year when you submit your application. It is recommended to start drafting them in August so that you are ahead of everybody else and have more time to sort out other parts of your application.
4) Submit the Application by 1st November
Harvard has 2 application deadlines: Restrictive Early Action (1st November) and Regular Decision (1st January). While Harvard insists there is an equal chance of being accepted regardless of the application round, hard data shows that applicants have a significant advantage applying in the Early Action round. Therefore, we recommend that you apply by 1st November to ensure that your application gets the best possible chance of being picked by Harvard admissions officers.
5) Continue to provide updates
Once you have submitted your application, it is imperative that you continue to provide the Admissions Office with regular substantial updates regarding your progression as a candidate. Most candidates will not receive a decision until late March, so it is important to prove that you are a candidate who continues to push themselves well beyond the day of application submission. Examples could include news regarding your charitable work or updates on any extra academic work that you have been pursuing.
How to apply to Harvard:
1) Start very early. If you are leaving the preparation to a mere year in advance, you are doing it wrong. Most admitted candidates will spend a minimum of two years working on their overall profile and application.
2) Register and complete the SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Tests. If you are applying from a country where English is not an official language, you may also have to sit TOEFL - the English language exam. Both SAT exams are not straightforward and take time to master. A perfect score helps but won't get you in on its own.
3) Register and complete the CommonApp. This is a centralised portal through which you can apply to all of your US university choices, including Harvard. CommonApp requires you to complete a number of essays and it is best to start early. Essay questions are released each year on the 1st of August.
4) Once you have applied, be sure to continue communicating with the Admissions' Office and provide them with regular updates.
Sam, a graduate of the class of 2012, says: "Harvard gave me friends for life and memories for eternity. My only regret is that I didn't throw myself at the Harvard social life in my first year and only started socialising in my 2nd year. Harvard has some of the smartest and most interesting people on the planet and I had the privilege of my life to spend four years here".
If you want Allen & Jain to increase your chances of getting into Harvard, then fill out the form below to get in touch with us. Last year, our clients applying to the Ivy League+ universities enjoyed a success rate of 82%. Get in touch to see if we can help you.