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09/08/2019

How likely is it that I will get into Harvard?

QUESTION
How likely is it that I will get into Harvard?
I want to apply for Harvard but I don’t know if I am likely to get in or not. I have a 4.0 gpa and I ranked third in my class. I have what I think is a pretty good essay. I play the violin and the french horn. I am also in chess club. I have already taken 3 classes for college credits and I did extremely well in all of them. I have never been suspended or expelled or anything like that. I have very positive teacher reports from two of my teachers. I figured that I could probably get in but I just wasn’t sure. I wouldn’t want to apply if I have no chance of getting in.

ANSWER
What are your standardized test scores? Those are essential parts of your application. Even if they’re stellar (2250+ on the SAT, 34+ on the ACT), you shouldn’t count on getting in unless you were recruited for a sport, are a legacy (meaning you had a parent who attended the school), had your parents donate millions of dollars, or are an underrepresented minority (Black, Native American, or Hispanic). Believe it or not, those won’t guarantee your acceptance either, but they will boost your chances.

For now, your chances of acceptance are precisely the same as the rate of acceptance at Harvard – 6% from this past year (if I remember correctly), since you are a solid, but not outstanding, applicant. Keep in mind that Harvard routinely turns down many applicants who would also qualify as “outstanding.” I was best friends with a girl in 11th grade who had a 4.0, an SAT score above 2200, and was a nationally-ranked figure skater (she trained alongside Olympic medalists and qualified for the junior world championships multiple times). She wasn’t accepted.