Harvard University 2021-2022 Admissions: Acceptance Rate, Requirements, Deadlines, Application Process

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    Hitaishi Bhatia

    Study Abroad Expert | Updated on - Aug 6, 2021

    Harvard University admission is the event of the year available in 2 intakes of early application and regular decision (November 1 and January 1, respectively). Admissions for 2021 are now closed and applicants can expect final decisions by April 6. Harvard is one of the top universities in USA and thus observed an acceptance rate of 7.4% in the early-round which might drop to 4 to 5% for the final round.

    Harvard admission 2021-2022 saw a new record high of 42% with 57,000 applicants sending in their entries for the class of 2025. Extracurriculars, Letters of Recommendation, Essays and Interviews were the secondary parameters that governed the early round admissions for applicants seeking to be a part of US Education System. Test scores at Harvard have been temporarily waived in the light of COVID-19.

    Harvard University basic admission criteria include the following:

    • A GPA of 4.18 or above along with an ACT/SAT score of 2250/2400. (Note that these are approximate averages and Harvard has no minimum cut-off.)
    • An application fee of 75 USD must be submitted (waivable)Deserving candidates can study at Harvard for free by availing up to 50 to 100% scholarships in USA.
    • Harvard does not have a preference for a board (like ISC, HSC, CBSE) nor prioritizes STEM courses over humanities. 
    • Since Harvard seeks unique applications, students should ensure to devote extra time to Essays and Recommendation Letters (2 to 3).
    • Harvard University MBA is a popular choice that costs around 74,000 USD, per year. It requires a GMAT score of 620-790 along with a work experience of 4-5 years (recommended).
    • IELTS (6.5 or more) or TOEFL scores are mandatory specifications for international aspirants (Appearing for IELTS? Check IELTS preparation tips 2021.)

    Top Courses at Harvard: Admission Deadlines

    The application deadlines for top universities in USA differs for the range of courses. Harvard provides admissions in 2 rounds and observes the following deadlines:

    Type of Program Application Deadline Admission Requirements
    Master of Business Administration (MBA) January 5 (decision by March 30) LORs (3), CV, SOP; Interview
    IELTS: 7.5; TOEFL: 109; GMAT: 730/ GRE: 292
    Masters of Science (M.Sc)- Data Science December 15 LORs (3), CV, SOP
    IELTS: 7.0; TOEFL: 100; GRE: 292
    Master of Science (M.Sc)- Computational Science December 15 LORs (3), CV, SOP
    IELTS: 7.0; TOEFL: 100; GRE: 292
    M.Sc Applied Computation January 1 LORs (3), CV, SOP
    IELTS: 7.0; TOEFL: 100; GRE: 292
    Master of Management [M.Mgmt] December 1, April 15 LORs (3), CV, SOP
    IELTS: 7.0; TOEFL: 100
    M.Sc Computational Science and Engineering December 1 LORs (3), CV, SOP
    IELTS: 7.0; TOEFL: 100; GRE: 292
    Master of Law [L.L.M] February 1 LORs, Statement of Purpose
    IELTS: 7.5; TOEFL: 109; GRE: (if required)
    Master of Landscape Architecture I December 15 IELTS: 6.5; TOEFL: 90; GRE: 292
    Master of Public Policy [M.P.P] December 15 IELTS: 6.5; TOEFL: 90; GRE: 292
    Master of Public Administration [M.P.A] December 15 IELTS: 6.5; TOEFL: 900; GRE: 292
    B.Sc Mechanical Engineering December 15 English, Maths, Science (class 12th)
    IELTS: 6.5; TOEFL: 80; ACT: 32; SAT: 1460
    B.Sc Computer Science December 15 English, Maths, Science (class 12th)
    LORs, SOP, Resume
    IELTS: 6.5; TOEFL: 80; ACT: 32; SAT: 1460
    B.Sc Electrical Engineering January 11, November 1 English, Maths (55%), Science (class 12th)
    LORs, SOP, Resume
    IELTS: 6.5; TOEFL: 80; ACT: 32; SAT: 1460

    Harvard University Common Deadlines

    Apart from various course-specific deadlines, Harvard University also observes a regular decision admission deadline of January 1. Some other important Harvard University deadline for application are mentioned below:

    Type of Application Deadlines Date
    Early action deadline November 1
    Early decision deadline Mid December
    Regular admissions January 1
    Regular decision deadline Late March
    Submission of standardized test scores End of October (latest by December end)
    Confirmation deadline for admitted students May 1

    Harvard University Online Courses

    Here we bring you the trending online courses at Harvard University for applicants seeking to study in USA. Enroll in your favorite courses before the registration date gets over!

    Course Details
    Financial Accounting (Business) 8 weeks; 1600 USD; Register By: October 5
    Business Analytics (Business) 8 weeks; 1600 USD; Register By: October 12
    Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age (Business) 8 weeks; 2800 USD; Register By: November 3
    FinTech (Business) 6 weeks; 3600 USD; Register By: November 10
    Digital Marketing Strategy (Business) 5 days; 2,850 USD; Register By: December 7
    Harvard Business Analytics Program (Data Science) 10 weeks; 51,500 USD; Register By: January 14
    Recognizing Global Health Care Disparities (Health Medicine) 1 day; 75 USD; Register By: November 19
    Higher Education Teaching Certificate (Education & Training) 8 weeks; 2,400 USD; Register By: January 26

    Harvard University Free Online Courses

    Looking for free online courses at Harvard University? Here are the most trending free online courses you can take any time to hone your skills!

    Course Duration
    Data Science: Inference and Modeling (Data Science) 8 weeks
    CS50's Introduction to Game Development (Programming) 12 weeks
    CS50's Web Programming with Python and JavaScript (Programming) 12 weeks
    CS50's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python 7 weeks
    Causal Diagrams: Draw Your Assumptions Before Your Conclusions (Data Science) 9 weeks
    Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles (Business) 4 weeks
    PredictionX: Lost Without Longitude (Humanities) 1 week Long
    Nonprofit Financial Stewardship Webinar: Introduction to Accounting and Financial Statements (Business) 1 Day
    CS50: Introduction to Computer Science (Computer Science) 11 weeks
    PredictionX: John Snow and the Cholera Epidemic of 1854 (Health & Medicine) 1 week
    CS50 for Lawyers (Computer Science) 10 weeks
    MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe (Health & Medicine) 8 weeks
    Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the Birth of Opera (Art & Design) 3 weeks
    Beethoven's 9th Symphony and the 19th Century Orchestra (Art & Design) 3 weeks
    Fat Chance: Probability from the Ground Up (Mathematics) 7 weeks
    Strengthening Community Health Worker Programs (Health & Medicine) 6 weeks
    Introduction to Digital Humanities 7 weeks
    Bioethics: The Law, Medicine, and Ethics of Reproductive Technologies and Genetics (Humanities) 10 weeks
    Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking (Humanities) 8 weeks

    Harvard University Acceptance Rate & Admission Statistics

    Applications Figures
    Total Applications Received 39041
    Total Applications Accepted 2037
    Overall Acceptance Rate 5.2%
    Regular Decision Application Received 32,868
    Regular Decision Applications Accepted 1,119
    Regular Decision 3.4%
    Early Decision Applications Received 6,173
    Early Decision Applications Accepted 918
    Early Decision Acceptance Rate 14.9%

    How to get into Harvard University

    Depending upon your level of study, you need to consider the exams required to study in USA. Mentioned below is the list of tests and their corresponding scores to get into Harvard University :

    Test Score
    SAT ERW 720 (25th Percentile); 780 (75th Percentile)
    SAT Math 740 (25th Percentile); 800 (75th Percentile)
    ACT English 34 (25th Percentile); 36 (75th Percentile)
    ACT Math 31 (25th Percentile); 35 (75th Percentile)
    ACT Composite 33 (25th Percentile); 35 (75th Percentile)
    GPA 4.18
    Average GRE Verbal Score 155-166
    Average GRE Quant Score 155-170
    Average GMAT Score for MBA at Harvard 730

    Additionally, you will be required to demonstrate participation in extracurricular activities and personal qualities such as innovative thinking, strong character and ability to make good decisions. Also, recommendations from mentors or teachers play a key role in securing a place at Harvard.

    Harvard University MBA

    MBA in USA is a favored choice and pursuing it from Harvard can be a far-fetched dream for many. Thus, it can be really insightful to study the class profile of recently admitted students into the MBA at Harvard University. Let’s have a look!

    Harvard MBA Class Profile (2019-2020)

    Particulars Numbers
    Applications Received 9304
    Students Enrolled 730
    Intake Capacity 930
    Students Submitting GMAT 78%
    Students Submitting GRE 22%
    Average Work Experience 4.7 years
    International Student Percentage 33%
    Students from Engineering background 26%
    Students from Business & Commerce background 22%
    Students from Economics background 19%
    Students from Social Sciences background 14%
    Students from Math/Physical Science background 15%
    Students from Arts & Humanities background 4%

    Employment Background of Harvard MBA Students

    Type of Prior Job Experience Percentage
    Consulting 15%
    Consumer Products / Retail / E-Commerce 9%
    Financial Services 11%
    Health Care / Biotech 7%
    Manufacturing / Industrial / Energy 11%
    Media / Entertainment / Travel 5%
    Military 5%
    Nonprofit / Government / Education 6%
    Services 2%
    Technology 13%
    Venture Capital / Private Equity 16%

    Tests for Havard MBA

    Tests for Havard MBA Scores
    GMAT Verbal Range 27-51
    GMAT Quantitative Range 40-51
    Total GMAT Range 620-790
    GMAT Median Verbal 42
    GMAT Median Quantitative 48
    Median GMAT Total 730
    GRE Verbal Range 148-170
    GRE Quantitative Range 145-170
    Median GRE Verbal 163
    Median GRE Quantitative 163

    Harvard University Admission: International Students

    Harvard evaluates all its applicants in a similar manner irrespective of their nationality. The detailed Harvard University admission requirements to study in USA and other relevant details for international students are as mentioned below.

    Where to apply?

    Application portal: Coalition ApplicationCommon Application, and Universal College Application

    Application fee: 75 USD

    How to study at Harvard University?

    After you have selected the application portal you are opting for, apply at Harvard by attaching the below-mentioned documents.

    • Official transcripts (all educational institutes attended): English translations evaluated by WES must only be sent.
    • English language proficiency scores: Undergraduate-level applicants require test scores like TOEFL (min 80) and IELTS (min 6.5). Requirements for graduates vary as per the program and is discussed in the sections above.
    • Test scores of required standardized exams: SAT/ACT (1460/32) or GMAT/GRE (730/292) for undergrads and graduates, respectively.
    • Letter of recommendations: At least 3 written by teachers of supervisors you have worked directly under who can highlight your strengths and weaknesses appropriately for Harvard to judge. 
    • Statement of Purpose: An impressive, outstanding essay can add great merit to the candidate's profile. Make sure you do not lie or look mechanical in your statement.
    • Resume (wherever required): To highlight your professional experience and community involvement. This forms a major factor in the admission process at Harvard.

    Harvard University Undergraduate Admission

    Many undergraduate programs are offered by Harvard College, located within the University. Committed to Liberal arts and sciences, it offers more than 46 undergraduate majors across vast fields to its students.

    How to Apply – Apply through the Common Application, Universal College Application, and the Coalition Application.

    Application Fee – 75 USD

    Basic Requirements - High school transcripts, final school report, midyear school report, English language test scores, resume, statement of purpose and letters of recommendation.

    Some course-specific detailed information regarding top undergraduate programs at Harvard is as compiled below.

    Admission Requirements Tuition Fee (USD, per year) Application Deadline English language Requirements SAT/ACT Requirements
    Bachelor of Liberal Arts 14,720 December 1 TOEFL: 100; IELTS: 7 -
    Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (BSc) 47,730 December 15 TOEFL: 80; IELTS: 6.5 ACT: 32; SAT: 1460
    Bachelor of Arts- Applied Mathematics (BA) 47,730 December 15 TOEFL: 80; IELTS: 6.5 ACT: 32; SAT: 1460
    Bachelor of Science- Mechanical Engineering (BSc) 47,730 December 15 TOEFL: 80; IELTS: 6.5 ACT: 32; SAT: 1460

    Harvard University Graduate Admission

    The institute offers more than 134 graduate degree programs along with 32 professional degree programs. There are ten schools that offer graduate degrees and each of them has a separate application process, requirements, and deadlines.

    What can you study at Harvard University?

    While basic application requirements are similar for undergraduate and graduate admissions, detailed and course-specific requirements for top courses at the institute are as tabulated below.

    Admission Requirements MBA Masters of Biomedical Informatics Masters (MSc) Data Science Masters of Computer Science Masters in Education
    Tuition Fee (USD) 73,440 53,844 58,880 58,880 51,990
    Application Portal HBS application portal HMS application portal GSAS application portal GSAS application portal GSE application portal
    Application Deadline January 5 January 3 December 15 December 15 December 15
    Admission Decision by March 30 Early March Mid-February Mid-February -
    Transcripts Required Required Required Required Required
    GRE/GMAT GMAT: 730/GRE: 292 Not required GRE: 292 GRE: 292 GRE: 292
    Resume Required Required Required Required Required
    Letters of Recommendation 3 3 Required Required 3
    Interview By invite - - - -
    Statement of Purpose Required Required Required Required Required
    Additional Requirements Work Experience - Writing Sample Writing Sample, Supplemental Data Form -

    Harvard University English Language Requirements

    For Undergraduate admissions

    It is not mandatory to take an English language proficiency test at the university, however, candidates are suggested to send the scores along with the application to add more weight to the application. Scores for TOEFL and IELTS are usually 80 and 6.5, respectively.

    For Graduate admissions

    Language requirements also vary majorly from program to program, score accepted in most of the programs are as follows:-

    English Language Proficiency Test Scores
    TOEFL iBT 80 minimum
    IELTS 7.5 minimum

    Admission at Harvard University: Important Pointers

    Some points to be considered when applying for admissions at the institute are as follows:

    • While there is no minimum score requirement, a GPA of 3.8 or above along with SAT and ACT scores of 1460-1590 and 32-35 is the ideal score for Harvard.
    • Work experience is highly recommended for MBA graduates applying to the university.
    • The interview offered by the invite-only policy is a course-specific requirement and is not mandatory for international students.
    • International applicants can contact the admissions helpdesk at Harvard.

    Harvard University Interview Tips

    Harvard sends interview invites to its students depending upon their course-specific requirements. The interview is usually a 30-minute long session held in person or on skype. Some general points to be noted when appearing for the interview at the university are as follows:

    • Prepare your interview as per the interviewer: Since the interview is usually a way of getting to know the candidate’s dedication towards the subject, his/her personality, passion and professionalism, it is mandatory to note these points and answer accordingly. Talk about your research work (if any).
    • Be natural and don’t sound mechanical: If you are trying to lie or fake an image from someone you are not, that can be reflected in your answers and can act against you during the interview. Be natural, prepare well but do not over-rehearse.
    • Dress professionally and speak confidently: Do not beat around the bush and come straight to the point to ensure your vision is clearly reflected in your answers.

    What are common Harvard University interview questions?

    1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    2. What motivated you to pursue this field?
    3. Tell me more about a certain section of your personal statement?
    4. What is one mistake that you have made in the past? How did you rectify it?
    5. What is a stressful situation according to you? How do you overcome it?
    6. Tell me about a compromise you had to make? Were you happy to do it?
    7. Tell me more about yourself?
    8. What is the most negative experience of your school life?
    9. What have you read or seen or gone to a place lately?
    10. What is one thing that you would want me to convey to the admission committee in regard to your application?

    Harvard University Admissions: Document Submission

    Document submission and application process is one of the most important parts of admission. The candidate must note to take care of the following information while applying.

    • The application must be submitted before the submission of supporting materials.
    • Candidates can ask for an application fee waiver simply by writing a small mail to the university.
    • An acknowledgment is sent from the university after receiving the application.
    • Candidates must complete Harvard supplements or questions along with the application so that the admission committee can assess the application better.
    • School Transcripts or reports must be completed by the school counselor.
    • All the information provided should be accurate, any misrepresentation may lead to denial of admission.
    • Candidates can make amendments in the application through the Application Status Portal.

    Visa Application Process

    Initial steps of the international student visa process are managed by their respective school. Once they've submitted their financial documents, the HIO will proceed to issue the I-20 or DS-2019 form to the student, depending on the type of student visa. After successfully paying the SEVIS fee, the international applicant can schedule their visa appointment at the nearby US embassy/consulate.

    The following things need to be provided by international students:

    • Sufficient finances must be demonstrated in order to cover their study. A minimum amount of 46,333 USD is required as proof of funds.
    • SEVIS fee receipt.
    • Copy of the passport.
    • A university Student’s Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

    Factors influencing Admissions at Harvard University

    The university’s admission committee treats each and every application equally and assessment is done on the basis of merit only. Candidates who have attended well-resourced schools throughout their lives tend to score better. While assessing the submitted applications the “no one size fits all” rule is followed so that every candidate is assessed individually. The factors strongly considered by the university are:-

    • Growth and Potential
    • Interests and Activities
    • Character and Personality
    • Contribution to the Harvard Community

    Harvard is one of the only five US universities to offer “need-blind admission”. This means an applicant’s needs are not considered while assessing the application. Only merit-based admissions are offered. International applicants who need financial help can apply for other scholarships and financial help available in the US.


    Ques. Can I get admission at Harvard University with a GPA of 3.5?

    Ans. While there is no fixed GPA requirement for Harvard, past trends reflect that a GPA of at least 3.8 or 4.0 and above is a good enough score for the institute. However, students with 3.5 GPA can also apply for admissions if they have an overall impressive student profile.

    Ques. Is interview mandatory for international students at Harvard University?

    Ans. No, interviews do not influence the admission process at Harvard and are conducted only to get to know the candidate and their approach better. Interviews are scheduled by Harvard on an invite basis only.

    Ques. Does Harvard University have any specific admission requirements for Indian students?

    Ans. No, Harvard observes the same requirements for all international students like English proficiency scores, transcripts, resume etc. and there are no extra requirements for Indian applicants. Some course-specific requirements like portfolio, interview etc. might apply.

    Ques. Do I need to translate my documents for the Harvard admission process?

    Ans. If the documents are not in English, they need to be translated. However it is not necessary to get them translated from a professional translator only, translations by an English teacher are accepted too.

    Ques. Is there a way to track my application at Harvard University?

    Ans. A link to the application portal (from mid-September onwards) is provided after successfully submitting an application. Applicants can view their personalized application checklist and change their financial aid application status, application round and upload additional materials. 

    Ques. What kind of financial help is provided for international students at Harvard University?

    Ans. Different schools of Harvard provide financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study, irrespective of the nationality of students. Candidates seeking this aid will need to submit an IDOC packet along with a CSS profile.

    Ques. How many courses are offered by Harvard University?

    Ans. More than 3,700 courses are offered by Harvard across a number of fields such as undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and several non-degree and combined degree programs.

    Ques. What is the average cost of studying at Harvard University?

    Ans. The average cost of living in the USA while studying at Harvard is nearly 80,000 USD per year.

    Ques. What are the job prospects of an MBA graduate of Harvard Business School?

    Ans. Full-time MBA graduates of Harvard Business School have been employed in various positions, most commonly in Financial Services, Consulting, Health Care, Manufacturing, Retail and Technology. The median base salary of a Harvard MBA graduate is 165,000 USD.


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    Business (3)
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    6 Reviews Found

    10.0 /10

    To find the perfect business school in the united states for my further MBA studies, a lot of research work was done by me. So further to initiate the admission process at Harvard business school an application fee of $100 was paid by me which was non-refundable. Also through the admission process, my GPA score of 9 helped me a lot.

    10 /10 academic/food
    10 /10 faculty
    10 /10 infrastructure
    10 /10 accomodation
    10 /10 placement
    10 /10 extracurricular
    9.2 /10

    The School is a part of the Harvard University which comes in the Top 3 University in the world so no one who gets a chance to study here will never let it go. I casually filled the application form but never thought that it will be accepted. The application costs $250 through the college website.

    9 /10 academic/food
    9 /10 faculty
    8 /10 infrastructure
    9 /10 accomodation
    10 /10 placement
    10 /10 extracurricular
    7.8 /10

    I knew very well about the popularity and placement opportunities that the college provides. It was always at the top of my priority list. So I decided to apply to the college but was not sure whether I will be able to get admission or not. The application can be made through the college website for $85.

    8 /10 academic/food
    8 /10 faculty
    9 /10 infrastructure
    5 /10 accomodation
    9 /10 placement
    8 /10 extracurricular
    9.7 /10

    Harvard university has been on top of my list on where I'd pursue my MBA since I loved everything about the college. Right from the campus, to professors, to placements, academics, etc. After working for a few years, I decided to apply for an MBA here and paid an online application fee of $250.

    10 /10 academic/food
    10 /10 faculty
    10 /10 infrastructure
    9 /10 accomodation
    10 /10 placement
    9 /10 extracurricular
    9.2 /10

    Harvard law school gives a different environment to explore the world and also provides practical experience of different tasks. The process of admission was simple and fine because of these benefits I opted for Harvard over other law schools. The application fee was around $85 and the mode for payment was online through credit card.

    9 /10 academic/food
    10 /10 faculty
    9 /10 infrastructure
    8 /10 accomodation
    10 /10 placement
    9 /10 extracurricular
    10.0 /10

    I always wanted to pursue higher education in the USA. I planned to apply to all the top tier universities. I was lucky enough to get selected in Harvard University. I grabbed the opportunity to study in one of the top-ranked universities.

    Scholarship :

    No, I didn't avail any.

    10 /10 academic/food
    10 /10 faculty
    10 /10 infrastructure
    10 /10 accomodation
    10 /10 placement
    10 /10 extracurricular


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