Our briefer addressed what Harvard is looking for in students:
– “Excellence of the academic record is obvious”. Other factors will determine which of the stellar students gets in.
– The student needs to articulate what they want to do, in college and beyond, if they know. Harvard expect that the essays will make a good case. So they require an interview to “get past the spinning”. They want students who can get along with other people, respect others’ boundaries, will have a sense of belonging and group membership, who respect diversity, and are very nice people. This will hopefully describe 3/4 of the student body.
– There is also room for a minority of students who may be gifted academically or artistically or have a singular excellence of some sort – and these students may be admitted is spite of having a peculiar personality
– Competition in the sciences is fierce – stronger than in the arts and humanities.
Harvard is diversifying like never before. They want their student body to reflect the diversity of the country’s population.
They support and even encourage a gap year. They see that students coming out of a rigorous high school experience may be tired and need a break. Students after a gap year are more mature and ready for college.
Harvard has 6694 undergrads and 4109 graduate students. Male undergrads slightly outnumber the women. With about 35,000 seeking admission, only 6% are offered admission.
Our tour of the campus did not disappoint. Freshmen all live in dorms in Harvard yard. For the subsequent years, students are randomly assigned to one of the undergrad “houses”, and with rare exceptions will live and eat there for three years. Groups of up to 8 friends may request to be assigned as a group. Some houses are more prized than others, but students have no control of where they will be assigned.
Harvard meets 100% of a student’s financial need, and is more generous than most colleges. If family income is $180,000 or less, the cost will be no more than 10% of income. If income is $65,000 or less, the cost is zero.
Total Cost of attendance, $69,900
Merit aid, none
Classes under 30 students, 82%
Classes over 100 students, 4%
Freshmen returning as sophs, 97%
Graduating in 4 years, 86%