Harvard is one of the hardest schools to gain admittance to in the country. The Harvard acceptance rate is only 5%. So it is important to get both a high SAT and an excellent GPA to get into Harvard.
(755 math, 750 reading, 755 writing)
Harvard Acceptance Rate by SAT
There is clearly a relationship between SAT score and Harvard acceptance rate. For math, reading and writing, applicants that scored 770 or higher had a significantly higher admission rate to Harvard than those that scored 680 or lower. It is a little strange that there is a higher than expected acceptance rate for applicants with 690 to 720, but this graph does not take into account other factors like GPA.
Notice that there is a bump in acceptance rate only for reading at 750. I ran a regression and found that the reading SAT is far more predictive of acceptance to Harvard than the other two SAT components. It will be interesting to see if this holds true once we have data from the new SAT format.
Once we combine all the data, we find something very interesting. Acceptance rate is extremely low for applicants that scored a 2,050 or lower on the SAT. Acceptance rate is relatively flat between 2060 and 2350, around 10%. Then at 2360, acceptance rate skyrockets to 26%. This is because there are very few triple threats. For Harvard, 57% of applicants got a 770 on at least one of their SAT sections. However, only 15% got a 770 or higher on all three of their sections. As a result, if you are strong across the board then your chances of admission to Harvard is much higher.
Harvard Acceptance Rate by GPA
Maintaining a high GPA increases an applicant’s probability of getting into Harvard. Surprisingly, chance of admission does not increase unless the applicant has GPA over 3.9. That is probably because 56% of applicants’ have GPA above 3.9.
Other Factors Affecting Harvard Acceptance Rate
It is unlikely to shock anyone that applying early significantly boosts Harvard acceptance rate. The higher acceptance rate is partially explained by a higher average SAT then regular applicants, but only by a little.
Having legacy at Harvard significantly raises your chance of admission. Children of Harvard graduates are admitted at more that three times the rate of non-legacy applicants. Although higher SATs may explain part of the difference, even after adjusting for other factors legacy applicants are 2.5 time as likely to be admitted.
Athletes actually have the biggest advantage. They have an acceptance rate almost 3 times higher than the average applicant despite having SAT scores that are almost 100 points lower on average.
*The acceptance rate for the pool of applicants in this analysis is slightly higher, at 8%. The sample is likely made up of applicants with a higher average SAT and GPA than the rest of the pool of applicants.