Get Into Harvard

Harvard’s Class of 2020 SCEA accepted students represent only 14.8% of the 6,173 early applicants, marking the lowest early acceptance rate since Harvard reinstated their EA program in 2011. While the pool of students marks a 4.3% increase over last year, the acceptance rate actually fell 1.7%, with only 918 students receiving offers. These 918 early acceptance students represent a ‘significant nucleus of next year’s class’ according to William R. Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Of these 6,173 early applicants, 4,673 students were deferred to the regular admissions cycle, 464 were denied admission, 12 withdrew, and 106 submitted incomplete applications. 10.2% of those admitted early are first-generation students or the first in their families to attend college.

Though there was a 4.3% increase in applicants, Harvard’s Class of 2020 is a bit less diverse than last year. As in past years, fewer women were admitted, 47.4% down from the 49.7% in 2015. Fewer minority applicants, African American (9.4%), Hispanic (9.6%), Native American/Native Hawaiian (1.8%) were admitted as well. Asian-American applicants were the largest minority group accepted into the Class of 2020 at 24.2% and were the only demographic to see their numbers increase over last year.


This year, two particular concentrations will see a marked increase in their numbers, with the humanities garnering 16.7% of Early Action students and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences attracting 11.1% for engineering and 5.9% for computer science.

What was Harvard Admissions looking for out of this group of 6,173 early applicants?

There are 4 main categories Harvard Admissions considers when reviewing applications outside of your grades and test scores; below are just a couple from each category. You can find the full list here.

  1. Growth and Potential
  • Where will you be in one, five, or 25 years? Will you contribute something to those around you?
  • What sort of human being are you now? What sort of human being will you be in the future?
  1. Interests and Activities
  • Do you care deeply about anything—intellectual? Extracurricular? Personal?
  • What is the quality of your activities? Do you appear to have a genuine commitment or leadership role?
  1. Character and Personality
  • Are you a late bloomer?
  • How open are you to new ideas and people?
  1. Contribution to the Harvard Community
  • Will you contribute something to Harvard and to your classmates?
  • Will you benefit from your Harvard experience?


Here at Top Tier Admissions, we’re fortunate enough to work with some amazing families and even more spectacular students. Their hard work, focus, determination and dedication to following our proposed roadmap and application strategy helped these students make the cut at Harvard and become a part of the Class of 2020. Like notable alums President Barack Obama, President John F. Kennedy and Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard’s Class of 2020 is poised to inspire and uniquely influence their peers and professors alike.

Here is some advice from a couple of our students most recently accepted to Harvard:

“I couldn’t be more grateful to Top Tier Admissions for their assistance in formulating and executing my application strategy! I learned that it is important for applicants to not be deterred from applying to top schools by fear or insecurity, as the most selective are often the least predictable, and to know that very well-crafted essays, which always take a seemingly unreasonable amount of time and revision to finish, can make a meaningful difference in the quality of an application.”

– J.A., Application Boot Camp 2015 (Harvard, Class of 2020)

“Don’t be deterred from reaching for your top schools. I was told by every counselor I met that it was ‘foolishness’ to apply to Harvard, and instead to Early Decision to a school that I didn’t like. By all means work your hardest, and then reach for the stars.”

– C.C., Application Boot Camp 2015 (Harvard, Class of 2020)