Despite a substantial jump in Early Action applications to Harvard College this year, the number of admitted students remained at roughly the same level as the previous five years. A total of 1,150 students were admitted this year from a record pool of 7,620. Last year, 1,174 of 6,126 applicants were admitted.
“Once again, the Admissions Committee was extremely impressed with the remarkable academic, extracurricular, and personal strengths of the Early Action pool,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. “Over the past five years, the number of early admission candidates whom the committee is 100 percent certain would be admitted in April – the sole criterion for admission – has fluctuated very little despite a rising applicant pool. The committee’s 30-year policy of setting a high standard for early admission has ensured that all candidates, whether they apply early or during the Regular Action process, receive full consideration.”
The demographics of the early group are similar to last year’s Class of 2006. There are slightly more students from abroad, the Pacific region of the United States, and New England. Other areas experienced small declines or were level. Proposed areas of academic interest remained stable, as did the ethnic composition of the class. Asian Americans comprise 20 percent of the admitted students (20.2 percent last year), Latinos 7.2 percent (5.9 percent last year), African Americans 7.1 percent (7.5 percent last year), and Native Americans 0.52 percent (0.68 percent last year). Women comprise 46 percent of the admitted group compared with 47.9 percent last year.
As in the past, admitted students are invited to request an early estimate of the financial aid awards they will receive in April. “Students who would find such information helpful are invited to supply information about their individual family financial circumstances,” said Sarah C. Donahue, director of financial aid. “The Financial Aid Committee meets in January and February to respond to these requests, and notifies students and their families as soon as possible about their awards. Working with students and their families to ensure that Harvard will be affordable, particularly in today’s difficult financial times, is one of the College’s top priorities,” Donahue said.
Nearly two-thirds of Harvard undergraduates receive some form of financial assistance and almost 50 percent need grant assistance to attend. The average grant for a scholarship recipient will probably be close to $24,500 (although they can vary from $500 to $39,000) and the total package including job and loan expectations will be close to $26,100.
“Our alumni/ae interviewers once again came through in heroic fashion, enabling us to make the same kinds of thoughtful admissions decisions that have produced outstanding classes year after year,” said Marlyn McGrath Lewis, director of admissions. “They also remain our best (not-so-secret) weapon in ensuring that our recruiting remains second to none.”
On Dec. 13, notification letters were mailed and decisions communicated by e-mail to the nearly 80 percent who opted for it. In addition to the 1,150 admitted students, 6,108 were deferred, 254 were rejected, 85 were incomplete, and 23 withdrew.
Admitted students will hear from faculty, admissions staff, alumni/ae, and undergraduates over the next few months via telephone, e-mail, and regular mail. “We want to be certain they know we want them to enroll here,” said Lewis, “and they often have a wide variety of questions about undergraduate life.”
Students will be able to experience student life firsthand during the formal Visiting Program from April 26-28, or at any other time that fits their schedules. Admitted students have until May 1 to notify the College of their intention to enroll.