The Ivy Coach Daily

June 13, 2023

What GPA Do I Need to Get into Harvard University?

A panoramic of Harvard's campus on a sunny day.
Harvard rejects thousands of students annually with perfect or near-perfect grade point averages.

Harvard University’s Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, William Fitzsimmons, once asserted that Harvard rejects five classes worth of students with perfect grades and perfect scores. After all, Harvard has its pick of the litter among students with such numbers (for the Harvard Class of 2026, 72.91% of students boasted perfect GPAs), so it’s not only about having top grades and scores when seeking admission to one of the world’s most selective institutions.

That said, what kind of GPA does a student need when applying to Harvard? Let’s take a close gander at the data over the last three years.

Harvard Admissions Rate

First, just how difficult is it to get into Harvard? For applicants to Harvard’s Class of 2027, a mere 3.41% earned admission. For the Class of 2026, this figure stood at an even lower 3.19%.

What is a Good GPA for Getting into Harvard?

GPAPercentage of Harvard University Class of 2026

GPA Percentage of Harvard University Class of 2025

According to the 2020-2021 data from The Common Data set, the following is the GPA breakdown of the members of Harvard’s Class of 2025:

GPAPercentage of Harvard University Class of 2025

GPA Percentage of Harvard University Class of 2024

According to the 2019-2020 data from The Common Data set, the following is the GPA breakdown of the members of Harvard’s Class of 2024:

GPAPercentage of Harvard University Class of 2024

Further Context on GPAs of Harvard Students

So, last year, 72.91% of students who enrolled in Harvard’s Class of 2026 boasted perfect GPAs, while 75.76% of students in Harvard’s Class of 2025 and 70.55% of students in Harvard’s Class of 2024 had perfect GPAs. And for all three admissions cycles, most of the remaining students in each class boasted GPAs in the 3.75-3.99 range.

But remember, while most students admitted to Harvard choose to enroll (Harvard often boasts a yield of over 80%), imagine how many students who did not earn admission to the Ivy League institution also submitted perfect or near-perfect GPAs.

It’s why we will not offer an answer when parents rattle off their child’s GPA during free consultations with Ivy Coach and ask if they can get into Harvard. Without context — including the high school attended, the rigor of the student’s coursework, their extracurriculars, essays, letters of recommendation, and so much more — the answer would be meaningless. 

Harvard, after all, like all of America’s highly selective universities, has a holistic admissions process. If it were just about a student’s GPA, the institution would be overfilled with students –many of them dull students.

Can I Get into Harvard with a Low GPA?

While it’s certainly possible to get into Harvard with a low GPA, as the numbers bear out, it’s improbable. For the Class of 2026, a mere 2.09% of admitted students to Harvard had GPAs below 3.5. Such students often meet other institutional needs (e.g., star quarterback for the football team, development case, etc.).

How Ivy Coach Can Gauge Your Child’s Chances at Harvard

If you’re interested in discerning if your child has a shot of getting into Harvard, we recommend setting up Ivy Coach’s Strategy Session. Not only will you find out if your child has a chance of getting into Harvard, but you’ll receive a game plan of how your child can optimize their admission to the best school possible. To learn more about Ivy Coach’s Strategy Session, fill out our free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch.

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