In light of recent comments circulating online and in social media, the Harvard Club of Shanghai offers the following reminder from William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard College:
Alumni Perspectives on the Application Process
Amidst US college recruiting season, eleven Harvard College alumni interviewers gather to share their personal perspectives on the application process. Through this video they hope to clarify common misconceptions in China, and encourage more students from diverse backgrounds to apply.
This video is jointly produced with the Shanghai United Media Group's affiliate International Education Journal.
An Open Letter to Applicants from China
With a spirit to provide open and fair access to information, and to address popular concerns among applicants from China to Harvard College, the Harvard Schools and Scholarships Committees of Shanghai and Beijing would like to clarify the application process.
All application materials are publicly available on the Harvard College website:
We wish every applicant the best of luck!
The Harvard Schools and Scholarships Committees of Shanghai and Beijing
Q: Are there minimum SAT score requirements?
A: Harvard does not have any minimum score requirements for applicants. The admissions committee reads every application, regardless of the student’s test scores, and considers every student based on the complete set of credentials presented in the application. Because the applicant pool is very large, most admitted students do tend to have strong test scores, but this is not the most important component of an application, and there is no minimum requirement for consideration.
Q: Does attending Harvard summer school help admission?
A: Programs that offer academic enrichment beyond the high school environment, especially those at the college level, can be helpful demonstrations of a student’s academic abilities, and can give students a taste of what college life may be like. The admissions committee, however, does not expect students to attend such programs. We understand that not every student will have the resources to attend a summer program, and we are most interested in seeing how each student has taken advantage of the opportunities that he or she has had. There is no partnership between Harvard Summer School and Harvard College Admissions, and students who attend Harvard Summer School are not given preference in the admissions process. We do, however, request that students send a transcript for any additional academic courses that have been taken outside of their high school.
Q: Does applying for financial aid hinder admission?
A: Applying for financial aid will not hinder your chance of admissions, regardless of your citizenship. Harvard offers the same financial aid for domestic and international students.
Q: Do I need a recommendation letter from a Harvard alumni to apply?
A: In China, we have a limited number of interviewers. If the Admissions Committee requires more information about you, you will be contacted by the Admissions Office. If you are not interviewed, it will not adversely affect your candidacy. Recommendation letters from Harvard alumni are not required or expected, and are usually not helpful. We do require recommendation letters from two teachers, as well as a letter from a school counselor or other school official – please see our website for instructions.
Q: Does Harvard partner with agents or donors to guarantee admission slots?
A: There are no agents or donors who have any partnerships with Harvard admissions, and no one holds any reserved or guaranteed admission slots.