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what sat score is adequate if going to apply to Harvard?

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4 Answers

OK, I have one student who just received RA acceptance letter from Harvard this year. I have been working as a private college consultant for 3 years (mostly for my SAT students), and I do notice that Harvard has this odd preference for perfect SAT score. So seriously, 2400 SAT + good application (especially the personal statement) are what Harvard admission officers value the most.
 
They do offer exceptions for athletes that is why their AVERAGE (because some students have VERY LOW SAT score, but they have special backgrounds) SAT is even lower than Yale.  
Unless you have some serious mitigating circumstance (economic or family), then if you aren't at least in the upper end of the 600's then Harvard probably isn't a realistic choice.  700's are really preferable for schools that selective.  That said, holistic schools like Harvard will give much more attention to real hardships, such as a bad high school, low socioeconomic status, having to work or care for relatives, etc. than big state schools, and they have a fleet of alumni who will interview you and can catch issues like that even if they're not apparent on paper.
 
A word of warning about "club participation" at the highest end of admissions.  Doing something unusual with distinction and passion looks good at this kind of school.  Being in every school-level club you can find really doesn't.  It looks like resume padding.  Put your passions behind a limited number of things at which you can genuinely excel and preferably innovate, beyond the school bounds if at all possible.
Jonathan,
 
Your SAT scores will certainly be taken into consideration on your Harvard application, as will your high school GPA, which should be as close to 4.0 as possible. Because Harvard uses a holistic admissions process, more than only your academic standing will be considered. Your extracurricular achievements will be considered as well, like club participation or a unique talent. It will be important for you to show that you bring value to the campus community, not only to the classroom.
 
Al the best to you,
 
Miss Mary

SAT Critical Reading: 690 / 790SAT Math: 700 / 800SAT Writing: 690 / 790