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Is Harvard really within reach?

Posted by Pablo 
Is Harvard really within reach?
January 11, 2010 04:12AM
Hi everyone, I read that the ivy league schools like Yale and Harvard offer financial support to people who can't afford going. But what about the grades and scores they require to admit students? A friend of mine applied to Harvard and Princeton and is waiting for interviews and I would like to apply next year but I'm not sure I will qualify. I'm taking many AP courses this year and next and my GPA is 3.9. I appreciate any guidance you can offer me.
Amber George
Re: Is Harvard really within reach?
January 11, 2010 06:50PM
Hi Pablo,

There is no reason why Harvard or any other ivy league school would be out of reach! It sounds like you would be a great candidate for admission and scholarships because of your high GPA and AP classes.

The best way to get information about schools is to visit the "Undergraduate Admission" section of the school's website. If you can, it would be really great to apply by the Early Decision deadline, which would also make you eligible for more scholarships. I would suggest that you begin working on your application(s) as soon as possible to give yourself enough time to compile all the materials that you need and write your application essay(s). Make sure to find at least two people who can help you edit your essay(s). I would suggest going to a teacher at your school, a mentor, or any other professionals you may know.

While most colleges will take your GPA into high consideration, they also like to see how "active" you are within your school and/or community. Especially the more selective schools want to know that you are not only focusing on your grades but managing your time with other activities. Make sure to point out any clubs or sports teams you are a member of and any volunteering that you may do.

In regard to scholarships, there are some websites that provide you with a list of available scholarships which makes it a little easier than searching everywhere. I would suggest visiting,, and Also, make sure to go to the "Resources" tab (under our main page). Scroll down and click on the "Scholarships and Financial Aid" link. This will give you links to many organizations and websites that offer scholarships.

One other resource is the financial aid office at the college to which you are applying. They can let you know of scholarships or grants that you may qualify for and give you information on how to apply for them. Many alumni give money back to the school to be distributed in scholarship form to students. Sometimes they specify a certain major (education, business, etc.) and sometimes they specify that the scholarship is need-based or for Latinos or other ethnic groups. Make sure you complete your FAFSA early and apply for scholarships early to up your chances of getting financial aid.

I hope this was helpful. Best of luck with everything!
-Amber George
Re: Is Harvard really within reach?
March 16, 2010 01:08PM
To this wonderful answer by Amber, I would only add that Harvard has a Diversity Recruitment Office within the Admissions office and that you should talk to them as well. If admitted, and if your family makes below certain amount, Harvard will pay for most if not all of your education. So, don't think about the price tag right now. It may end up costing you less than a two year school.
Re: Is Harvard really within reach?
April 19, 2010 07:26PM
It's definitely a possibility. I'd just like to clarify (to avoid any confusion) that Yale does have an Early Action program, but Harvard does not have Early Action or Early Decision. Also, all financial aid at Harvard is based on a family's financial need, and it all depends on FAFSA and CSS PROFILE applications. All applicants for financial aid are considered equally no matter at what time they apply as long as it's before the deadline.