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Harvard is committed to making educational opportunity accessible. Admission is based on achievement and promise; applying for financial aid does not diminish a studentís chances of admission. Indeed, the Admissions Committee may respond favorably to evidence that a candidate has overcome significant obstacles, financial or otherwise.
Our recent sweeping changes in financial aid ensure the affordability of a Harvard education for students and families across the economic spectrum. It now costs the same or less for 90 percent of families in the U.S. to send their daughters or sons to Harvard than to their flagship public university.
All studentsóAmerican and internationalóbenefit equally from Harvardís admission and financial aid policies. Perhaps due in part to generous financial aid, Harvardís graduation rate of 96 to 98 percent is at or near the top of the nationís colleges.
There is no formula for gaining admission to Harvard. Students with vastly different credentials come from thousands of secondary schools across the country and around the world. What unifies our students are the talents they bring to Harvard and the passion to explore its vast resources.
Applicants can distinguish themselves for admission in a number of ways. Some show unusual academic promise through experience or achievements in study or research. Many are "well rounded" and have contributed in various ways to the lives of their schools or communities. Others are "well lopsided" with demonstrated excellence in a particular endeavoróacademic, extracurricular or otherwise. Still others bring perspectives formed by unusual personal circumstances or experiences.
Academic accomplishment in high school is important, but we also seek people with enthusiasm, creativity and strength of character.
Most admitted students rank in the top 10Ė15 percent of their graduating classes, having taken the most rigorous secondary school curriculum available to them.