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Why am I not accepted?

Why was I not accepted into Harvard? I have a 4.0 GPA, did debate and speech all throughout high school, and aced all my AP exams. What did I do wrong?

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Gregory’s Answer

Joe,

I can sense the anguish you feel in your question. It is understandably heartbreaking to be rejected by Harvard after all you have done to achieve your dream of being accepted there. You have experienced one of life's truisms, which is "we can't make people (or institutions) want us no matter how hard we try". And those last 6 words are the important ones for you to hold on to now at this time. For all relationships and all situations involving two or more parties, the outcome doesn't depend exclusively on just one party. In other words, it may not be about you or your attributes or all that you have accomplished or anything else you have control over. Their decision may have related to issues over which you have no control. This doesn't make the rejection hurt less, I realize, but it is important for you to hold on to nevertheless. Why? Because your letter demonstrates that you are a person who is a high performer, obviously intelligent and able to succeed in rigorous academic and non-academic endeavors, and who has drive and determination.

These skills and abilities will take you far in your life ahead. While not the same as Harvard, you can apply these many strong attributes in any other setting where you choose to, including other colleges to which you apply and are able to accept you. Keep in mind that all universities have limits on whom they can accept so in all cases, you can only do your best but you can't make them want you. But whomever accepts you and wants you will be very lucky to have you!

Keep doing your best and be the person you are, even if (or when) you experience rejection again. It is the most you can do and expect from yourself and others.

Greg
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Joe,

I am sorry that you didn't get into your dream school even with a strong record. But when a school has an acceptance rate of 2.2% and the average GPA is 3.94 they can afford to be VERY choosy. You most likely did nothing wrong other people just did better.

Your GPA is obviously not the problem, but there are other components to the application. Maybe your essay was not as great as you thought. Maybe a lot of people had already some kind of medical experience and that gave them a boost. Maybe......who knows. They only take 165 out of 7000 to 8000 applicants.

I am sure Harvard is amazing, but I hope you'll get over the disappointment and can enjoy some other great school. You may not want to hear it right now, but life outside of Harvard exists. You'll still get a great education and hopefully be an amazing doctor one day.

Good luck!

KP
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hey Joe!

Understanding Why Harvard Might Have Passed You By Despite Your Stellar 4.0 GPA and Other Achievements

Harvard University, known for its selective nature, gets flooded with applications from top-notch students every year. Even though your 4.0 GPA, debate and speech skills, and AP exam triumphs are quite remarkable, they don't automatically secure you a spot at Harvard. Here's a peek into some potential reasons why you might not have been accepted:

1. The intensity of your academics: Harvard is on the lookout for students who have really pushed their academic boundaries. The curriculum at your high school and the courses you chose might not have showcased your academic prowess enough. Also, Harvard tends to favor more demanding courses like Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, which you might not have opted for.

Reference:

* Harvard University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. (n.d.). Academic Rigor. Retrieved from <https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/apply/academic-rigor>

2. Your knowledge spectrum: Harvard appreciates students who are well-rounded with a wide array of interests and knowledge, along with specialization in one or two areas. If your extracurricular activities, voluntary work, or other experiences failed to exhibit this diversity and depth, it might have negatively influenced your application.

Reference:

* Harvard University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. (n.d.). Personal Qualities and Interests. Retrieved from <https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/apply/personal-qualities-and-interests>

3. The competition: Harvard gets a ton of applications from highly accomplished students, making the task of the admissions committee quite tough. Despite your commendable achievements, there might have been other applicants with equal or superior qualifications who were chosen over you.

Reference:

* Harvard University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. (n.d.). Class Profile. Retrieved from <https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/apply/class-profile>

Alongside these potential reasons, remember that the admissions process is highly personalized, and there could be other factors that led to your rejection. But don't forget, a rejection from Harvard doesn't define your capabilities or talents. There are countless routes to success, and studying at another college or university can offer you equally valuable experiences and opportunities.

References:

* Harvard University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. (n.d.). Academic Rigor. Retrieved from <https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/apply/academic-rigor>
* Harvard University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. (n.d.). Personal Qualities and Interests. Retrieved from <https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/apply/personal-qualities-and-interests>
* Harvard University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. (n.d.). Class Profile. Retrieved from <https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/apply/class-profile>
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