How to Get Into Harvard As An Indian Student [2024]

There are many students who may be wondering how to get into Harvard from India. This is one of those aspirational institutions that students dream of getting into. The question is – how hard is it to get in? What are the criteria?

Here’s what we’ll look at today

Harvard University is amongst the first names that most people think about when they discuss the top universities of the world. A member of the distinguished Ivy League that includes universities such as Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, and others, Harvard University is ranked 4th in the world by QS rankings for the year 2024.

Established in 1636, Harvard is one of the oldest universities in the USA and one of its most prestigious. Harvard is a private university that is well-respected in academic circles and is globally recognized for its contributions that have improved the quality of life around us.

Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is at the forefront of academic excellence and intellectual discovery. With over 400,000 alumni worldwide, Harvard University has one of the largest alumni networks, with a presence in almost all countries of the world.

More than 25,200 students from around the world have enrolled at Harvard currently, making it one of the most student-populous universities in the USA. With a large number of Nobel laureates, the university has created a distinction for itself as a groundbreaking center for research and development.

The stringent acceptance rate of around 5% means that only 5 people out of every 100 candidates that apply to the university get accepted. To put things into perspective, if you are looking at the Class of 2027, for 56,937 applicants, 1966 were admitted. It’s one of the toughest universities to get into, but is easier, probably, than taking some of the most difficult exams in the world!

The acceptance rates at Harvard for the past seven years are listed below

Year Acceptance Rate
2017 5.2%
2018 4.6%
2019 4.5%
2020 4.9 %
2021 4.6%
2022 3.19%
2023 3.41%

Harvard has 12 graduate and professional degree-awarding Schools, the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, and Harvard College. The twelve graduate schools of Harvard include,

  • 1. Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • 2. Harvard Business School
  • 3. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • 4. Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • 5. Harvard Medical School
  • 6. Harvard Law School
  • 7. Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • 8. Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • 9. Harvard Divinity School
  • 10. Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • 11. Harvard Kennedy School
  • 12. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Apart from these schools, Harvard also offers certifications and non-degree education including executive, continuing, and online education. Harvard has locations all across the world. These locations happen to be the primary aspects that spearhead the University’s global mission.

Harvard also offers a host of free courses that are available online for anyone interested in pursuing them. Some of the most popular free courses offered by Harvard include Introduction to Game Development, Introduction to Computer Science, and Systematic Approaches to Policy Design among others.

Let’s take a look at why Harvard is one of the most chosen universities by international students.

Why study at Harvard as an Indian Student?

Most Indian students dream about studying abroad. This is due to the higher number of opportunities, better career prospects, greater exposure to industry practices and a greater quality of life that studying abroad brings with it.

Looking at this university in particular, the name “Harvard” carries along with a global reputation for academic and research excellence. One of the top ranking universities in the world, it offers more than 3,700 courses and provides access to exceptional faculty and unparalleled libraries and resources.

Cultural diversity is one of the mainstays of Harvard University where students from different backgrounds come together as one. The university focuses on creating a vibrant community of belonging that creates an amiable environment for everyone to learn and avail ample opportunities.Furthermore, the university campus provides abundant opportunities for you to build networks among professionals and peers alike.

Indian students are mostly associated with hard work, leadership qualities, and great academic track records – all parameters that Harvard looks for in its students. This is one of the reasons why there are so many Indian students across the different Ivy league universities in the US.

Harvard graduates are some of the most sought-after graduates in the world. With an average pay of a Harvard graduate hovering around $90,000, they are also some of the most-paid graduates in the world.

How much does it cost to Study at Harvard for an Indian Student?

The average tuition fee to study at Harvard University is as follows
Harvard College (Undergraduate degrees): $54,269
Harvard Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: $54,032
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: $61,768

In addition to the tuition, it is good to budget around $30,000 per year for cost of living expenses and medical insurance.

The application fee is $85. This fee can be waived in case an applicant is unable to pay for it. Through financial aid, the average annual tuition fee may get reduced to around $15,000-$30,000. But the criteria to avail of financial aid must be fully met. This is discussed in the following sections.

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

Getting into Harvard is one of the toughest things in the world. With an average acceptance rate of less than 5%, it is one of the most daunting prospects for an applicant who is keen on pursuing an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree from a world-renowned university.

Some of the most common application requirements to get into one of the schools of Harvard University include,

  • Maintaining a high GPA throughout one’s academic life (including high school, secondary school, etc)
    • A good overall academic record is important to get into Harvard. The average GPA at Harvard is around 4.18.
    • However, even if your GPA is low, having higher scores on SAT and ACT can contribute to your admission.
  • English language proficiency test scores including,
    • IELTS score
    • TOEFL score
    • Duolingo test scores
  • Your standardized test scores need to stand out. These could include,
    • SAT scores
      • Harvard has a score choice policy of “Highest Section” called “superscoring”. Students can choose which SAT tests they would like to submit for consideration by the admissions committee.
      • The highest section scores across all SAT test dates that applicants submit will be chosen for consideration.
      • Harvard University recommends that students who choose to submit SAT must submit two SAT Subject Tests, with only one being the math test).
      • The average SAT score at Harvard is 1520 on a scale of 1600.
    • ACT scores
      • The minimum ACT score required for admission into Harvard University is a composite score of at least 33.
      • ACT Composite — 25th percentile 33
      • ACT Composite — 75th percentile 35
    • AP scores (advanced placement tests).
    • Preparation books are available for these tests at the US-India Education Foundation (USIEF).
  • For graduate courses, the admission process is very competitive. For these purposes, above-average GRE test scores and GMAT test scores could help applicants to get into Harvard.
    • The average GRE score is about 160 or the 90th percentile and above.
    • The average GMAT score is about 730 (at the Harvard Business School).
  • Preparing a stellar application by writing essays, having evaluations provided by teachers, and by adding supplementary materials based on the necessity. Essays are one of the best ways of expressing your ambitions and experience. When you write essays for Harvard, there are two types including,
    • Common/Coalition Application Essay Questions or Topics (Personal Essay)
    • Harvard Supplemental Essays
  • Sending in one’s filled-in college application on time is very important. Make sure that you cross-check your application to see if you have filled out all the required details and that you are attaching all of the documents required by the school/program.
  • Possess relevant work experience.
  • Showcase one’s ability to be a natural leader. Demonstrating a keen passion for solving key problems in one’s local community is something that Harvard looks out for.
  • Demonstrate one’s involvement in extracurricular activities in school through various types of participation including,
    • Joining a sport
    • Being part of a band
    • Showcasing your interests by being an active part of a club
    • Volunteering within the community
    • Organizing a fundraiser

Some of the important documents that are required for admission into Harvard University include,

  • Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Resumé/Portfolio
  • Academic transcripts
  • Valid passport for student visa
  • Birth certificate
  • Duly-filled Harvard application form.

What are the available Harvard scholarships for Indian Students?

Scholarships Criteria
Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship – Harvard Business School  

  • Applicants must have an undergraduate degree.
  • A minimum IELTS score of 7.5 is necessary.
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 109 and above.
  • A minimum PTE score of 75 and above.
  • Fellowship is given in addition to any need-based fellowship awards
  • Approximately $10,000 is provided to seven to ten first-year MBA students who have exhibited leadership in the nonprofit sector.
The Boustany MBA Harvard Scholarship
  • Financial aid amounting to 75% of the tuition fees.
  • Internship-related travel and accommodation expenses are provided.
  • Offered once every two years.
  • Priority will be given to candidates of Lebanese descent.
  • Students can opt for this scholarship only after successful admission to MBA courses at Harvard.
The Robert S. Kaplan Life Sciences Fellowship
  • HBS awards up to $20,000 each to up to ten MBA students who present outstanding credentials in life sciences disciplines.
  • Preference is given to students who are planning careers in science-related businesses or organizations.
  • A minimum IELTS score band of 7.5.
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 109.
  • A minimum PTE score of 75.
  • The Kaplan fellowship does not affect eligibility for need-based HBS Scholarships.
  • Students are automatically considered for this scholarship when they begin applying to this course, meaning they don’t have to send a separate application.
Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Financial Aid

Institute for Global Law and Policies (IGLP) Residential Fellowship Program, Harvard Law School, USA

  • Candidates pursuing graduate degrees in the field of Education are provided with an opportunity to apply to this scholarship.
  • The fellowship is available to doctoral and postdoctoral scholars who are pursuing research in the key areas related to the IGLPs ongoing work.
John H. Coatsworth Latin American History FellowshipSummer Venture in Management (SVMP)

Need-Based Financial Aid/Scholarships

  • Current doctoral students and Ph.D. candidates at any of the graduate or professional schools at Harvard are eligible to apply.
  • Students in their first year of graduate study at Harvard are not eligible to apply.
  • Outstanding academic record;
  • Standing in the academic department and graduate or professional school;
  • Feasibility and quality of the proposed research and impact on progress toward the degree.
  • Fellowship provides annual awards of $10,000 to MBA students who participated in SVMP.
  • Applicants must be a member of a group that is underrepresented.
  • Applicants must be the first member of their family to attend college.
  • Applicants must be a graduate from a school that is underrepresented.
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 109
  • A minimum IELTS score band of 7.5
  • A minimum PTE score of 75.
  • Candidates must have relevant work experience.
  • Aspirants must possess an outstanding track record in academic and professional capacities.

Harvard University provides financial aid to those students who require it. It is made available to those students who qualify for financial aid. The entire process includes calculating parental contributions along with factoring in student employment opportunities and outside awards.

Based on the outcomes, the remaining needs will be covered by scholarships that are grants-based – meaning they don’t ever have to be repaid!

Financial aid at Harvard University is a combination of scholarships, student employment opportunities, and awards that are availed from outside sources. If students qualify for financial aid at the university, a personalized aid package is created using various resources to address the needs of each applicant.

Harvard University has one of the largest endowments among global universities and provides financial support to those students that require aid or cannot afford to pay for tuition. 55% of students who study at Harvard receive a need-based scholarship. This means that 1 in 5 students study for free at Harvard University.

Scholarships that are awarded to students by external agencies outside of Harvard come in the form of secondary schools, civic organizations, parental employers, corporations, and others. This is also factored into the financial aid package.

Harvard Student Loans are available for those students receiving some amount of Grant Aid. The limit to the amount one can borrow is calculated based on the applicant’s standing in class and based on the “Student Contribution”.

Alternatives to loans include outside awards and term-time work. The student employment office is responsible for helping students to find employment during the period of their studies. Harvard’s student accounts office helps students to manage their expenses by allowing them to pay the semester charges over four installments.

Contacting the financial aid office if you are a currently enrolled student can help you find answers to various questions about Harvard Loans or Federal Direct Loans (which are available only to US citizens). Harvard has a wide variety of funding sources for student and faculty research as well.

How to Get Admission in Harvard University from India?

Although Indian students form a considerable percentage of applicants at various universities, only a tiny percentage of them get accepted into Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, and the like. This could be because of several factors, including the pressure of applying to an Ivy League school, lack of preparation or research, or even applying for unsuitable programmes.

Getting into Harvard is a tough task and is unsettling even for the most ambitious and academically gifted students. But with the right set of resources, you too can apply to Harvard and get accepted into the prestigious university. Let’s take a look at some of the most common tips that applicants receive when they are applying to one of the programs at Harvard.

  • Examine your needs—You must research the university diligently and understand the various programs offered by the different schools. Once you select a program that suits your requirements, you must review the eligibility criteria to see if you fit the bill.
  • Understand the application processThis is an extremely important process that most people underestimate. Based on the program’s requirements, one must begin working on their profile and create the necessary documents.
  • Begin early—You must begin your entire preparation process well ahead of time to get accepted into a program of your choice. This includes improving your academic records, preparing for standardized tests, undertaking mock tests, and participating in discussions that can help you understand Harvard’s requirements.
  • Be more than what you are – Getting accepted into Harvard means that you must be more than just good at academics. Involvement in extracurricular activities beyond academics, working on building your profile from the ground up through work experience, volunteering, and other activities is of utmost importance.
  • Participate in student groups – Be a part of student groups that discuss the activities of Harvard University and its related affairs. You could also talk to the experts at TC Global to understand more about the programs of your choice and how you could go about applying to the school that offers the programs.
  • Believe in yourself – Getting into Harvard is not an easy task. It is not impossible, however. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. Be honest and straightforward throughout the admission process. The admission officers look for things that most of us tend to overlook so don’t focus on portraying a false image of yourself or paint a picture that isn’t your true reflection.

All students are considered in the same pool for all places in the incoming class, regardless of citizenship or the secondary school they attend. The application requirements are the same for all applicants whether a student attends high school inside or outside the U.S.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important steps when it comes to applying to Harvard as an Indian student.

Step 1: Choose the right course

When you are looking to apply to Harvard University, you must narrow down the program that you would like to be a part of.

Some of the most popular fields of study at Harvard University include,

  • Computer Science
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine
  • Education
  • Liberal arts
  • Dental Sciences

A few of the top majors available at Harvard include,

  • Anthropology
  • Astrophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • English
  • Environmental Science and Engineering
  • History
  • History of Art and Architecture
  • Human Evolutionary Biology
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Music
  • Neurobiology
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

With the help of an expert such as TC Global, one can be assured of identifying the best universities and programs that match their requirements while also factoring in their eligibility.

TC Global helps to match you with a university based on your course requirements and your academic proficiency. You may also choose to apply to a university of your choice. Based on your background, TC Global provides a list of programs that your profile fits best with.

Understanding what you need to pursue is very important in the long run. TC Global makes it easy for applicants to know what they could pursue through their trademarked state-of-the-art program finder that factors multiple parameters to choose the best courses for each individual.

Step 2: Begin the application process

Once you have locked onto a course of your preference, begin the application process at the earliest. Make sure to create a compelling profile for yourself before you apply to create a lasting impression on the admission officers.

One must refer to various experts or go through the official application page of the chosen school to understand what each program or university expects from its students. By parsing through various samples online or talking to alumni of the university, one may be able to identify the best way to begin applying to a program at Harvard.

TC Global has been helping scores of students in creating the perfect portfolio of themselves for admission into various universities. Begin your application by consulting with our group of international experts who can lead you in the right direction.

One may also visit and set up a meeting with our Relationship Members to help you understand how the entire process of applying to Harvard works and to help put your mind at ease. One can also keep a track of the application process through TC Global’s portal.

Step 3: Create a checklist

Make sure you create a checklist of all the documents that you need to submit. Refer to the above sections to understand the various documents required for admission at Harvard University. It is of utmost importance that one does not lose track of the application dates or the various documents that must be submitted.

At TC Global, one can get a personal advisor that can help you to keep a track of all your applications. Moreover, we keep a track of all the necessary competitive examinations you must appear for in order to be eligible for admissions.

Step 4: Admission and fee payment

Based on the application, the admissions committee at Harvard will recommend you for admission and schedule a personal interview. You must be well prepared for the interview since this can help create an impression about your candidature.

Once you are intimated about your admission, you may proceed with the fee payment. Based on your family’s financial situation, you may be provided with financial aid to fund your education at Harvard.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common FAQs related to admissions at Harvard University.

Q. Do international students have quotas for admissions?

A. Harvard does not have quotas of any kind for international students or for students who are residents of the country. An applicant’s chances of admission at Harvard are not affected by their nationality or by the location of their school.

Q. Is there an application fee for international students?

There is an application fee of $85. However, if the fee poses a burden to one’s financial status, then Harvard will waive the admission application fee. The fee waiver can be requested through the Common Application or the Coalition Application.

Q. Do international students have to sit for interviews?

Typically, yes. Harvard attempts to make alumni interviewers as widely available as possible. However, if an interview cannot be arranged in your location, it does not affect your application. Your application is considered complete without an interview. Generally, when the admissions committee wants more information about an applicant or has questions about any application materials, an alumni interviewer is allocated.

Q. Is it necessary to take the TOEFL?

It is necessary to possess the required communication skills in English for successful study. However, first-year and transfer students are not required to take an English proficiency test.

Q. How does an international student apply to Harvard?

The application requirements are the same for all applicants whether a student attends high school inside or outside the U.S. Applicants can apply through either the coalition application or the common application.

Q. Is Harvard College the same as Harvard University?

No. Harvard College offers undergraduate degree programs. Harvard University consists of 10 graduate and professional schools.

Q. How many courses does Harvard offer?

There are more than 3,700 courses on offer at Harvard University.

Q. How big are the classes?

The median class size at Harvard is 12.

Q. Can undergraduates get involved with research?

Yes. They can even start in their first year. More information can be found through inquiries with the departments or professors.

Q. What are the standardized tests that Harvard requires?

Students who choose to submit standardized tests may submit the SAT or the ACT.

Q. What are the admissions criteria considered by Harvard?

The Harvard admissions committee considers criteria such as community involvement, leadership and distinction in extracurricular activities, and personal qualities and character.

Q. Where does my application form go?

An admissions committee containing 40 members goes through the applications submitted by potential candidates.

Q. Are there particular marks or grades required for admission?

At Harvard, there are no rigid grade requirements. However, most admitted students rank in the top 10-15% of their graduating classes.

Q. Is financial aid available for foreign students?

International students have exactly the same basis as American students.

Q. I am an Indian currently studying in the United States. Am I considered to be an International Applicant?

No. Harvard defines an International Applicant to be someone who is applying from outside of America. This is because the documents submitted by both these groups will be vastly different from each other.

Let’s get you into top courses with no stress

Now that we have discussed how to get into Harvard university from India, here’s a look at how you can apply seamlessly to universities through our student portal. Applying for the best courses is literally a touch away with the T.C. Global web application or mobile app.

Explore courses and start your journey here.

Getting Started

To move forward with us, download our app or visit and sign in to create an account on our student platform! 🚀 Once you’re logged in to your platform, onboard with us by giving us some initial information! ✅

Once you’ve done this, visit to pick a Relationships team closest to you and choose a slot that works well for you for an e-meet with our team. We can hope you now have the answer to the question – how to get into Harvard from India. You can always reach out to us for any other study-abroad query as well.

Let’s shape your future together🌍😊

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