Harvard Admissions Glossary

Get to know all Harvard Admissions terms and gain insights into the language that shapes your path to Harvard University.

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The Harvard admissions process can be daunting for first-time applicants, and most of us are! It’s often riddled with complexities. Understanding the language can help you with all the steps required, making a pathway into prestigious institutions like Harvard clearer.

From application materials and selection criteria to financial aid and campus traditions, here’s all the help you need in understanding this terminology.

Application Materials Terms

These terms are related to the documents and materials submitted by applicants as part of their Harvard admissions process.

  1. Common Application: A standardized application form used by many colleges and universities, including Harvard, to streamline the application process.
  2. Supplemental Materials: Additional documents or essays required by Harvard to gain a comprehensive view of the applicant’s qualifications.
  3. Personal Statement: A crucial essay in which applicants discuss their background, interests, and reasons for applying to Harvard, often highlighting their potential in business management.
  4. Letters of Recommendation: Written endorsements from teachers or mentors that provide insight into an applicant’s character and abilities.
  5. Resume: A document outlining an applicant’s academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and work experiences.

Selection Criteria Terms

These terms relate to the factors Harvard considers when evaluating applicants for admission.

  1. Holistic Review: Harvard’s comprehensive approach to evaluating applicants, considering their academic performance, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities.
  2. GPA (Grade Point Average): A measure of an applicant’s academic performance, with a strong GPA being a key factor in admission.
  3. Standardized Test Scores: Results from exams like the SAT or ACT, which are used to assess an applicant’s academic aptitude.
  4. Extracurricular Activities: Non-academic pursuits, such as leadership roles or community service, that demonstrate a well-rounded applicant.
  5. Diversity: Harvard values diversity in its student body, considering factors like race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background in the admissions process.

Admissions Committees Terms

These terms relate to the individuals and groups responsible for reviewing and making decisions on applications.

  1. Admissions Officers: Harvard staff members responsible for evaluating applications and making admission decisions.
  2. Admissions Committee: A group of individuals who collectively review and discuss applications, ensuring a fair and comprehensive evaluation.
  3. Alumni Interviewers: Harvard alumni who conduct interviews with applicants to assess their fit for the university.

Financial Aid Terms

These terms cover aspects of financial assistance and scholarships available to Harvard applicants.

  1. Need-Based Aid: Financial assistance provided to students based on their demonstrated financial need.
  2. Merit-Based Scholarships: Scholarships awarded to exceptional applicants based on their academic or extracurricular achievements.
  3. FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): A form used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid, including grants and loans.

Decision Types Terms

These terms describe various admission decisions that applicants may receive from Harvard.

  1. Acceptance: The coveted outcome where an applicant is offered admission to Harvard.
  2. Waitlist: Applicants who are neither accepted nor rejected but may be offered admission later if spots become available.
  3. Deferral: When an applicant’s admission decision is postponed to a later application round.
  4. Rejection: The unfortunate outcome when an applicant is not offered admission to Harvard.

Admissions Timeline Terms

These terms outline the key milestones in the Harvard admissions process.

  1. Early Action: A non-binding early application deadline that allows applicants to receive an early admission decision.
  2. Regular Decision: The standard application deadline for most applicants, with admission decisions released later.
  3. Application Deadline: The final date by which applicants must submit their materials to be considered for admission.
  4. Yield Rate These terms relate to the percentage of admitted students who choose to enroll at Harvard.
  5. Yield Rate: The percentage of admitted students who accept their offer of admission and enroll.
  6. Demonstrated Interest: Actions taken by applicants to show their strong desire to attend Harvard.
  7. Acceptance Rate: The percentage of applicants who receive an offer of admission to Harvard.
  8. SAT/ACT Range: The middle 50% range of standardized test scores for admitted students.
  9. Admissions Statistics: Data on the demographics and qualifications of admitted students.

Admissions Policies

These terms describe specific policies and guidelines that Harvard follows in its admissions process.

  1. Legacy Preference: A policy that may provide a slight advantage to applicants with family ties to Harvard.
  2. Early Decision: A binding early application option where applicants commit to attending Harvard if admitted.
  3. Waitlist Policies: The procedures and criteria for offering admission to waitlisted applicants.
  4. Holistic Admissions: The practice of considering all aspects of an applicant’s profile, beyond just academic achievements.
  5. Diversity and Inclusion: Harvard’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community of students and scholars.
  6. Deferred Applicant: An applicant whose admission decision has been postponed to a later round.
  7. Waitlisted Applicant: An applicant who is not admitted initially but may be offered admission later if spots become available.

Application and Essay Review

These terms describe the process of evaluating applications at Harvard.

  1. File Review: The initial assessment of an applicant’s materials by an admissions officer.
  2. Committee Review: A collaborative evaluation of applicants by the admissions committee.
  3. Essay Prompts: The specific questions or topics applicants must address in their Harvard essays.
  4. Word Limit: The maximum number of words allowed for each Harvard essay.
  5. Proofreading: The critical step of reviewing and editing application materials for errors.
  6. Authenticity: The importance of being genuine and true to oneself when completing the application.

In Harvard, specific terms often define processes or traditions. Understanding both Harvard-specific and general college admissions terms can help you in navigating the complex landscape of higher education. Whether you’re going into business management or any other field, I hope the knowledge of these terms can be useful.

Your Harvard journey will be paved with careful consideration of application strategies, financial aid options, and campus resources. So we’ve created this admissions lexicon to guide prospective students through the admissions process. Hopefully, our guides throughout HowtoGetinto-Harvard will help you create compelling personal statements, ace interviews, and make informed decisions. With diligence and a deep understanding of this lexicon, you can embark on your journey towards excellence at Harvard University.

All the best!

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