Harvard Computer Science Acceptance Rate

With its prestige and high global rankings, Harvard University is one of the most selective colleges in the world. The Harvard computer science program is extremely competitive, attracting top students from across the globe.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Harvard’s overall acceptance rate is about 5%, while the computer science acceptance rate is estimated to be 3-4%.

This article will provide a deep dive into Harvard’s computer science acceptance rates, statistics, admissions process, and tips to strengthen your application.

Harvard Computer Science Program Overview

Harvard University is renowned for its exceptional computer science program, attracting students from all around the world. With its rich history and prestigious reputation, the Harvard computer science program offers a comprehensive and rigorous curriculum that prepares students for successful careers in the field.


The Harvard computer science program consistently ranks among the top in the world. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is currently ranked #1 in the United States. This recognition is a testament to the program’s commitment to excellence in education and research.

Academics and Research

The computer science program at Harvard offers a wide range of courses and research opportunities that cater to the diverse interests of its students. From theoretical foundations to practical applications, students have the opportunity to explore various aspects of computer science.

The program boasts a distinguished faculty with expertise in areas such as artificial intelligence, data science, algorithms, and computer systems.

Students can also engage in cutting-edge research projects, collaborating with faculty members and fellow students to push the boundaries of knowledge in the field. The program encourages innovation and provides resources for students to pursue their research interests.

Student Opportunities

Harvard offers a plethora of opportunities for computer science students to enhance their learning experience and broaden their horizons. The university hosts numerous guest lectures, workshops, and seminars featuring industry experts and leading researchers.

These events provide valuable insights and networking opportunities for students.

Additionally, students can participate in internships and co-op programs with top technology companies, allowing them to gain real-world experience and apply their knowledge in practical settings. These opportunities not only enhance students’ skill sets but also provide valuable connections for future career prospects.

Furthermore, Harvard offers various student organizations and clubs focused on computer science, providing a platform for students to collaborate, share ideas, and engage in extracurricular projects. These activities foster a sense of community and encourage students to explore their passions beyond the classroom.

Harvard Overall vs. Computer Science Acceptance Rates

Overall Harvard Acceptance Rate

Harvard University is renowned for its high academic standards and selective admissions process. As one of the most prestigious universities in the world, the acceptance rate at Harvard is quite low. According to the latest available data, the overall acceptance rate for Harvard University is typically around 4.6%.

This means that out of every 100 applicants, only around 4 or 5 are accepted. It is important to note that this acceptance rate can vary slightly from year to year.

Estimated Computer Science Acceptance Rate

While Harvard’s overall acceptance rate is indeed quite low, it is worth noting that the acceptance rate for specific programs or departments may differ. In the case of computer science, Harvard has a highly competitive and sought-after program.

Unfortunately, the university does not publicly release the acceptance rate specifically for computer science. However, based on anecdotal evidence and discussions within the computer science community, it is estimated that the acceptance rate for Harvard’s computer science program is even lower than the university’s overall acceptance rate.

This is not uncommon for top-tier computer science programs, as they tend to receive a large number of highly qualified applicants.

Computer Science Applicant Pool

The applicant pool for computer science at Harvard is incredibly competitive. Each year, a significant number of talented individuals with a passion for technology and computer science apply to the program.

Harvard’s computer science program attracts students from all over the world who have excelled in their high school coursework, participated in coding competitions, and demonstrated a strong interest in computer science.

The university carefully evaluates each applicant’s academic achievements, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation to select the most promising candidates for admission.

For more information about Harvard University’s admissions process and statistics, you can visit their official website: https://college.harvard.edu/admissions.

Computer Science Admissions Statistics

Getting accepted into a prestigious institution like Harvard University is a dream for many aspiring computer science students. Understanding the admissions statistics can give you valuable insights into the competitive nature of the program and help you prepare a strong application.

GPA and Test Scores

Your academic performance is one of the key factors that admissions committees consider when evaluating your application. For computer science at Harvard, the average GPA of admitted students is typically very high, often above 3.9.

Additionally, strong performance in math and science courses is highly valued. A high SAT or ACT score is also important, with many successful applicants scoring above 1500 on the SAT or 34 on the ACT.

It’s important to note that while GPA and test scores play a significant role, they are not the only criteria for admission. Harvard University takes a holistic approach, considering various aspects of your application such as extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and personal essays.

Demographic Profile

Harvard University is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community, and this is reflected in their admissions process. They strive to admit students from various backgrounds and experiences.

As a result, the computer science program at Harvard welcomes applicants from all walks of life, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Harvard encourages students from underrepresented groups to apply and provides resources and support for their success. The university’s commitment to diversity ensures that students in the computer science program have the opportunity to learn from a wide range of perspectives, fostering a rich and inclusive learning environment.

Transfer Student Statistics

If you are considering transferring into Harvard’s computer science program, it’s important to understand the transfer student statistics. Each year, Harvard admits a small number of transfer students into the computer science program.

The exact number of available spots can vary depending on various factors, including the number of students who leave the program.

Transferring into a highly competitive program like computer science at Harvard can be challenging, but it is not impossible. The admissions committee evaluates transfer applicants based on their academic performance at their current institution, as well as their potential to contribute to the Harvard community.

If you are considering transferring, it is essential to research the specific requirements and guidelines for transfer applicants on Harvard’s official website. The university provides detailed information to help you understand the process and increase your chances of a successful transfer.

Remember, the admissions process is highly competitive, and acceptance rates can vary from year to year. It’s important to focus on presenting your best self in your application and showcasing your passion for computer science.

With dedication and hard work, you can increase your chances of being admitted to Harvard’s computer science program.

The Harvard Computer Science Admissions Process

Important Deadlines

Applying to Harvard’s Computer Science program requires careful attention to deadlines. The application deadline for the fall semester typically falls around December 15th. It is crucial to submit your application on time to be considered for admission. Late applications are generally not accepted.

Therefore, it’s advisable to start working on your application well in advance to avoid any last-minute rush.

Required Application Materials

When applying to Harvard’s Computer Science program, you need to gather several essential application materials. These typically include:

  • Transcripts: You will need to submit official transcripts from all the educational institutions you have attended.
  • Letters of Recommendation: You will need to request letters of recommendation from professors or professionals who can speak to your academic abilities and potential.
  • Statement of Purpose: You will need to write a compelling statement of purpose that outlines your interest in computer science and why you want to study at Harvard.
  • Standardized Test Scores: You will need to submit your scores from standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.
  • Resume: A detailed resume highlighting your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and relevant work experience can also strengthen your application.

It is important to carefully review the application requirements on Harvard’s official website to ensure you provide all the necessary materials.

Decisions and Notification Dates

After submitting your application, the waiting game begins. Harvard’s Computer Science program has a highly competitive admissions process, and decisions are typically released in the spring. The specific notification dates may vary from year to year, so it’s essential to keep an eye on Harvard’s official website for updates.

Once decisions are released, you will receive an email or postal mail notifying you of the outcome. If you are accepted, congratulations! You will be given a deadline to accept or decline the offer. If you are waitlisted or denied, remember that it’s not the end of the world.

There are many other excellent computer science programs out there, and you can explore other options and continue pursuing your passion for coding and technology.

For more information on the Harvard Computer Science Admissions Process, you can visit the official Harvard College Admissions website here.

Tips for Getting Accepted

If you’re dreaming of studying computer science and becoming a part of the prestigious Harvard University, it’s important to understand the competitive nature of the application process. With a low acceptance rate, gaining admission can be challenging.

However, by focusing on certain aspects of your application, you can improve your chances of being accepted.

Academic Preparation

One of the most crucial factors in getting accepted into Harvard’s computer science program is your academic preparation. It goes without saying that you need to have an excellent academic record. A strong foundation in mathematics, science, and computer programming will greatly enhance your application.

Taking advanced courses, participating in coding competitions, and pursuing independent projects can demonstrate your passion and dedication to the field.

Furthermore, it’s important to maintain a high GPA and aim for a competitive standardized test score. These academic achievements will show the admissions committee that you have the intellectual capacity to succeed in their program.


While academics are crucial, Harvard also values well-rounded individuals who have diverse interests and make a positive impact outside of the classroom. Engaging in extracurricular activities related to computer science can greatly enhance your application.

Consider participating in coding clubs, hackathons, or internships at tech companies. These experiences will not only showcase your technical skills but also demonstrate your ability to work in a team and solve real-world problems.

Additionally, don’t forget to pursue other interests and hobbies outside of computer science. Harvard values students who can bring a unique perspective to their campus. Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, participating in community service, or excelling in a sport, showcasing your talents and passions beyond the realm of computer science can set you apart from other applicants.

Essays and Recommendations

When it comes to the essays and recommendations, it’s essential to make them stand out. Your essays should showcase your personality, motivations, and aspirations. Use this opportunity to tell your unique story and explain why you’re passionate about computer science and why Harvard is the perfect fit for you.

Be genuine and authentic in your writing, and don’t be afraid to share personal anecdotes or experiences that have shaped your journey.

Moreover, choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your abilities and potential. Whether it’s a teacher, mentor, or supervisor, these individuals should be able to highlight your academic achievements, leadership skills, and dedication to computer science.

Make sure to give your recommenders ample time to write thoughtful and personalized letters.

Remember, the competition for acceptance into Harvard’s computer science program is fierce. By focusing on your academic preparation, engaging in meaningful extracurricular activities, and crafting compelling essays and recommendations, you can increase your chances of getting accepted. Good luck!


The Harvard computer science program is highly selective, often accepting less than 5% of applicants. However, strong candidates can maximize their chances through academic excellence, impactful extracurriculars, and compelling application materials.

With thorough preparation and a competitive application, motivated students can position themselves to join the ranks of elite computer scientists who begin their journeys at Harvard.

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