How to get into Harvard!

I came across this interview with the president of Harvard – Drew Gilpin Faust with


Like we all know, Harvard certainly is the most coveted university in the world and it sure is an honor to have studied in such a prestigious university. And if we talk about the alumnis and the pass outs from Harvard, it goes Natalie Portman, Mark Zuckerberg of FB, Matt Demon of Bourne series, Bill Gates, Al Gore the VP of US and so on… Come on I don’t think I need to push in more names to make my point :).

And I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say that it is THE MOST sought after university in the world and it is nothing short of an honor to be in a place where these giants have studied. And as usual, I have always been interested as to what makes people get into such universities?!


The first answer most people came up with was MARKS. Mr.Gilpin says that if marks were the only thing, “We could fill our class twice over with valedictorians”. And there are so many of them with such good scores and merits and prizes for being geniuses. And if that alone would matter, life would be too easy – Understand the marking system, get good scores, go to Harvard and make a hell of difference. 


But thankfully that’s not alone that matters. And thanks to the so many valedictorians that we are bound to create an edge, a difference to be in a university like Harvard or any university close to its rank. I love the philosophy behind the thought and the whole bigger ideal that LIFE is a fuller structure and just cos you excel at something, it doesn’t mean that you are THE BEST!


According to the interview with Gilpin, the president says that it is highly important to have a profile to be enlisted in a university of this caliber. I am not saying that marks don’t matter, they most certainly do. But only to a certain extent, they act as a filter so that you clear the basic requirements and the one thing that counts is who you are as a person and what you have done to prove yourself to others, the society and also to yourself.


As a top tip to parents, Gilpin mentions in the interview – “Make your children interesting!” , Every hour not spent in class is spent building a formidable resume. If you look at the diversities of people who have studied in such institutes, they have been doctors, actors, business heads, and so many more interesting characters and marks were not the only thing that got them in! It was so much more.

Well I am no Harvard grad to be saying this but I guess it is about time that we reduce the importance we give to marks and grades and really start living. If that is what Harvard is looking for, I am sure the other schools are not looking for a routine marked character!

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15 Responses to "How to get into Harvard!"

  1. I loved reading this post Vinay. It’s high time parents stopped weighing their child’s calibre against scores..

  2. I agree Vinay with making- kids more interesting & practical than giving imp to numbers/percentage. Our education grading system needs to be updated with changing times too.getting into Harvard & likewise universities is just considered as legacy or pride & dream career opportunity when they graduate.

    1. Thank you Ruchi. I found the talk really interesting and I was happy to know that even the top institutes in the world are looking at a holistic picture as opposed to the one sided track of marks and grades..

  3. Siddharth Muzumdar · Edit

    Nice article Vinay but mind you, Zuckerberg and Gates did not graduate from Harvard. They got in, but they never finished their course and dropped out in between. So, technically, they are not alumni. They were just students of Harvard.

    Nonetheless, a very nice read…

    1. Thank you Siddharth :). I agree and in fact neither did Matt Demon, however the colloquial usage of Alumni is a graduate, the word Alumnus can also be used for the student or a pupil of a school. However there are debates on both ends as to how the words can be used, I guess we have taken the liberal usage here :).

      Thank you for your thoughts Siddharth, nice to hear from you 🙂

      1. Siddharth Muzumdar · Edit

        Hey Vinay

        Yes I agree with what you said. In fact, that is why I said ‘technically’. In the modern usage of the word, it is absolutely fine to use it the way you have. 🙂


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