Harvard GPA Impact on Acceptance Rate

Harvard business school is ranked first and it is incredibly difficult for applicants to get admitted. If you are applying, then you might wonder what is the minimum Harvard GPA requires in order to have a decent chance of acceptance. I analyzed the data from GMAT Club application data to discover the relationship between Harvard GPA and acceptance rate.

Harvard GPA MBA Acceptance Rate Business SchoolUpdate: I have posted a more up to date analysis of Harvard Business School acceptance rate which looks at how GPA, GMAT and application round impacts your chance of admission.

At Harvard GPA is Not Important Unless it is Very High or Very Low

As you can see, the acceptance rate between 3.0 and 3.79 is relatively flat. GPA only seems to have any impact if you are above 3.8 or below 3.0. The acceptance rate for Harvard is higher in the 3.0 to 3.39 range than 3.4 to 3.79. This is likely due to low sample size in the lower GPA range. Although the acceptance rate is 0% below 3.0 in my dataset, I don’t think there is no chance of getting in, it is just very challenging.

At Harvard GPA only starts to help you when your GPA is 3.8 or higher. The average acceptance rate at Harvard is 12%, but it is 20% for applicants with a 3.8 or higher. I could not find any data published by Harvard on average GPA or GPA range. In my dataset, the average GPA of an applicant was 3.55, but the average GPA for someone who was accepted was 3.66. The middle 80% for Harvard GPA was 3.2 to 3.98, which means that 10% of those applicants that Harvard accepts have a GPA of 3.98 or higher.

In summary, if you are applying to Harvard, don’t stress out too much about your GPA as long as it is at least 3.0. Having a somewhat low GPA isn’t going to hurt your chances very much. Harvard only seems to care about how high your GPA is if you have a low GMAT score.

For this analysis, I used data from September 2011 through February 2014. There were 774 applicants in my data set.

4 thoughts on “Harvard GPA Impact on Acceptance Rate

  1. James

    Does this include 2+2? If so, it might skew the data since GPA is probably weighted more heavily for 2+2 applicants.

    1. admin Post author

      That is a great question. My data does not indicate whether the person is applying as a 2+2. I looked back at the data and only 27 people out of over 700 people were aged 23 or younger. I am assuming that the vast majority of 2+2 applicants are 23 or younger, so I don’t think the 2+2 has much of an effect on this analysis. I imagine that if you are applying as a 2+2 then your GPA would be much more important.

  2. jerry

    This is total bs. I got in with a cumulative 2.5 gpa to HBS. Worked in PE and had a low 600 gmat. At the end of the day its about can they get you a job after school.

    1. Wayne Atwell Post author

      Congrats on your success. These graphs were built with a limited amount of sample data so they are not perfect. A more up to date model which used more data can be found here. I plugged your stats into my model and it predicts you had a 1% chance of getting into Harvard. However, it doesn’t take into account metrics such as the prestige of your undergrad institution, quality of your recommendations or if your parent bought the school a new building. Assuming you are not just trolling me, getting in with a 600 / 2.5 is extremely unlikely given that median GMAT is 730 and average GPA is 3.66. Each of your scores is more that two standard deviations away from the mean. So congrats on beating the odds, take advantage of the quality education at Harvard.


Leave a Reply