Why is Harvard University a Top-Rated School?

Year after year, Harvard University is one of the top-ranked schools in College Raptor’s Top 50 Best Colleges – and for good reason! If you’re thinking about applying to Harvard, here are some things you should know about why the school is so good and why it’s regularly ranked high by College Raptor.

Harvard University - Best Research Universities

Chensiyuan via Wikimedia Commons

Harvard University Was Ranked #1 by College Raptor for 2024

For the 2024 Top 50 Best Colleges in the United States by College Raptor, Harvard University came out on top! Regularly ranked one of the best schools in the country, College Raptor’s rankings take a number of factors into account when naming the top colleges and universities. These include diversity, endowment, graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios, first-year retention rates, and more. 

College Raptor also named Harvard the:

A Short History of Harvard

A private Ivy League research university, Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Initially, it was founded as Harvard College (named for its benefactor, John Harvard) in 1636. By the 1800s, the school was one of the most prestigious among Boston’s elite. Women were admitted in the late 19th century and the school experienced rapid growth during the 20th. 

Green earnest logo.

Jump into next semester with a no-fee, flexible private student loan

Variable rates from 5.62% - 16.85% APR with auto-debit

Learn More

Fast Facts

  • Student Enrollment: 31,345 
  • School Motto: Veritas (Latin for “Truth”)
  • Newspaper: The Harvard Crimson
  • Student Nickname: Crimson
  • School Colors: Crimson, white, and black
  • Mascot: John Harvard
  • Some Famous Alumni: John Adams, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Theodore Roosevelt, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michelle Obama, Ketanji Brown Jackson, T.S. Eliot

Why is Harvard University a Top Rated School?

Harvard University’s student body and faculty are world-renowned for their exceptional academic abilities. Home to cutting-edge facilities and libraries, they offer a wealth of research opportunities and conduct groundbreaking research in a number of fields. Harvard also has a strong sense of tradition, an extensive alumni network, a low student-to-faculty ratio, and a robust financial aid program.

Harvard University has produced Presidents of the United States, living billionaires, Olympic athletes (who have won 110 medals), Fulbright Scholars, Rhode Scholars, and others who are outstanding in their field. Students and faculty are committed to research, innovation, public service, and overall learning. The university is also known for its amazing traditions and outstanding athletic programs.

The Stats

The statistics behind Harvard University demonstrate why it’s not just a good school, but a top-rated school in the United States:

  • Four-Year Graduation Rate: 87% (#49 in the United States)
  • Student-to-Faculty ratio: 7: (#99 in the United States)
  • First Year Retention Rate: 96% (#44 in the United States)
  • Endowment: $41,894,380,000 (#1 in the United States)
  • Diversity: #80 in the United States 
  • Admitted Class of 2026: 1,984

How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting into Harvard?

Over 61,000 students applied to Harvard University in 2022 – and only 3% were accepted. To say Harvard is highly selective would be an understatement! It is extremely difficult to get into the university, so a plan is necessary. 

Here are some tips for increasing your chances of getting the coveted acceptance letter from Harvard University:

1. Aim for Top Grades, a Rigorous Schedule, and a Passion for Learning

A 4.0 isn’t enough to increase your chances of getting accepted to Harvard. Students need to get high grades along with a rigorous schedule. This means taking tough classes such as Advanced Placement (AP) and doing well in them. Students should also take steps to learn outside the classroom through extracurricular activities, internships, and other opportunities.

2. Do Well on the SAT/ACT

Harvard University is technically test-optional, but they highly recommend that students submit their SAT or ACT scores as they prefer to have them. On average, accepted Harvard students have between a 34-35 ACT Composite score or between 1,500-1,550 on the SAT. Taking practice tests, working on your weaknesses, and partnering with a tutor can help increase your score on these exams.

3. Show Community Involvement

Harvard also values students involved outside the classroom, who demonstrate leadership and aim to improve the world around them. Athletics, student clubs, and volunteer work will go far on these applications!

4. Apply Early

Did you know that applying under Early Action can actually improve your chances of being accepted? These applications are non-binding, so you can apply to other schools under Early Action, too. However, it is important to note that more students are applying early these days, so competition will still be fierce. 

5. Make Your Application as Strong as Possible

In order to stand out, your application needs to showcase why you’d be an excellent addition to Harvard. Not only should you list all of your accomplishments and activities, but you will need a stellar essay and outstanding letters of recommendation. 

Harvard University has an almost 400 year history, is globally renowned for its academic and research programs, and produces students who go on to achieve amazing things. It’s clear from the statistics why Harvard is a top-rated school for 2024! Learn more about Harvard University, acceptance chances, cost, and more right here.

Do you think Harvard University is a good fit for you? Do you want to see how you stack up against other students aiming to get into top-rated universities and colleges? Our College Match tool shows you your accepted odds. Sign up for free here.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.