Harvard is one of the best universities in the United States. With "Harvard graduate" on your resume, doors open. Getting into the school requires more than desire; students need high grades and competitive test scores. If you have poor grades, getting into Harvard will be hard but not impossible. It's a matter of accentuating your strengths.
Visit Harvard's website to determine requirements for undergraduate admission. Since you don't have top grades, it's important to know what else the admissions board looks for so you can amplify those qualities.
Earn high ACT or SAT scores. Use ACT/SAT study guides, study groups and school and community resources to prepare for the tests and score as high as you can. Have your scores sent to Harvard from the testing board.
Highlight your extracurricular activities, especially those in which you held leadership roles. Show Harvard's admissions review board that you are capable of handling responsibility, thinking independently and excelling in a team.
Write an admissions essay that makes you stand out from other applicants. Be unconventional; display your originality. Discuss your ideas and goals. Explain why you want to attend Harvard and what hardships you've overcome to reach your goals. Display how your experiences have made you stronger and wiser.
Declare on the application whether or not you are a minority. If you've encountered difficulties resulting from your minority status, write about it in your admissions essay. Schools seek diversity in their student bodies.
If you don't have money for college, say so. Besides your grades, if the rest of your application is stellar, the school might give you a scholarship.
Provide letters of recommendation from respected sources. If your parents have famous or successful friends, have them write letters endorsing your application. If you were the star of your high school's football team, one of your letters could be from your coach. If the admissions board sees that you're highly thought of by prominent people, it may help overcome your low grade point.
Take a year off. Use this time to decide what you want to do. Follow your passion and create something extraordinary. Apply to Harvard for the next school year. The life experience you will have acquired may override your poor grades.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.