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How to get into Harvey Mudd—General Information

Harvey Mudd College is a private college in Claremont, California, and is part of the Claremont Colleges, a group of prestigious colleges that share resources and classes across campuses. Harvey Mudd, founded in 1955, is home to just over 900 undergraduate students. The college is known for its focus on STEM disciplines.

What we’ll cover in this How to Get Into Harvey Mudd guide:

  • Harvey Mudd GPA
  • Optimal Harvey Mudd SAT and ACT scores
  • Harvey Mudd acceptance rate
  • Tips for the Harvey Mudd application
  • Writing the Harvey Mudd essay
  • Details on the Harvey Mudd interview, and more.

Harvey Mudd admissions is an increasingly selective process. The college is a top-ranked liberal arts school, and with only 905 undergraduate students, precious few spots are available each year. For students wondering how to get into Harvey Mudd, it’s important to start thinking about the application as early as possible. So, you should maximize all parts of the Harvey Mudd application—including the Harvey Mudd interview, Harvey Mudd essay, your Harvey Mudd SAT scores, and more.

Figuring out how to get into Harvey Mudd takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com has a network of 300+ Admissions Experts and former admissions officers from top schools. Want to maximize your Harvey Mudd odds? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

How do I get into Harvey Mudd?

Curious how to get into Harvey Mudd? As one of the best-known engineering and science colleges in America, Harvey Mudd attracts thousands of hopeful applicants each year. And while its place within the Claremont Consortium gives Harvey Mudd the resources of a large school, its undergraduate enrollment is just 905 students. As such, the competition is fierce.

So, research will be your best friend if you’re wondering how to get into Harvey Mudd. As a small school, Harvey Mudd prioritizes an applicant’s “fit” within campus life. This goes beyond factors like your GPA or Harvey Mudd SAT scores. Instead, it focuses on a more nuanced measure of compatibility. Essentially, Harvey Mudd admissions officers want to imagine what you’d look like as a student on their campus.

The more you research, the better your chances of understanding what it takes to succeed in Harvey Mudd admissions.

How hard is it to get into Harvey Mudd?

The 2021 Harvey Mudd admissions cycle saw 4,737 applicants vying for 473 spots. In other words, the Harvey Mudd acceptance rate was just 9.9%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, less than 10 were offered admission. In addition, the average Harvey Mudd GPA amongst accepted students was 3.96. 

What do all these numbers mean? Harvey Mudd admissions is tough, even for the strongest applicants. For the student planning how to get into Harvey Mudd, make sure you have a backup plan. 

Of course, there are things you can, and should, do to optimize your “how to get into Harvey Mudd” plan. However, the college is a “reach” school for any student. Keep these odds in mind as you apply, and make sure you build a balanced college list with “reach,” “match,” and “safety” options.

What is the required GPA for Harvey Mudd?

The Harvey Mudd GPA is an important metric. Harvey Mudd admissions uses your GPA to determine your college readiness. Specifically, the Harvey Mudd GPA—used along with the Harvey Mudd SAT scores—signals whether a student can handle the rigor of the college. 

So, what GPA do you need to get into Harvey Mudd? Luckily, there is no lower threshold you must exceed for the Harvey Mudd GPA. That said, the average GPA amongst those accepted is 3.96. This means that most successful applicants get primarily As and A+s in advanced classes—a high bar.

By the time you submit your Harvey Mudd application, you won’t actually be able to change your GPA very much. That’s why it’s vital to your “how to get into Harvey Mudd” strategy to start building the foundation for your Harvey Mudd GPA early in high school. 

Challenge yourself in your coursework and commit yourself to earning top marks from freshman year onward. This is the best way to strengthen your Harvey Mudd GPA in advance of the Harvey Mudd application deadline. 

What does the Harvey Mudd application look like?

One of the best ways to inform yourself on how to get into Harvey Mudd is to familiarize yourself with the Harvey Mudd application itself. 

The college lets applicants apply using one of two portals: the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Once you have selected your application portal, you must submit each of the following before the Harvey Mudd deadline:

  • $70 application fee or fee waiver
  • Harvey Mudd essay responses
  • School report and counselor recommendation
  • Teacher recommendation (math or science)
  • Teacher recommendation (humanities, social sciences, or arts)
  • Official high school transcript

The school also allows students to submit Harvey Mudd SAT or ACT scores. The school also offers an optional Harvey Mudd interview. 

Don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing your application—this is not how you get into Harvey Mudd. Talk to your guidance counselor and teacher recommenders early on to ensure everything is in order. Submit your Harvey Mudd SAT or ACT scores in advance of the deadline. You should also begin writing your Harvey Mudd essay responses with ample time for rewrites.

Finally, note that if you decide to participate in a Harvey Mudd interview, you must request one via Harvey Mudd’s website

What extracurriculars does Harvey Mudd look for?

Wondering how to get into Harvey Mudd? Students often make the mistake of thinking there is one set of extracurriculars that will help them succeed in Harvey Mudd admissions. In reality, Harvey Mudd admissions officers look for authenticity in a student’s extracurricular selection. 

So how should you choose your extracurriculars? Spend your early high school years finding the hobbies and intellectual pursuits that most excite you. Then, find activities where you can challenge yourself and advance your passion. Finally, spend your later high school years furthering this interest, pushing yourself to take it to new levels.  

If Harvey Mudd is a fit for you, your extracurriculars should naturally match the student profile they seek—that is, they should revolve around STEM fields. Forcing this fit, however, will only make you unhappy. If STEM subjects don’t spark your interest, you might reconsider your interest in Harvey Mudd. 

What is the acceptance rate for Harvey Mudd College?

In the last cycle of Harvey Mudd admissions, the college received 4,737 applications and admitted just 473. Based on these numbers, the Harvey Mudd acceptance rate is a mere 9.9%. 

For the student strategizing how to get into Harvey Mudd, hearing the Harvey Mudd acceptance rate can be distressing—only 1 in 10 applicants gets in. However, by optimizing your “how to get into Harvey Mudd” plan, you can boost your odds.

There are three deadlines for applying to Harvey Mudd: Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. If Harvey Mudd is your top choice, you might consider applying Early Decision, as the Harvey Mudd acceptance rate is slightly higher in the early rounds.

The college also offers optional application components, including Harvey Mudd SAT or ACT scores, as well as the Harvey Mudd interview. If you’re serious about optimizing your “how to get into Harvey Mudd” strategy, you should submit these materials.

To be sure, the Harvey Mudd acceptance rate is a low number. However, it is not impossible to beat the odds with enough dedication and preparation.

Want to learn more about acceptance rates? Check out our expert guide.

Does Harvey Mudd College offer interviews?

The Harvey Mudd interview is optional. Students who want to complete the Harvey Mudd interview must do so through the school’s website in advance of the application deadline. After requesting an interview, students get matched to an alum and complete a 30-minute interview. 

For the student hoping to optimize their “how to get into Harvey Mudd” strategy, we recommend viewing the Harvey Mudd interview as mandatory. The interview lets you show your personality in a way that can be hard to do within the confines of the written Harvey Mudd application. You can discuss your accomplishments in more detail, explain parts of your background in depth, and make a connection with an alum who can vouch for you. 

If you choose to complete the Harvey Mudd interview, prepare thoroughly by researching the school and reading through the questions listed on the college’s interview page.

How do I write a Harvey Mudd supplemental essay?

Harvey Mudd requests that students write two essays. The first Harvey Mudd essay asks students why they have chosen to apply to Harvey Mudd College, with a 500-word limit. The second Harvey Mudd essay gives students 100 words to discuss their dream HSA (humanities, social sciences, and the arts) class. 

For both essays, make sure you do your research on the school before writing. This is a rare chance within the Harvey Mudd application to show your knowledge of the school. You should seek to prove first, that you understand what makes the school unique and second, that you and the school are a mutual fit for one another. 

Specificity is key in your Harvey Mudd essay responses. The more specific your responses are—specific to both the school and yourself—the more persuasive they will be. Given the low word limits, you should also stay focused. Rather than trying to discuss ten details briefly, pick the points you feel are the most powerful. Then, spend the bulk of your response discussing those.

Don’t write your Harvey Mudd essay responses at the last minute. Give yourself ample time to research, write, and rewrite. Also, ask someone else to read your essays and ensure they are effective. 

Too many students overlook the essays in their “how to get into Harvey Mudd” strategy. The Harvey Mudd essay prompts are a chance to stand out—take advantage of it!

How does Harvey Mudd review applications?

Before the application deadline, students are mostly concerned with how to get into Harvey Mudd. However, after hitting submit on their Harvey Mudd SAT scores, dotting the last i’s of the essays, and sending in the application, a lot of students wonder, what now? What happens to your Harvey Mudd application behind the scenes? 

Applications are assigned to admissions officers based on geographic territory. Harvey Mudd then uses what they refer to as a “holistic application review” process. The college takes into account aspects such as academic history (the Harvey Mudd GPA, Harvey Mudd SAT or ACT scores, and past classes) and extracurriculars, as well as more nuanced factors like personality and perceived fit.

Specifically, Harvey Mudd weighs a student’s academic fit, social fit, and financial fit. In other words: can a student thrive at Harvey Mudd? Will they contribute to campus life? And finally: is the college a financial fit? If the answer to all these questions is a resounding “yes,” your odds of beating the Harvey Mudd acceptance rate look good!

Will Harvey Mudd consider my social media accounts?

If you’re stressed about how to get into Harvey Mudd, you might be weighing every possible factor. This likely includes your social media accounts. This begs the question: will Harvey Mudd look at your social media?

Odds are, Harvey Mudd admissions officers are too overwhelmed with applications to look at your social media. Remember, the Harvey Mudd acceptance rate is just 9.9%—they have a whole lot of applications to get through. So, you probably don’t need to stress too much. As long as you use good judgment and avoid posting anything problematic, it’s highly unlikely that your internet presence will become a factor in Harvey Mudd admissions. 

Is Harvey Mudd a good school for me?

If you’ve been so focused on how to get into Harvey Mudd, you may have forgotten to take a step back and ask yourself if Harvey Mudd is truly the right fit for you. Of course, the college can provide a fantastic education to anyone lucky enough to get in. However, there are still qualities that might not make it the best fit for every student.

As a STEM-focused school, Harvey Mudd attracts students who want to focus primarily on a STEM education. However, Harvey Mudd notably requires students to take ten HAS (Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts) classes. Harvey Mudd also has a Core Curriculum that’s known for being demanding but comprehensive. 

Harvey Mudd is home to just over 900 students, which fosters an incredibly intimate, hands-on environment. While some students may feel limited by the size, Harvey Mudd also offers a collaboration with the rest of the Claremont Colleges. Many students find this to be a great balance between the intimacy of a small school with the resources of a larger campus.

If this sounds great, Harvey Mudd might be the right school for you!

Additional tips to get into Harvey Mudd

In this article, we covered the many aspects of optimizing your “how to get into Harvey Mudd” plan, including:

  • Whether to send the optional Harvey Mudd SAT and ACT scores
  • Building the foundation for a strong Harvey Mudd GPA
  • Writing strong Harvey Mudd essay responses
  • Preparing for the Harvey Mudd interview, and more.

Still feeling uncertain about your odds of beating the Harvey Mudd acceptance rate? We have two last pieces of advice.

First, start early. Once you approach the deadline, it can feel like there are a hundred things on your mind. Don’t let yourself get caught up in a last-minute craze. Instead, start planning your path to college early. Then, you can take it all in stride as the deadline approaches.

Second, research far more than you think you need to. Research is the key to ensuring a school is truly a fit for you. Moreover, research is the root of strong essays and a powerful interview. 

This guide was written by Becky Weinstein. If you want to know how to get into Harvey Mudd, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com has a network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers). Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.