Meet the Class of


Makeup of the Class

By Alexandra A. Chaidez and Samuel W. Zwickel

As Harvard prepares to make the case for race-conscious admissions and a diverse student body on a national stage, more than half of surveyed freshmen setting foot on campus this fall identify as non-white, according to The Crimson’s annual survey of incoming students.

It is the first time more than 50 percent of respondents have identified as non-white since The Crimson began surveying freshman matriculants in 2013. Not all students responded to the survey — though more than 60 percent of the Class of 2022 did so — and it is not the first time that Harvard’s pool of admitted students is majority non-white. That milestone came in 2016.

Even as Harvard’s student body grows more diverse, the school is drawing fire for its consideration of race in the admissions process. Anti-affirmative action advocacy group Students for Fair Admissions has sued the school, alleging it illegally discriminates against Asian-American applicants through the use of quotas, racial balancing, and subjective “personal” ratings.

The lawsuit is set to go to trial on Oct. 15. Harvard is taking heat from other quarters, too — the United States Department of Justice is independently investigating the College and recently asserted its admissions process is likely “infected with racial bias.” Harvard has repeatedly denied these allegations and argued its “holistic” evaluation system is vital to its educational mission.

In the survey, incoming freshmen of color were more likely to report being the first person in their family to attend college than were freshmen who identified as white. White-identifying students were more than 50 percent more likely to report a combined family income of $250,000 per year than were black students.

Each year, as incoming students start packing for their first year at the College, The Crimson emails each class member asking them to fill out a survey. The anonymous questionnaire asks several questions on topics ranging from their religious views to their sex lives to their opinions of current campus and political affairs. Of the 1,661 -member class, 1,064 freshmen responded, representing roughly 65 percent of the class. The Crimson did not adjust the survey results for any possible selection bias.

This first piece of The Crimson’s three-part look into the Class of 2022 examines the the makeup of the incoming College freshman class, analyzing demographic information like ethnicity, gender, and family income of respondents, as well as financial aid and admission statistics.


Class of 2022

In line with the trends of previous years, much of the freshman class is wealthy, white, and straight — and hails from the country’s coasts.

Of survey respondents, 49.8 percent identified as women, 49.4 percent as male, and 0.6 percent as non-binary. About 0.7 percent identified as transgender.

  • Of respondents who answered a question asking about their ethnicity, 46 percent said they are white, 18.1 percent of surveyed students identified as Asian, 14.3 percent as multiracial, 10.7 percent as Black or African American, 6.5 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 3.8 percent as South Asian, 0.6 percent as American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.1 percent as Pacific Islander. That makes a total of 51 percent of respondents who identified as non-white.
  • 81.6 percent of students surveyed said they identify as straight, 7.6 percent as bisexual, 5.4 percent as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 percent queer. Roughly 3 percent indicated that they are questioning their sexual orientation.

A plurality of surveyed members of the Class of 2022 reported being raised on the East or West coasts, with 42.2 percent hailing from the Northeast and 16.0 percent from the West. The Southwestern states — Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma — sent the lowest percentage of students (7.1 percent) to Harvard this year.

  • Twelve percent of surveyed students reported hailing from outside the United States, almost identical to the 12.4 percent of last year’s respondents who did so.
  • The percentage of students who reported coming from rural, suburban, and urban areas also remained consistent with the previous year. Around 10.4 percent of surveyed freshman said they hail from rural areas, while the majority — 61.1 percent — said they live in suburban areas. Roughly 30 percent of freshmen said they come from urban areas.

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of students are from the Southwest.

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of students from the Southwest have a relative that went to Harvard College.

of students are from the West.

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of students from the West have a relative that went to Harvard College.

of students are from outide the US.

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of students from outside the US have a relative that went to Harvard College.

Families & Finance

As in past years, survey results show that the color of a student’s skin appears to correlate with the amount of money their parents make in a year.

White students were more likely than were students belonging to any other demographic to report an annual income above $250,000. About 33.5 percent of white freshmen did so. A much smaller percentage of admits of color — 21.6 percent of black students, 18.9 percent of Hispanic/Latinx students, and 19.7 percent of Asian students — reported a combined family income above that level.

Income levels also appeared to correlate with legacy status. Over a third — 36.3 percent — of students with one or more parent who attended Harvard said they come from a family with a combined income of $500,000 or more.

The percentage of legacy admits may have dipped slightly this year, but the demographics of the group did not alter. Legacy students are still largely white and wealthy, according to the survey results.

Slightly more than 14 percent of surveyed freshmen in the Class of 2022 reported being legacy students, a decline from the 18.3 percent from the Class of 2021 who did so. Documents made public over the summer as part of the admissions lawsuit revealed that legacy applicants benefit from an acceptance rate that is more than five times that seen by non-legacy students.

  • 23.4 percent of survey respondents who identified as white also reported being legacy students. Among Hispanic and Latinx respondents, 13.4 percent said they were legacy students, while 7.4 percent of black respondents did so. Roughly 14 percent of Asian respondents indicated one or more of their parents graduated Harvard.
  • About 53 percent of students with at least one parent who attended college reported a combined family income of over $125,000. Less than 2 percent of legacy applicants said they come from a family with a combined income of $79,999 or less.

The percentage of first-generation students increased from last year, rising from 16.3 percent to 17 percent. The Class of 2022 was the first to partake in a new pre-orientation program meant to help freshmen “from historically marginalized communities” transition to life at Harvard. That initiative had a rocky beginning; Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana at first rejected a proposal to create a similar “bridge program” for these students.

  • Roughly 40 percent of Hispanic/Latinx respondents indicated they are first-generation students, as did 23.7 percent of black students, 14.8 percent of Asian students, and 10.4 percent of white students.
  • First-generation students were more likely to report a lower family income than were non-first generation students, according to the survey results. Roughly 9 percent of first-generation respondents reported a family income of over $125,000. About half — 45.7 percent — of first-generation students said they come from a family that makes a combined income of $40,000 or less.
  • Nearly all first-generation students said they are also beneficiaries of the College’s financial aid program, with 93.8 percent reporting they are receiving financial assistance.

The cost to attend Harvard College is $67,850 for the 2018-2019 academic year, representing an increase of roughly 3 percent from the previous year. A majority of respondents to the survey — 55.4 percent — reported receiving financial aid, similar to the 55.5 percent of the Class of 2021 who reported doing so.

High School Highlights

A record-low 4.59 percent of 42,749 applicants earned acceptance to the Class of 2022 in the most competitive admissions cycle in Harvard history. It was the first time the school’s overall acceptance rate dropped below 5 percent and the fourth consecutive year that this number has decreased from the year before.

  • A majority of freshman respondents — 56.8 percent — said they were accepted during the College’s early action admission cycle. Seventy-six percent of legacy students were also early admits, as were 88.2 percent of recruited athletes and 38.3 percent of first-generation students.
  • The vast majority — 79.8 percent — of student respondents said Harvard was their first-choice college pick.
  • Slightly over a third of surveyed students, 36.6 percent, said they applied to Yale. Thirty-six percent of this group said they were accepted to both Ivy League universities.
  • Respondents indicated they applied to an average of seven colleges or universities and were admitted to an average of five.
  • Slightly more than 19 percent of student respondents reported seeking application advice outside of their high schools from a private college admissions counselor. Of these students, 26.9 percent reported that their parents made more than $500,000 per year; 11.3 percent noted a parental income of less than $40,000.
  • Close to 60 percent of those surveyed said they attended a non-charter public school, 38.1 percent said they attended a private school, and about 0.5 percent said they were homeschooled. Legacy students were more likely to report attending a private school.
  • 69.8 percent of respondents said they attended a secondary school that calculated class rank. Within this group, 72.9 percent reported finishing in the top 2 percent of their graduating classes. Slightly more than 60 percent of legacy students who attended schools that ranked said they finished in the top 2 percent of their classes; 37.1 percent of recruited athletes reported the same achievement.
  • Respondents reported an average GPA of 3.90 on an unweighted 4.0 scale.
  • Students who reported taking the SAT said they did so an average of 2 times. The average score of respondents who reported taking the New SAT was 1512 on a scale of 1600.
  • Students who said they took the ACT reported doing so an average of 2 times. Among these test-takers, the average score was 34.
  • Students who reported taking one or more Advanced Placement tests took an average of 8 examinations.