Fifteen Transfer Students Admitted

Harvard's transfer student admissions rate is a miniscule 1 percent

A miniscule 1 percent—that was the admissions rate for transfer students last year after Harvard decided to accept just 15 students of the 1486 who applied to transfer to the College.

Thirteen students decided to matriculate and join Harvard’s Classes of 2013 and 2014. They represent the second class of transfer students to be admitted since the College reinstated its transfer admissions program last year.

Christine Gibbons Mascolo, a senior admissions officer and director of transfer admissions, said that while the transfer process may invest a significant amount of resources to admit such a small number of students, admitting transfers is worthwhile for the school.

“Some people say, ‘all of this for 12 students?’” Mascolo said, referring to the 12 students who have chosen to live on campus. “But those are 12 students who have the opportunity to be here.”

Transfer applications sky rocketed this year from 614 applicants in 2010 when the College admitted 13 students for an admissions rate of 2 percent.

Vanderbilt University transfer Wade A. Laycook ’14 said that it was these opportunities that drew him to apply, even though he knew that his chances of getting in were extremely slim.

“Harvard offers more opportunities than my previous school. Everyone here seems motivated,” said Laycook, a prospective government concentrator.

Mark R. Jahnke ’13, who transferred from Boston University, said he sees value in a program that allows students to decide they want to seek out a college that better suits their tastes.

“I never expected to get in,” said Jahnke. “I just wanted to know that I had made an effort to get a more enriching experience.”

Transfer students attended an orientation program designed to get them situated for their time at Harvard. Among the planned events were a welcome dinner, a tour of Widener Library, and a lesson in Harvard jargon.

Jahnke described the program as a “fast version of ‘camp Harvard.’”

“So far the community here has been extremely welcoming,” said Laycook. “Everyone in Lowell has just been amazing in terms of getting me on the right track.”

In what Mascolo describes as a “total coincidence,” three of the admitted students previously attended Vanderbilt. Two lived in the same residential hall.

Laycook said that while he knew both of the other students transferring from Vanderbilt, he was unaware that they had applied to transfer to Harvard.

“We were surprised,” Mascolo said of the coincidence. “We see applications from all over the world.”

—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at jworland@college.harvard.edu.

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