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The Real 1%: Harvard Admits 15 Transfer Students

By Petey E. Menz, Crimson Staff Writer

From a pool of 1,448 applicants, 15 students were admitted to Harvard College in the 2012 transfer admissions cycle, putting the acceptance rate for students who start their time at Harvard as sophomores or juniors at approximately 1 percent.

“The admits are a fantastic group,” said Christine Gibbons Mascolo, the director of transfer admissions. “We think that they can really add to the [Houses] and College as a whole, even in small numbers.”

The applicant pool shrunk slightly from last year’s admissions cycle, when 1,488 students sought to transfer to Harvard. Fifteen students were accepted last year as well.

Mascolo said that the College, still within memory of its two-year moratorium on all transfer admissions, will probably accept a similarly tiny number of transfer students again next year.

“It’s done by a committee and we’re looking for the same kinds of excellence. I don’t expect any changes right now,” Mascolo said.

She added that the transfer admissions process mirrors the process for freshmen admissions, though with a much smaller applicant pool. This year, 5.9 percent of the 34,302 freshman hopefuls were accepted.

Rishi Goel ’15, an admitted transfer student from the University of Texas at Austin, said he was in disbelief when he first read his acceptance email.

“I couldn’t even call my parents because it was too surreal,” Goel said.

Goel said that he was attracted to Harvard because of its biomedical engineering degree as well as its liberal arts curriculum. But he is also looking forward to the New England environment.

“The cold weather is going to be such a relief from the Texas heat, and I cannot wait to get rid of my cedar fever,” he said of an allergy that plagues many central Texas residents but is nearly unheard of in Cambridge.

—Staff writer Petey E. Menz can be reached at

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