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SAT Scores of Recruited Athletes Trail Other Students by 160 Points, Per Class of 2027 Survey

By Rahem D. Hamid and J. Sellers Hill, Crimson Staff Writers

This is Part III of The Crimson’s Class of 2027 survey series. Part I is here, Part II is here, and Part IV is here. Full data and visualizations can be found here.

The SAT scores of recruited athletes in the Class of 2027 trailed those of non-athletes by more than 160 points, according to The Crimson’s survey of the freshman class.

The disparity was greater than seen in recent years, with recruited athletes averaging a total score of 1368 and non-recruited students scoring an average of 1531. Recruited athletes who took the ACT also received lower composite scores, earning an average score of 31 versus 34.3 for non-recruited students.

The finding comes amid national debate on how race, legacy, and recruited athlete status should factor into college admissions processes, particularly those used by the College.

Recruited athletes in the Class of 2027 were also less racially diverse than the wider school population. More than 62 percent of recruited athletes were white, with no other ethnicity making up more than 10 percent of recruited athletes. This number is down from the 83 percent of recruited athletes in the Class of 2025 who are white.

The third part of The Crimson’s four-part survey of the Class of 2027 examines the class’ academic and extracurricular backgrounds as well as their views on artificial intelligence.

Around 45.8 percent of students in the Class of 2027 completed The Crimson’s freshman survey. The survey, which was open from Aug. 21 until Sept. 23, included questions about their backgrounds, beliefs, political views, social media use, and the application process.

The Crimson did not account for potential selection bias in its analysis of the survey results. Because of rounding, statistics may not total to 100 percent.

Before Harvard

Predictably, in high school, the Class of 2027 excelled.

Almost half, at more than 47 percent, said they were in the top two percent of their high school class, though more than 35 percent said their high school did not rank. To achieve their grades, a plurality of respondents — 35 percent — reported studying, on average, for less than 10 hours a week, followed by approximately 29 percent who said they studied between 11 and 19 hours a week.

The average SAT and ACT scores reported by members of the Class of 2027 were 1522 and 34.2 respectively, though these numbers varied along athlete and legacy status. The average SAT score among legacy students was 1543, while it was 1515 for non-legacy students.

An overwhelming majority of the Class of 2027 is also experienced in high-level math. Ninety percent of the class reported they had completed math coursework in high school at the level of calculus or higher.

Students hailing from private or public charter schools were also more likely to have completed math coursework above the level of calculus — 38 and 35 percent, respectively — when compared to the 25 percent of students who completed the same level of coursework at non-charter public schools.

Outside the classroom, community service was the most popular high school extracurricular activity among the class, with more than 70 percent of respondents saying they had volunteered in high school.

Athletics and student government were also popular pursuits, with 53 and 40 percent of respondents saying they participated in the activities, respectively. At their high schools, just over 23 percent of the surveyed freshmen reported serving as student body president.

Plans for Harvard

In keeping with past year, the Class of 2027 reported they were largely happy with where they ended up for college.

More than 75 percent of the surveyed freshmen said Harvard was their first choice, and more than 41 percent were admitted early. Roughly half — 46 percent — of surveyed freshmen applied to a certain New Haven-based institution, and just under 38 percent of applicants were admitted.

For the seventh time in a row, freshmen were most likely to anticipate studying Economics, Government, or Computer Science. In keeping with previous years, recruited athletes were more likely to study Economics than non-recruited students, at 19 percent and 13.7 percent, respectively. Still, this trend was less pronounced than it was for the Class of 2025, which saw 36.7 percent of recruited athletes express interest in Economics.

Approximately 33 percent of surveyed members of the Class of 2027 said they were planning on concentrating in one of the three fields, with Economics being the most popular. Currently, the Economics Department is the College’s largest by undergraduate enrollment.

A similar percentage of respondents — just under 32 percent — said they were planning on pursuing a joint or a double concentration, but more than half said they were unsure. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted to implement double concentrations for the first time in fall 2023 following student and faculty advocacy.

Notably, at 34 percent, female students were more likely to indicate interest in pursuing a joint or double concentration when compared to the 29 percent of male students who did so.

Approximately two-thirds of students, at just under 66 percent, said they were planning on pursuing a language citation, a secondary field, or both.

Respondents said they expect to be studying a lot more at the College than in high school: approximately 42 percent of respondents said they anticipated studying between 20 and 29 hours per week. Just 2 percent expected to study for less than 10 hours a week.

Artificial Intelligence

The Class of 2027 was divided on the value of artificial intelligence in higher education.

While nearly half of the surveyed freshmen said that artificial intelligence would have an extremely positive or somewhat positive impact on higher education, just under 30 percent said it would have a somewhat negative or extremely negative impact.

Forty percent of students who identified as “very progressive” said they believed AI would have a somewhat negative or extremely negative impact on higher education, compared to 31 percent of progressive students, approximately 20 percent of politically moderate students, and a quarter of conservative or very conservative students.

Nevertheless, more than 35 percent of very progressive students said they believed AI would have a somewhat positive or extremely positive impact on higher education, as well as half of conservative or very conservative students.

A minority of the freshman class — 23 percent — said they had used AI to help complete high school coursework. Nearly 96 percent of students said they did not plan on submitting AI-produced work in college, and more than 81 percent of students said they had never cheated in an academic context.

—Staff writer Rahem D. Hamid can be reached at

—Staff writer J. Sellers Hill can be reached at Follow him on X @SellersHill.

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