This year, Malaysia broke records when six local students were accepted and will be continuing their studies in the undergraduate program at Harvard University, the USA for the 2026 session.
It is understood that this is the highest record of admissions from Malaysia to the world's prestigious university. The five Malaysian students are Herman Leong Xin Yang and Ishant Shah from Penang, Chooi Je Qin from Johor, Carisma Michaela Wong from Sabah, and Lee Ee Jenn from Kuala Lumpur and Alyssa Yap Xin Yi from Sarawak.
They were selected from 61,220 applicants with the student enrollment rate for the 2026 class being the lowest in Harvard history at 3.19%. We, Malaysians can't be more proud of them!
If you are one of those people who always dreamt of going to Harvard one day or if you're a parent who wants their child to go to Harvard, here's how you can apply according to Mohamed Aqil Azmi who was accepted in 2020:
# The Application
- contact information and demographics
- fee waiver request
- family: information about your household, your parents, and any siblings.
- education: information about your current school or coursework, academic honours, and future education plans.
- testing: enter your self-reported scores for any standardized tests that you've taken and wish to report to colleges.
- activities: tell schools more about who you are and activities you're involved with outside the classroom.
- writing: Harvard requires the submission of a personal essay with your application.
- Harvard questions: Harvard-specific questions are to get a sense of your current interests and those academic areas in which you have already spent time and effort.
- writing supplement: you can write about anything or refer to the prompts given
That completes your application to Harvard. For a more detailed guide on applying on the applications mentioned above or to find out more about the personal essay and the writing supplement, click here to be taken to Harvard's very own application guide.
# The Interview
If you're shortlisted by the admissions officer, then you will be interviewed by Harvard alumni Wan Nadiah Wan Mohd Abdullah Yaakob or Nick Khaw. They would normally conduct interviews together and meet up with the students one-on-one for about an hour each.
After the interview, they will both discuss their thoughts and agree on some key points and what scores to give the students before filling up the Alumni Interview form online and submitting it to the Admissions Office.
Don't be too stressed out though, Aqil did mention that the interview was pretty chill and little to no academic questions were asked.
# Traits Or Attributes That Stand Out
Some of the main traits or attributes that can help you stand out are categorized into:
- personal qualities: According to Nadiah, this is more about your character. Are you the kind of person who can contribute to a better conversation?
- extracurricular activities and community service: the ability to participate in sports, extracurricular activities or even community service can be a privilege
- academic excellence
- family circumstances: they want to know if you're currently working to support themselves or their family or how you overcame difficult circumstances
What is your dream university? Leave your answer in the comments section!