Would JFK Get Into Harvard Today?

Last Updated Jan 21, 2011 11:36 AM EST

College legacies enjoy a significant advantage when they apply to Ivy League universities, but despite the JFK during Congressional campaignlegacy boost would John F. Kennedy have gotten into Harvard today?

I looked at the college application that JFK sent to Harvard in the 1930s, which the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum recently released. JFK's college application was dreadful.

Here, for instance, is JKF's explanation for why he wanted to attend Harvard:

The reasons that I have for wanting to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there, as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then to, I would like to go to the same college as my father. To be a 'Harvard man' is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.

Lackluster Student

Kennedy's grades at the Choate School, where he attended high school, were mediocre.

As for college recommendations? In a recommendation letter, about the best that Edward E. Moore, a close friend of his dad, Joseph P. Kennedy, could muster was that the young Kennedy was "reliable and dependable."

In a letter to Harvard, JFK's father wrote that "Jack has a very brilliant mind for the things in which he is interested, but is careless and lacks application in those in which he is not interest."

If Kennedy was applying today, I assume that Harvard would send him a "Dear John" letter.

What do you think?

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JFK college application image by clairity. CC 2.0.