Record-Breaking 6 Malaysians Accepted Into Harvard College For The First Time Ever

The students plan to pursue their studies in a wide range of fields, including Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Economics, Environmental Science and Public Policy, Politics, Sociology, Neuroscience, and Linguistics.

Cover image via Harvard College Alumni Interviewers for Malaysia (Provided to SAYS)

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Six Malaysians have been accepted into the prestigious undergraduate school of Harvard University, Harvard College, for the upcoming academic year — the most in the country's history

In a statement on 2 April, Harvard College alumni and interviewer Nadiah Wan announced that five students were accepted into the college's Class of 2026.

However, in an update on Twitter yesterday, 4 April, she added that a sixth Malaysian, who was interviewed in Singapore, was accepted into the esteemed college too.

"Correction. There's actually six Malaysians admitted this year!" she tweeted.

The alumni said she is thrilled with the record-breaking number of Malaysian students accepted into Harvard College in a single year.

At most, only two students from Malaysia are admitted to Harvard College per year, and sometimes even none.

The six students were selected in stiff competition out of 61,220 international applicants, and at the lowest acceptance rate in the school's 386-year history at 3.19%.

The interviewer highlighted that the Malaysians selected this year come from different states — Johor, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, and Sarawak — and from diverse backgrounds

The Malaysians who made it into Harvard College are:

Chooi Je Qin, who hails from Johor and studied in SMK Sultan Ismail. He is now pursuing A-Levels at Kolej Tuanku Jaafar.

Chooi Je Qin

Image via Provided to SAYS

Herman Leong Xin Yang, who hails from Penang and studied in SMJK Chung Ling. He is now pursuing A-Levels at Kolej Yayasan UEM under a Public Services Department (JPA) scholarship.

Herman Leong Xin Yang

Image via Provided to SAYS

Ishant Shah, who hails from Penang and studied in SMK Bukit Jambul. He is pursuing studies in the Canadian International Matriculation Programme at Sunway College.

Ishant Shah

Image via Provided to SAYS

Carisma Michaele Wong, who hails from Sabah and studied in SM Stella Maris. She is now pursuing A-Levels at Kolej Yayasan UEM under a Yayasan Khazanah scholarship.

Carisma Michaele Wong

Image via Provided to SAYS

Lee Ee Jenn, who hails from Kuala Lumpur, and is now pursuing A-Levels at Garden International School.

Lee Ee Jenn

Image via Provided to SAYS

Alyssa Yap Xin Yi, who hails from Sarawak and studied in SMK Green Road. She completed A-Levels in Anglo-Chinese Junior College in Singapore under an ASEAN Pre-U scholarship and is currently doing an internship before leaving for Harvard.

Alyssa Yap Xin Yi

Image via Provided to SAYS

They also plan to pursue their studies in a wide range of fields, including Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Economics, Environmental Science and Public Policy, Politics, Sociology, Neuroscience, and Linguistics

Nadiah said they all showcased outstanding qualities, including outside of academia.

This includes Chooi competing in various Astrophysics and Astronomy Olympiads, Ishant also being a national squash player, Leong playing the double bass for the school orchestra, Wong having a passion for Kadazan karaoke and language, and Lee representing Malaysia in debate competitions while championing climate action and philanthropy.

"Looking at their backgrounds, it is clear there is no 'one typical Harvard student', though they all share a dedication to pursue excellence in their fields of interest," said the alumni, who is now the group chief executive officer (CEO) of TMC Life Sciences Bhd and CEO of Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara.

Other alumni interviewers, Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang Church service pastor Jacintha Tagal and Khazanah Nasional Bhd head of research Nick Khaw also gave high praise to the students, and underscored that they are all by and large products of the national education system.

"We love that multiple states in Malaysia are represented, demonstrating that outstanding young Malaysians are to be found all over Malaysia," said Khaw.

"The key for us, as a nation, is to give them the opportunities they need to thrive."

Image via The Times

In releasing its admissions, Harvard also announced that families earning less than USD75,000 (RM316,000) annually will not be charged tuition

The university practices 'needs-blind' admissions, which is to ensure that the application process is independent of a student's financial ability to pay.

The amount is an increase from the previous threshold of USD65,000 (RM274,000).

"It has always been the mission of Harvard College to provide educational opportunities to the best and brightest students around the world from all backgrounds, regardless of their social or economic status," explained Nadiah.

"This singular focus on excellence is integral to Harvard's vision to serve as a haven for the world's most ambitious scholars and leaders."

The alumni said this initiative makes Harvard amazingly affordable compared to many other local or international higher education institutions, as all students regardless of citizenship or nationality, receive the same financial aid.

"Malaysia has amazing talent to offer and since finances are not a barrier to attending Harvard College, we would like to encourage more young Malaysians to apply, and we look forward to meeting them," she added.

The six students will join the other Malaysian students who are currently studying in Harvard College:

Here are other Malaysian students who have done us proud:

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