Hmmm...I think anything less than a 2250+ SAT without a hook, and you should not bother applying to Harvard. 75% percentile SAT score on each section is 800, 25th percentile is 700+, so I don't see the decreased emphasis on academics.

Not only should you have 2250+ SAT, but you should excel in a variety of ECs. Even then, chances of getting in are slim, since many other applicants have the same stats.

Madeinuk, I think you will find that the elite schools in the US - maybe those with admit rates below 20% - have lots of gifted students. Eldest DD knows several PG kids, and they are now at elite schools. These kids are finally happy and challenged. There are finally some others like them, so they don't have to converse with kids like mine (who are gifted, but not anything like these kids - though they do still converse in a social sense).