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Undergrad Profile

Harvard College is more than the sum of its many celebrated parts. 

It is, most of all, a home—a place where you can belong. History tells us that everyone’s college experience is different. Maybe so. But at Harvard there are certain experiences everyone will share. And a strong, personal sense of community is one of them.

Our students represent all regions of the United States and more than 80 foreign countries. You and your classmates will embody a panorama of interests and aspirations. You’ll have goals and you’ll work hard, but you’ll also have time to relax and enjoy the company of friends.

Learning at Harvard
Incredible range, depth, and variety will characterize your Harvard academic experience. World renowned for the quality of our teaching and research, the College will supply you with the tools to build a highly individualized and rewarding undergraduate course of study.

If you are looking for a college with resources, we have a few: 70 individual libraries, a 3,000-acre forest research station, 12 teaching museums, a 265-acre arboretum, 24 campus buildings devoted to science and research, multiple theaters and performance spaces, 42 varsity athletic teams, and 450 student organizations, for starters. You’ll also be able to cross-register at most of Harvard’s graduate and professionalschools, as well as MIT, which is just down the street. And we boast all the resources that Cambridge and Boston have to offer, cities that combine colonial charm with the energy and accessibility of a modern urban setting.

Home at Harvard
During your freshman year, historic Harvard Yard will be your home. You’ll be surrounded by other first-year students, living in the very heart of campus. As a sophomore you’ll move into a House. These are residential colleges where students live, dine, study, plan events, play intramural sports, and become part of a close, supportive community that include faculty and advisors. For many Harvard students, the Houses represent the most rewarding elements of both social and academic life.

We hope to enroll students who will educate each other within a variety of campus settings—academic, extracurricular, and social. Some admission candidates will demonstrate extraordinary promise in academic or research endeavors. Some will show uncommon talent in other areas such as leadership, performing arts, or ath
letics. Most of our students combine the best of both scholastic and extracurricular achievement. Personal qualities—integrity, maturity, strength of character, and concern for others—also will play an important part in our evaluation.

Financial aid
We bring the best people to Harvard, regardless of their ability to pay. About 60% of our students receive some form of aid. Applying for financial aid does not jeopardize any student’s chance for admission, including international students. Indeed, the Admissions Committee may respond favorably to evidence that a candidate has overcome significant obstacles, financial or otherwise.

All of Harvard’s financial aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need—there are no academic, athletic, or merit-based awards. We do not require students to take out loans, and parents of financial aid recipients are asked to contribute on average from 0%–10% of their annual income.




Did you know...
• You can afford to go to Harvard. Harvard was named “best value” by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, nearly 60% of Harvard families (including those international) pay an average of only $12,000 per year, with no loans required. About one-fifth of our students’ parents pay nothing for them to attend Harvard.
• You can get undergraduate research funding at Harvard both for term-time and summer projects. Lots of it! This past year 1,500 students participated in undergraduate research, receiving a total of more than $5 million in project funding—and that’s not counting internships and mentorships.
• You can fit a football field in the clean room of the Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering. There’s room for it—although you may not want to mix football with some of the most sophisticated tools and equipment for nanoscale science in the country.
• You can study more than 80 languages at Harvard. Harvard offers a large array of languages, including over 20 African languages and nearly a dozen Near Eastern ones. You can study languages ranging from Chinese, Arabic, and Russian to Classical Nahuatl, Old Irish, and Yoruba.
• You can savor the collections at the Harvard museums. In fact, with 5,334,500 pieces, it might take you
all four years to explore them.
• You can make friendships that will last a lifetime. In your House, on the field, around a seminar table, or across a pizza, you’ll meet and get to know people who will enrich your thinking, your life, and your career.

Our Academic Life by the Numbers
12 median course size
3,500+ courses
450+ general education classes
130 Freshman Seminars
80+ ancient and modern languages
49+ undergraduate concentrations
400+ freshman advisors
60+ secondary fields
7:1 student-faculty ratio 

“At first, I never thought going to a college like Harvard would be possible because of the high cost of attendance. When I learned that Harvard meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students, I realized that my seemingly impossible dream was a very achievable reality.” 
— Laura Doherty ’19, New York