Harvard College is the coeducational undergraduate program of Harvard University. If you enroll, you will become part of one of the most interesting and diverse American college communities. Our students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, every ethnic and religious background, and across the economic spectrum. They bring a remarkable diversity of interests to share with each other. Harvard is committed to making educational opportunity accessible to all. Admission is based on achievement and promise without regard to financial need. More than 50% of undergraduates receive need-based scholarships, which are available to non-citizens and citizens on the exact same basis.
A world-renowned liberal arts education
Students enrolled at Harvard are broadly educated in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities, as well as trained in a particular academic specialty. There are 50 fields to specialize in, including engineering and applied sciences, and more than 3,500 classes in our course catalog. Each student’s program is individualized, guided by a freshman advisor in the first year and departmental advisors for thenext three years. Though classroom styles vary, the median class size is 12 students. Professors are readily available during office hours each week, and many teach one-on-one tutorials. Ample opportunity is available for undergraduates to participate in research.
A residential community
Harvard guarantees housing to every student for four years, and nearly all students choose to live on campus. The combination of a special residential plan for first-year students and three years in the comprehensive House system for upperclassmen provides students more than simply a place to live.
Residential life that brings students and faculty together is essential to the Harvard experience. Living together in Harvard’s first-year dorms and upperclassman Houses enriches the residential experience. Considering the diversity of their backgrounds and interests, students learn a great deal from one another.
Opportunities beyond the classroom
Opportunities abound in non-academic activities such as dance, drama, music, media, journalism, community service, and athletics. Extracurriculars can educate as well as entertain. Whether singing in a Bach Mass, volunteering in the Cambridge or Boston community, or writing for The Harvard Crimson (the daily student newspaper), students learn about the world and its challenges.
Facilities and location
Superb facilities reinforce educational opportunities. Harvard offers students the largest university library system in the world (nearly 17 million volumes) as well as excellent museums, labs, computer resources, performance spaces, and recreational athletic facilities.
Boston and Cambridge combine New England charm and history with all the energy of a modern urban setting. Boston offers theater, music, sports, and shopping—much of it oriented toward students with limited budgets—and the subway provides an inexpensive and easy way to get around.
There is no set formula for being accepted to Harvard. Grades and standardized test scores are important, but other criteria—such as community involvement, extracurricular activities, and other non-academic experiences—are also considered. As a result, personal essays and recommendations in an application are weighed equally with grades and test scores.
Personal qualities—integrity, maturity, strength of character, and concern for others—will also play an important part in our evaluations.
The SAT or ACT with or without Writing is required of all applicants, and two SAT Subject Tests are normally required, even for those students who will have the results of their own national or international examinations, such as the A-levels or International Baccalaureate. Students who are enrolled in programs such as these are advised to complete the curriculum before applying to Harvard. A strong knowledge of English, including the ability to understand and express thoughts quickly andclearly, is essential for successful study at Harvard.
Admission to Harvard is extremely competitive. Students who are admitted are usually among the top students in their countries or have a highly developed non-academic talent along with superior academic ability.
We are committed to admitting the most able and interesting students, regardless of their financial circumstances or citizenship. The Admissions Committee admits the best candidates whether or not they are aid applicants. About 70% of our students receive some form of aid, with over 50% receiving need-based scholarships.
Scholarships offered to international and American students alike are based on family financial circumstances; we offer no merit, academic, or other non-need scholarships. Fee waivers are available if the application fee presents a hardship.