Harvard Summer School programs for high school students were hosted online this year. While many look forward to a planned return to on-campus programming in 2022, virtual courses were a rich and engaging experience for students all around the world.

We spoke to some students from our 2-week Pre-College Program and 7-week Secondary School Program to see what they enjoyed most about their courses this year and the biggest impact the programs have had on them. 

Here’s what students had to say about summer 2021: 

What did you most enjoy about your courses? 

Lia Leszcz
Lia Leszcz

“The thing I enjoyed the most about my classes was learning alongside motivated, interesting, and open-minded peers. I was able to learn a lot from my amazing professor and from my classmates. Sharing different perspectives and getting to know about realities different from mine was definitely a highlight from my class.” – Lia Leszcz from Quito, Ecuador | 2021 Secondary School Program Student


Ansh Gupta
Ansh Gupta

“It feels great to be a part of such an esteemed program that offers university-level study experience, knowledge, and fresh perspectives to look at things. I thank the Harvard Library for furnishing us with an ocean of books, articles, and book reviews and Andrea Mayrose, my assistant dean, for all the guidance.” – Ansh Gupta from New Delhi, India | 2021 Secondary School Program Student


Noor Huda
Noor Huda

“I truly enjoyed having classes in a seminar style that encouraged asking questions to learn. I formed such a deep bond with those in my class through our shared passion for the topic as well as our learning journey that we shared.” – Noor Huda from St. Louis, Missouri | 2021 Secondary School Program Student


“The small class sizes offered in the Pre-College Program allowed for a very niche and specialized experience. Not only was I given the opportunity to have one-on-one teaching with my instructor, I worked with all my peers. This is a unique component of the Pre-College Program as it differs from a conventional high school classroom. As all students came from different cultural backgrounds and carry their own personal stories, I learned so much more from my interactions with each student in my class.” – Alexandra Boushey from Ontario, Canada | 2021 Pre-College Program Student


What was the most beneficial or impactful part of your Harvard Summer School experience?

Kristina Nasteva
Kristina Nasteva

“After only two weeks of classes, I feel much more knowledgeable and open to critical thinking. Through assigned readings, discussions, and projects, I got to taste what the college experience would look like. After completing the Harvard Summer School’s Pre-College program, I feel ready to embark successfully on my next academic journey, which is going to college.” – Kristina Nasteva from Bulgaria | 2021 Pre-College Program Student


“My Harvard Summer School experience helped me to broaden my ways of thinking and to explore all of the numerous facets of academia and art. I have learned valuable information in both film and psychology that will help the way I think as an artist who creates to make people feel. I gained new perspectives on films and topics, from my professor and my peers alike. I am very grateful to also know that there are other people my age equally invested in learning more, as well as adding their own thoughts to the classroom space.” – Hannah Alexis from New Orleans, Louisiana | 2021 Pre-College Program Student


Christine Sinn


“The most impactful part of my Harvard Summer School experience was the people I met. Harvard Summer School not only gave me the chance to learn from people, but it also created a space where I could question, solve, and discuss with people. I had the chance to engage with problems around the world and the people working on solving these problems. I was able to challenge the current status quo, explore daring solutions, and discuss the ideas and passions that shape the people I met. With all of my professors, peers, and mentors at Harvard, I was able to step forward with an expanded perspective of the world.” – Christine Sinn from Aldie, Virginia | 2021 Pre-College Program Student