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COVID-19 Update: All 2021 Harvard Summer School courses and activities will be offered online.

Common Questions About the Pre-College Program

I am homeschooled. May I apply?

Yes, we welcome applications from students who are being schooled at home. Adults in the student’s life, other than family, should be asked to submit the counselor report and a letter of recommendation. You can also submit an InitialView interview and writing sample as a supplemental application.

What policies related to conduct should I be aware of?

Be sure to read the Student Handbook and the policy section of the website, both of which outline student responsibilities for conduct, attendance, and academic integrity. Harvard Summer School puts safety first, and program rules prohibiting involvement with alcohol and drugs are an important factor in our effort to provide you with a positive environment for study and growth in the summer. You can learn more about our SMART policies in the Student Handbook.

How many events am I required to attend?

We want you to be engaged and seek out co-curricular events that are interesting and/or outside of your comfort zone. You are encouraged to attend as many as possible, but we require you attend at least one academic exploration and one college readiness event as well as three community engagement meetings with your Resident Director (RD) during your two-week session. Attending social events and virtual admission sessions are optional but encouraged.

Does attending the Harvard Pre-College Program guarantee admission to Harvard?

No. However, attending Harvard Summer School and performing well will strengthen your application to any college or university. Additionally, the Pre-College Program offers many opportunities designed to help you navigate the college application process and enhance your performance in a college setting.

If I cannot attend this summer due to COVID-19 can I defer my acceptance to next summer?

Unfortunately, since your academic grades may change each semester, we will need students to re-apply for next year’s program. You will have the opportunity to indicate within the application that you were accepted the previous year.

How will courses be structured in the online format?

These online web-conference courses meet according to the schedule listed on the course description, and you are required to be present online, live, at the meeting time.

Please see the Web Conference Technology Guidelines for more information.

Please also be sure to view the Student Expectations and Responsibilities before attending your first class meeting.

What type of computer or general technology do I need to participate in the Online program?

Please visit the Web-Conference Technology Guidelines Page before starting your course.

What happens if I miss a part of the course due to technical difficulties? Who should I contact for help with access or errors?

Students who are experiencing issues connecting to their course can contact:

  • Online Support Help Desk (technical questions and computer/software troubleshooting)
  • (617) 998-8571
  • Monday–Thursday, 8:45 am–10 pm
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 am–8 pm


  • Enrollment Services (registration, access, and general questions)
  • (617) 495-4024
  • Monday through Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm, eastern time
  • E-mail

How can I connect with other students participating in the online program outside of class?

The Pre-College Program offers an array of co-curricular programs and workshops that helps you make the most out of your two weeks educational experience. Please visit the Admitted student’s page for further information.

Common Questions For Parents and Guardians

Can I access my student’s application, records, and information?

In accordance with our policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), we cannot release information such as a student’s academic evaluations or class schedule to family members or guardians. Except for information defined as “directory information,” no other information about students is released outside the University—including to parents, guardians, or family members—unless otherwise authorized or required by law.

We communicate by email directly with prospective and current students—not with parents or other third parties. Please be sure your child checks email daily to ensure they receive important communications.

How would the change to the online format affect my student’s awards and payments?

The fee for a Harvard Pre-College Program online session is $3,200. The program fee includes tuition and activity costs for the full two weeks. If you have already paid all fees, your student’s account will be adjusted and any credits will be refunded. If your student was previously awarded financial aid, they will be notified by email if the scholarship amount is adjusted due to the program fee change.

Continue to refer to the Pre-College Program calendar for important registration and payment deadlines. If students determine they no longer wish to take a course in its new format or that they cannot participate online at the local time this summer, they may drop course(s) for a full-tuition refund by May 18, 2020. The Summer School cannot reimburse for lodging, travel, or other course-related expenses.