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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 two academic exploration, two college readiness, two social and residential activities, and
two trips and recreation events, as well as three community engagement meetings with your Resident Director (RD) during your two-week session. Read more about the types of activities that might be available to meet these requirements.

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.

When will I find out about my housing assignment?

Students will receive an email from housing closer to the start of the program which provides instructions on locating your housing assignment.

How can one specify their dietary restrictions for dining?

Harvard University Dining Services is committed to helping you with your dietary needs. Whether you have religious restrictions, a vegan or vegetarian diet, or simply need assistance with your food selections, your dining hall manager can provide the resources to help you make delicious choices, safely, and easily. If you have a dietary restriction, such as a food allergy or intolerance that requires an accommodation, please contact the Accessibility Services Office at (617) 998-9640 or email

If I’m staying for 2 sessions, will I have to leave in between sessions? Will I stay in the same room?

Students attending multiple sessions are allowed to stay in their rooms over the weekend in between sessions. We also offer proctor lead activity options for these students that they can sign up for ahead of time.

Is there a shuttle bus that can come pick me up from the airport?

There is no organized transportation to and from the airport. Students are responsible for their transportation to and from the program. We recommend taking a taxicab, especially if you have heavy luggage. The cab ride costs $35 to $40 and takes 15 to 20 minutes. 

Public transportation is also available. The commute is longer, but it costs less than $3. The Silver Line bus will take you from the airport terminal directly to the Red Line subway, which has a stop in Harvard Square. More comprehensive information about arrival and directions to the check-in location will be posted closer to the start of the program.

Where can I find information about COVID-19?

We encourage all Harvard Summer School applicants to check the Harvard University COVID-19 information website as well as the Harvard Summer School updates page for any updates on policies and procedures regarding how COVID-19 will impact our programs. Once students are admitted, they will receive any important communications to the email address provided in their application.

Are there exceptions to the minimum age to enroll?

Due to Massachusetts state law and other governmental and University policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including testing protocols and treatment practices, Harvard Summer School has determined that all students enrolled in Harvard Summer School must be 16 years of age or older as of June 18, 2022.

This is a recent change to the age requirement. If you had planned to apply to Harvard Summer School and no longer meet the age requirement, we hope you will plan to apply next year.

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.