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Admissions for Secondary School Program

Applications for Summer 2024 open on December 1.

Eligibility For 2024

The admissions committee is looking for mature, academically motivated students who meet both the following criteria:

  • Will graduate from high school and enter college in 2024, 2025 or 2026
  • Are at least 16 years old by June 22, 2023, and will not turn 19 years old before July 31, 2024
  • Please Note: The 4-Week Residential Secondary School Program is currently only open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. International Students can apply to the 7-Week SSP program. Read more about what’s required for 7-Week SSP International Students.

How to Apply

Do not complete the application on your smartphone. Please use a laptop or PC.

Complete an online application and provide supplemental materials, including:

  • The $75 nonrefundable application fee
  • Counselor report: You can request a link be sent to your counselor in the application
  • Transcripts from 9th grade to fall 2023 grades: This can include progress reports, report cards, and educational summaries from your high school
  • Rules and Media Release online form: We require a link be sent to your parent or legal guardian in the application
  • Review expectations for TOEFL and IELTS Academic tests (non-native English speakers only): Most successful Secondary School Program applicants score above 99 on the TOEFL, or 7.0 or above on the IELTS. Be sure to schedule your test early so it does not delay your application. You can also submit an interview and writing sample from InitialView to supplement your application, but these cannot replace a TOEFL or IELTS score. We do not accept Cambridge English Exam or TOEFL iTP test scores.

Selection Process

There will be two admissions deadlines — early application and regular application. After the regular application deadline there will be rolling admissions, if spots are still available in the program.

There is no minimum GPA requirement. We evaluate all information submitted—including transcripts, counselor reports, and your GPA—when considering your application. You are welcome to submit PSAT, SAT, or ACT test scores, but they are not required.

Application Tips

  • Apply early, as space in the program is limited.
  • If English is not your native language, take one of the required proficiency tests early to ensure you get your scores in time to apply early in the application cycle.
  • Track our receipt of your supplementary materials by logging into your application. You want to be sure that we have all of your application materials on hand.
  • When you apply, choose your program thoughtfully. You may apply to only one of Harvard Summer School’s college programs for high school students per year.


When is the early application period?

In 2023, the early application period was from December 1, 2022 through January 25, 2023, a two-month window of opportunity. Applications for Summer 2024 open on December 1, 2023.

Why apply early?

There are several reasons why applying early is a good idea.

It’s less stressful for everyone when you apply early. You avoid the rush and anxiety of applying close to the deadline. You give your parents and other supporting adults more time to do what they need to do to assist you. This includes your counselor, who has a significant role in your application.

More financial aid is available in the early round, so scholarships tend to be larger.

When you apply and are admitted early, you leave yourself ample time to perform necessary post-admission tasks.

Once admitted, you’ll have all of February to call us for academic advising as you choose your courses.

Early admission means you’ll be ready to enroll in courses when registration begins. Registering early means you can reserve your spot in your first-choice classes, even those with limited capacity.

Does attending the Secondary School 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 Secondary School Program offers many opportunities designed to help you navigate the college application process, gain admission to the college of your choice, and enhance your performance in a college setting.

Is financial aid available?

Yes.* Scholarship amounts depend on variables such as family finances, availability of funds, and whether a student lives on campus, commutes, or attends online. Harvard Summer School staff cannot predict how much aid a student may be offered. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for admission to the Secondary School Program and complete the financial aid application by the deadline. All submitted material will be reviewed.

To be eligible:

You must be a US citizen or permanent resident
OR you must be granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status
You must complete the applications and all other requirements on time

See Program Cost for more information.

May homeschooled students apply?

Yes, we welcome applications from students who are being schooled at home. Adults in the student’s life, other than family, may submit a letter of recommendation. One or two letters are sufficient. The Counselor Report cannot be submitted by a family member. If you are unsure of who could complete the form, please email and we can help.

Can my family or guardians gain access to my 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 grades or class schedule to family members or guardians. Except for information defined as “directory information,” no other information about Secondary School Program students is released outside the University—including to parents, guardians, or family members—without the student’s prior written consent, 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 you check email daily to ensure you receive important communications from the Secondary School Program.

What policies related to conduct should I be aware of?

You should read the Student Handbook and the policy section of the website once admitted, both of which outline student responsibilities in areas such as conduct, attendance, and academic integrity. 

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 for Summer 2024 must be at least 16 years old by June 22, 2024. Secondary School Program students also can not turn 19 years old before July 31, 2024.