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Common Questions About the Secondary School Program

When is the early application period?

Early application lasts from December 1 through January 26, a two-month window of opportunity.

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 on March 2. Registering early means you can reserve your spot in your first-choice classes, even those with limited capacity.

How do I ensure that I choose courses that will enhance my college application?

The Secondary School Program staff members have a lot of experience advising high school students. We will work with students to help them select courses that suit their skills, interests, and goals. Because we are intimately familiar with the summer course offerings, we can help ensure that you enroll in courses that will help you succeed.

Our office is open Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. Contact us for more information or email us to set up an advising appointment.

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 January 26 deadline. All submitted material will be reviewed. 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, 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.