Letter from the Director
Dear parents, and other responsible adults:
We are excited to be hosting your daughter or son this summer at Harvard University. The summer school staff is diligently putting on the final touches for 2017, so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running on June 17.
The academic and residential routines of our students parallel those of college students. Secondary School Program is not a high school program; it is a college program for high school students. We encourage independence in our students, who are responsible for planning their own time.
As director of the Secondary School Program, I understand that launching a child into a college environment is no easy matter. The first priority of all the program staff is student safety. (Second is academics.)
Through published rules and orientation meetings, we advise them on safe, common-sense practices—such as traveling in pairs or in a group after dark—and that alcohol and drug use is strictly prohibited. Also the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) is highly regarded for being student-friendly and keeping our community safe.
Managing Time Away From Home
Whether you live far away, or if your child has not previously spent much time away from home, separation can be difficult for both you and your teenager. Much has been written about the emotions that separation engenders in children and adults, and I especially recommend the articles of Perri Klass, MD, in The New York Times, as helpful in these matters.
In any case, I urge you to advise your child to talk with us about any problem while they’re here. That is what we are here for: to help students. How to ask for help is a valuable lesson they may learn here, if they don’t know it already.
Preparation for the Future
While each experience varies, most students who complete their studies here report a greater sense of social independence and academic confidence, a raft of potential lifelong friends, and a deep understanding of at least one academic subject—possibly sparking a new interests.
Other benefits may accrue, such as good grades and a Harvard transcript to help in college applications, along with improved study skills and an understanding of the myriad of resources available to them at a university. Many also gain a measure of skill in doing their own laundry!
I sincerely hope your student has an outstanding summer, both personally and academically.
Very truly yours,
Bill Holinger, Director
Harvard Secondary School Program