Admission and Getting Started
Attention: The SSP application has closed for those who need on-campus housing. Commuters and distance learners can still apply using the paper application form.
The admissions committee looks for mature, academically motivated students who will graduate from high school and enter college in 2013, 2014, or 2015.
You can apply to either:
- The Secondary School Program (SSP)
- Or the Secondary School Intensive English Language Program (SIEL)
Begin the application process early. The application requires that you work with others to complete some sections.
If English is not your primary (or native) language, you must submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson PTE Academic score along with your SSP or SIEL application. Schedule your test appointment as early as possible.
Key application dates
Ensure all application materials are received as soon as possible. Because enrollment is limited, some students may be placed on a waiting list.
- December 10: Application period begins.
- Mid-January: We begin reviewing applications and informing students of decisions by e-mail. Thereafter, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and students are informed of a decision within two weeks.
- Monday, March 25: If you will apply for financial aid, complete the Secondary School Program application by this date.
- Monday, April 15: International students, complete your application by this date. See the international student instructions.
Be sure to check the program calendar for other important dates.
How to apply
Step 1: Complete the online application
Most of the application can be completed online. Supplemental materials must be mailed. All application materials must be written in English or translated into English.
Step 2: Send in your supplemental materials
The following materials must be submitted for your application to be reviewed (they cannot be e-mailed or faxed):
- Writing sample. Send in an essay in English that has been reviewed and graded by one of your teachers. Your essay can be on any topic. Poems, short stories, or lab reports cannot be substituted.
- Teacher report (for SSP applicants only). To be provided by one of your teachers from the current academic year. You can e-mail a teacher through the online application or give the paper form to a teacher along with a stamped and addressed envelope. If your primary language is not English, you must have your English teacher complete this form.
- Counselor report. You can e-mail an advisor, guidance counselor, or school head through the online application. Or you can complete the applicant section on the paper form and give it to one of them to complete (along with a stamped and addressed envelope).
- Transcripts. Remind your counselor to submit a complete transcript with your current grades, in English, with the counselor report. Your transcript (along with the additional grade reports, if necessary) should document your academic performance from ninth grade though the most recent, or current, grading period.
- The IELTS, TOEFL, or Pearson PTE Academic score if your primary language is not English. Take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson PTE Academic early test, even if you plan to apply to the SIEL program. For information, refer to the ETS-TOEFL or IELTS, or Pearson PTE Academic websites. The Harvard Summer School institution code is 8578.
Step 3: Track your application progress
You can track the receipt of your application materials after the application period begins and you have completed and submitted your online application.
Admission forms and materials take up to two weeks to be logged in the database. Please do not call the SSP office and ask whether we have received your materials. Delivery of mail can be delayed, as can the data-entry process.
Once admitted, complete these steps as soon as possible
- Request housing if you plan to live on campus (housing is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis).
- Register for your selected courses (courses with limited enrollment fill quickly).
- Pay in full.
Complete these steps right away. If you have not completed these steps by May 20, you will be withdrawn from the program.
See the admitted students to-do list for a complete description of these next steps.