Admission and Getting Started

The admissions committee looks for mature, academically motivated students who will graduate from high school and enter college in 2014, 2015, or 2016.

You can apply to either:

Begin the application process early. The application requires that you work with others to complete some sections.

If English is not your 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.

  • Monday, March 24: If you will apply for financial aid, complete the Secondary School Program application and the SSP financial aid application by this date.
  • Monday, April 14: International students, complete your application by this date. See the international student instructions.
  • Monday May 5: If not applying for financial aid, complete the Secondary School application by this date.

Be sure to check the program calendar for other important dates.

The SSP application period has been extended.

  • Residential domestic students, last day to complete the application: May 12
  • Commuting students, last day to complete the application: June 13
  • Online students, last day to complete the application: June 13

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.

Complete the SSP application

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 native 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 native language is not English. Take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson PTE Academic test early, 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

  1. Accept your place in the program.
  2. Request housing if you have been admitted as a residential student. Housing is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  3. Register for your selected courses. Courses with limited enrollment fill quickly.
  4. Pay in full.

Complete these steps right away. If you have not completed these steps by May 19, you will be withdrawn from the program.

See the admitted students to-do list for a complete description of these next steps.