Pre-College Program Admissions

The Summer 2020 term has ended. Programming, course offerings, and policy updates for 2021 are currently in the planning stage. Information will be released later this year culminating with an updated Summer course catalog at the end January 2021. Sign up for updates today so you won’t miss out next summer.

Eligibility for 2020

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

  • Will graduate from high school and enter college in 2021 or 2022
  • Are at least 15 years old by December 1, 2019, and will not turn 19 years old before July 31, 2020

How to Apply

Do not complete the application on your smartphone. Please use a laptop or PC. Keep in mind that you may only apply for the Pre-College Program or the Secondary School Program. 

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 2019 grades: This can include progress reports, report cards, and educational summaries from your high school
  • Rules and Media Release online form: You can request a link be sent to your parent or legal guardian in the application
  • If English is not your native language, submit scores from the TOEFL iBT or IELTS language proficiency exam along with your application

The account must be created, and the application must be completed, by the prospective student and not by parents/guardians, agents, counselors, or anyone else.

Application Tips

  • No fee is required to start your application. You will be asked to pay the nonrefundable application fee only upon submitting the application. 
  • Review expectations for TOEFL and IELTS Academic tests (non-native English speakers only). The scores of successful applicants are typically above 103 on the TOEFL with 25 on the written section; IELTS are at least a 7.5 score with 7 on the written section. We do not accept Cambridge English Exam or TOEFL iTP test scores. Be sure to schedule your test appointment as early as possible, so that the test does not delay your application. You can also submit an interview and writing sample from InitialView to supplement your application, but these cannot replace the TOEFL or IELTS scores.
  • Choose your program before you start. Keep in mind that you may only apply to one program: the Pre-College Program or the Secondary School Program.
  • Use a desktop or laptop when completing your application. You will be asked to write short essays as part of your application. This may be challenging to do on a mobile phone. Therefore, we advise using a desktop or laptop computer for completing your application.
  • Watch your inbox—you’ll receive an email prompting you to log in to check your application status after you’ve completed your application.

Admissions decisions are only valid for the summer term in which you apply. You may not defer admission to the program to a subsequent summer term. 

Application Deadlines

Financial aid is limited and subject to availability of funds. If you require financial aid, please complete your application as soon as possible. 

Application Type

Application Period

Decision Released

Early Decision and Priority Financial Aid
Submit your application by this date to receive a decision before course registration begins. If you would like to apply for a need-based scholarship, please fill out the financial aid section of the program application.

December 2 through January 31 at noon February 25 by 5 p.m.

Regular Decision and Financial Aid
Submit your application by this date to receive a decision before the full-payment deadline. If you would like to apply for a need-based scholarship, please fill out the financial aid section of the program application. Financial aid will be awarded subject to availability of funds.

January 31 through March 13 at noon

April 7 by 5 p.m.

Late Decision
Full payment is due upon registration for all accepted students. Financial aid is not available to late applicants.

March 13 through May 15 at noon
(or earlier if all course waitlists are full)
Decisions released on a rolling basis within 3 weeks of completed application.

All deadlines are 11:59 pm eastern time unless otherwise specified.

Selection Process

We will evaluate all information submitted—including transcripts, current grades, counselor reports, and your short essays—when considering your application.

International Students

According to US State Department guidelines, international students participating in the Pre-College Program do not qualify for F-1 student visas as this is a non-degree program that requires less than 18 hours per week in the classroom.

Participants should apply for the B-2 tourist visa (citizens of some countries may not need visa stamps but will need pre-approval through the ESTA system) which allows for brief stays—usually less than six months—that may include participation in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree.

Consult the US embassy or consulate in your country if you have any questions about visas, country-specific policies, or the necessary documentation for your visit.

Please visit the US Embassy website to locate the embassy in your country.

Harvard University continues to monitor the evolving outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Out of an abundance of caution, we encourage you to be as flexible as possible with your summer travel plans. Proceed with your planning if it makes sense for you to do so, and consider alternative options if the situation continues to worsen. In addition to your own health and safety, please keep in mind payment deadlines and refund policies, visa application requirements, and travel logistics when making your decision. We recommend checking this advisory and the Harvard Coronavirus website frequently for updates.

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