Common Questions About the Pre-College Program

I am homeschooled. May I apply?

Yes, we welcome applications from students who are being schooled at home. Adults in the student’s life, other than family, should be asked to submit the counselor report and a letter of recommendation. You can also submit an InitialView interview and writing sample as a supplemental application.

What policies related to conduct should I be aware of?

Be sure to read the Student Handbook and the policy section of the website, both of which outline student responsibilities for conduct, attendance, and academic integrity. Harvard Summer School puts safety first, and program rules prohibiting involvement with alcohol and drugs are an important factor in our effort to provide you with a positive environment for study and growth in the summer. You can learn more about our SMART policies in the Student Handbook.

How many events am I required to attend?

We want you and all students to be engaged and seek out events that they find interesting. You are encouraged to attend as many as possible, but are required to attend at least two events from each of the following categories: academic exploration, college readiness, social events, and trips and activities. Some events will be mandatory, while others may be optional. You register for required events two weeks before your session begins.

Where will I live? What should I pack?

Be sure to read about on-campus housing and dining, your room, and more information for admitted Pre-College Program students.

What do I need to keep in mind when making travel arrangements?

You are required to attend the entire course, including their first and last class meetings. Check-in is the Sunday before courses begin. You may depart following your last class, but no later than 7:30 pm.

Please understand that Harvard cannot take responsibility for students before check-in time on the Sunday of each check-in, or after 7:30 pm on the last Friday of each session. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, minors (below the age of 18) may not check into a hotel by themselves. Please do not make arrangements to arrive before check-in or to leave after the check-out.

For more information about check-in, see the Pre-College arrival guide, available in the spring.

I will fly to Boston, how do I get to Harvard’s campus from the airport?

You are responsible for your transportation to campus. We recommend taking a taxi cab, especially if you have heavy luggage. The cab ride costs $35 to $40 and takes 15 to 20 minutes.

Public transportation is also available. The commute is longer, but it costs less than $3. The Silver Line bus will take you from the airport terminal directly to the Red Line subway, which has a stop in Harvard Square. More comprehensive information about arrival and directions to the check-in location will be posted closer to the start of the program.

Does attending the Harvard Pre-College 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 Pre-College Program offers many opportunities designed to help you navigate the college application process and enhance your performance in a college setting.

How can I be assured of the safety and security while on campus?

Harvard takes safety and security seriously and offers many services, tools, policies, and procedures to help maintain a safe environment on campus. And the Pre-College Program staff is always available for our students. If you have a problem or concern, or if you ever feel unsafe, we offer many avenues of assistance and support.

  • Students can visit the program office any weekday between 9 am and 5 pm. Staff will be on site and ready to talk with them about absolutely anything.
  • Residential students have a representative of the administration living very close by: their proctor lives on the hallway or in the entryway where they live.
  • In an emergency, or after hours and on weekends and holidays, students can call the Harvard Police (HUPD) or visit University Health Services (UHS) After-Hours Urgent Care. The police and health services are available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Common Questions for Parents and Guardians

Can I access to my student’s 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 academic evaluations or class schedule to family members or guardians. Except for information defined as “directory information,” no other information about students is released outside the University—including to parents, guardians, or family members—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 your child checks email daily to ensure they receive important communications.

Will I be able to pick up my student for a short visit during the program?

Keep in mind that the Pre-College Program is an immersive experience designed to keep students intellectually and socially engaged throughout their two-week stay.

Students will have two to four hours of homework each night in addition to all of the social and co-curricular events that are available to them, so they will be busy! The student will miss out on activities and workshops if they leave the program at any time.

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