Stay in Touch: high school programs
Sign Up for 2020 Updates
Information on this page applies to 2019 programs only. Our 2020 program information will be online mid-fall. Join our email list, and we’ll contact you when the information is updated.
Accepted into the Secondary School Program? This page will help you stay on top of important deadlines and procedures for participating in the Secondary School Program. Check back frequently for updates and reminders.
|Second round financial aid application deadline||Monday, April 1|
|Course registration deadlines|
|For residential students:||Monday, May 20|
|Program payment deadline||Monday, May 20|
|Housing request deadline (if living on campus)||Monday, May 20|
Accepting your admission to the program
Upon acceptance, be sure to complete the following requirements to participate in the Secondary School Program. It’s important to begin preparation as soon as possible.
All students must:
1. Register for Courses
Browse the courses and make a list of those that appeal to you. See our tips for choosing the right courses below. Be sure to register as soon as possible, because many courses have limited enrollment.
2. Submit Payment for the Program
Payment for the program is required, in full, by Monday, May 20.
- Please note: You will be dropped from courses or course waitlists if payment is not received by this deadline.
3. Make Housing Arrangements
If you are admitted as a residential student, you will be prompted to request housing in online services. You may request housing as soon as you are admitted but no later than Monday, May 20.
See Campus Life to prepare for your time at Harvard.
4. Arrange Travel Plans
Opening weekend is June 22 and 23. Students check in between 9 am and 6 pm on Saturday, June 22. You will be greeted by Summer School staff as soon as you arrive on campus.
If you are staying on Harvard’s campus, you cannot arrive earlier than 9 am on Saturday, June 22. You may leave after you have completed your last academic requirement. You do not need to stay until August 10.
See Parking and Transit and Preparation and Arrival (posted mid-spring).
5. If you are an international student, you may need to obtain an I-20 for study at Harvard.
See the International Students page for more information.
The Secondary School Program is an exceptional opportunity for intellectual growth.
To select the best course for you, we encourage you to:
Consider your interests, goals, and previous experiences. What have you already studied? Is there a subject that you do not have the opportunity to learn about in high school? What might you want to study in college? All courses will be academically rigorous and enable you to step out of your comfort zone and explore topics that you’re passionate about.
Consider course requirements. If you will be a residential student (i.e. living on campus) or are an international student taking an on-campus course, you must enroll in a full-time schedule—either two 4-credit courses or one 8-credit course. International students taking an online course from their home abroad can take one 4-credit course, since they do not require a visa.
Check the prerequisites. Be sure that you meet the requirements to register for the course(s) that interest you. Prerequisites, if any, are listed in course descriptions.
Contact academic advisors for assistance. The Secondary School Program advisors are here to help you choose the best courses for you, before registration and once the program begins.
If taking two courses, be sure to balance your studies. Courses focusing on different subjects provide a well-rounded academic experience. Example course pairs include:
- Calculus I and Beginning Poetry
- Macro Economics and The Architecture of Boston
- Introduction to Psychology and Adolescent Literature
- Expository Writing and Principles of Physics: Mechanics
- Neurobiology and Introduction to Fiction Writing
Be mindful of the academic rigor when selecting courses.
During the first few days of the summer term, you may "shop" classes that you’re not enrolled in. Pending enrollment availability, you may be able to transfer into a different class during this period.
Activities Outside the Classroom
The Summer School and the Secondary School Program offer a rich array of free activities and events.
Athletics. There are many ways to remain active around campus: work out at Harvard gyms, participate in a tennis tournament or swim meet, or join Weld Boathouse and row on the Charles River.
Music. Students may participate in a variety of musical opportunities, including the Harvard Summer Pops Band, Harvard Summer Chorus, and Harvard Summer School Orchestra.
Culture. Harvard museums and libraries are world famous and close at hand. Dance, music, and theater flourish in and around Cambridge, and the city of Boston itself has many cultural, historic, and scientific institutions to explore. You can visit:
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- Museum of Science
- Boston Public Library
- Institute of Contemporary Art
- Museum of Afro-American History
- New England Aquarium
- Freedom Trail
- Fenway Park
Excursions. On weekends, the Summer School sponsors several day-long outings, including trips to Cape Cod, to beaches and shopping centers in Maine, and to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in western Massachusetts.
Additionally, the Secondary School Program organizes several of its own activities, and these include:
- Summer Servers (volunteer for a local nonprofit)
- College Prep Program (ask questions at a College Panel, get help on your college application essay, attend the talk by a Harvard Admissions officer)
- College Fair (meet representatives from over 70 colleges and universities)
- Dances (attend on the first and last weekends of the summer term)
- Talent Show (try-out near the end of the summer)
- Trivia Bowl (put a team together and enter)
Detailed information on Summer School activities is available online through online services and at the Activities Fair on Opening Weekend.