Letter from the Director

Bill Holinger, director of the Secondary School Program

Bill Holinger, director of the Secondary School Program

Dear parents, and other responsible adults:

We are excited to be hosting your child this summer at Harvard University. 

The academic and residential routines of our students parallel those of college students. Secondary School Program is not a high school program; it is a college program for high school students. We encourage independence in our students, who are responsible for planning their own time.

Student Safety

As director of the Secondary School Program, I understand that launching a child into a college environment is no easy matter. The first priority of all the program staff is student safety. Second is academics.

Through published rules and orientation meetings, we advise them on safe, common-sense practices—such as traveling in pairs or in a group after dark—and that alcohol and drug use is strictly prohibited. Also, the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) is highly regarded for being student-friendly and keeping our community safe.

Managing Time Away From Home

If you live far away or your child has not spent much time away from home, separation can be difficult for both you and your teenager. Much has been written about the emotions that separation engenders in children and adults. It may be helpful to have a good talk with your student before they leave, acknowledging feelings and making plans for communication—especially in the first few days of the program.

In any case, I urge you to advise your child to talk with us about any problem they might have while they’re here. That is what our program staff are here for: to help students. How to ask for help is a valuable lesson students may learn here, if they don’t know it already.

Preparation for the Future

While each experience varies, most students who complete their studies here report a greater sense of social independence and academic confidence, a raft of potential lifelong friends, and a deep understanding of at least one academic subject—possibly sparking a new interest.

Other benefits may accrue, such as good grades and a Harvard transcript to help in college admissions, along with improved study skills and an understanding of the myriad of resources available to them at a university. Many also gain a measure of skill in doing their own laundry!

I sincerely hope your student has an outstanding summer, both personally and academically.

Very truly yours,

Bill Holinger Signature

Bill Holinger, Director

Harvard Secondary School Program

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