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Harvard University

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In Cambridge, Massachusetts, there is a private Ivy League research institution called Harvard University. The first patron of Harvard College, a Puritan priest named John Harvard, had it named after him when it was established in 1636 as Harvard College. It is now one of the most prominent colleges in the world thanks to its stature, riches, and influence.

The Massachusetts colonial assembly approved the foundation of Harvard College to train congregational pastors. Throughout the 18th century, its curriculum and student population underwent secularisation. By the 19th century, Harvard had become the most prestigious intellectual and cultural institution among the Boston elite. During the American Civil War, Charles William Eliot established several allied professional schools, transforming them into a cutting-edge research university. James B. Conant oversaw the institution through both the Great Depression and World War II, and after the war, he liberalised admissions.

The Harvard Radcliffe Institute is one of the university’s eleven academic faculties, offering study in a broad variety of undergraduate and graduate academic areas. The 209-acre Cambridge campus, centred on Harvard Yard, and the medical campus in the city’s Longwood Medical District make up Harvard’s three major campuses. Harvard has a $50.9 billion endowment, allowing it to enrol students regardless of their ability to pay and provide financial assistance without the need for loans.

Harvard, World's Richest University, Sees Endowment Skyrocket to $53.2B

Harvard has been home to numerous heads of state, including eight US presidents, 49 Nobel laureates, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners, seven Fields Medalists, members of Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars, and Fulbright Scholars. There are 188 living billionaires among its graduates, the most of any institution, and fourteen Harvard-affiliated Turing Prize winners. In addition to founding several renowned businesses, students and graduates have won 110 Olympic medals, including 46 golds, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 10 Academy Awards.

Explore Programs Available at Harvard

Browse the graduate and undergraduate degrees offered by Harvard’s 13 Schools and learn more about admissions requirements, scholarship, and financial aid opportunities. We also offer executive education, certificate programs, and online courses for professional and lifelong learners.

  • African and African American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Art, Film, and Visual Studies
  • Astrophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Business Administration and Management
  • Chemical and Physical Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry and Physics
  • Classics
  • Comparative Literature
  • Comparative Study of Religion
  • Computer Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Sciences
  • EnglishEnvironmental Science and Engineering
  • Environmental Science and Public Policy
  • Environmental Studies
  • Folklore and Mythology
  • Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • Government
  • Government
  • History
  • History and Literature
  • History and Science
  • History of Art and Architecture
  • Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology
  • Integrative Biology
  • International Relations
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Music
  • Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Neuroscience
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Romance Languages and Literatures
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Social Studies
  • Sociology
  • South Asian Studies
  • Special Concentrations
  • Statistics
  • Theater, Dance, & Media
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality


The Future is Calling

Harness your curiosity and learn about the world—and yourself. Through our liberal arts and sciences curriculum, you’ll discover how to use your passions to build a bright future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Paying the admissions application fee is a hardship for my family. Can I get a waiver?

We are committed to making the application process accessible for all students. If the admissions application fee presents a hardship for you or your family and you plan on applying for financial aid, the fee will be waived. Please follow the steps below to request a fee waiver:

Common Application

  1. Select “Yes” when asked “Do you feel that your financial circumstances might qualify you for an application fee waiver?” Confirm that you meet at least one of the indicators of economic need.
  2. If you do not meet one of the indicators of economic need, select “You can provide a supporting statement from a school official, college access counselor, financial aid officer, or community leader.” Harvard will not ask you to provide a supporting statement and your application will not be penalized if you select this option.

Coalition Application, Powered by Scoir

  1. Confirm that you meet at least one of the indicators of economic need listed in the Fee Waiver section of your Profile.
  2. If you do not meet one of the indicators of economic need, you may enter the Harvard-specific fee waiver code on the payment page: JH3S5Q2LX9

Transfer Applicants

  1. Please see the Transfer Application Requirements for information about requesting a transfer application fee waiver.
  • What admissions criteria do you use?
    There is no formula for gaining admission to Harvard. Academic accomplishment in high school is important, but the Admissions Committee also considers many other criteria, such as community involvement, leadership and distinction in extracurricular activities, and personal qualities and character. We rely on teachers, counselors, and alumni to share information with us about an applicant’s strength of character, his or her ability to overcome adversity, and other personal qualities.
  • How can I track material that I’ve sent your office?
    For prospective students, given the tremendous volume of material sent to our office , we are unable to confirm receipt. Rest assured that if we discover we are missing necessary financial aid application materials or have any questions we will be in contact with you (by email or phone) after the student is admitted. Current and admitted students can always check the status of their application on my.harvard.
  • How can I add new accomplishments/awards/accolades to my submitted application?


On this page


We consider each application with care.

When reading an application, we get to know the person behind the numbers. We take into consideration your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, personal qualities, and life experiences. Just as there is no typical Harvard student, there is no ideal Harvard applicant. We look forward to learning more about you.

Frequently asked questions about applying

  • Have my application materials been received? (Including Common Application forms, or supplemental materials)
    Upon receipt of your application, we will send you a confirmation email with instructions on how to access the Applicant Portal. This portal allows you to view your record in our applicant database, to see which pieces of your application we’ve received and processed, and to make other changes to your application.
    The data is updated nightly from the main admissions database and has the most up-to-date information available from our office. If you have sent us required materials that are shown in your status as not received, it is possible that those documents are being processed (along with thousands of others) in our office and simply have not yet made it to your file. Though we can not track each individual’s materials upon request, we will conduct a thorough scrutiny of all files prior to committee evaluations. You will be contacted if you are missing required documents, and you will be given the opportunity to re-submit them without penalty.
  • How can I add new accomplishments/awards/accolades to my submitted application?
    We understand that you might receive new recognitions or awards after you’ve submitted your application. We welcome the submission of this additional notable information. You may upload information about notable accomplishments and awards using the Applicant Portal.
  • When do I need to submit test scores if I want them considered in my application?
    We are test optional for this admissions cycle. If you decide to submit scores for consideration, they need to be reported by the following deadlines: Scores from applicants applying for our Restrictive Early Action program must be reported by the end of November. Scores from applicants applying for our Regular Decision program must be reported by the end of February.
  • Do I need to complete an alumni interview for my first-year application?
    Applicants are assigned interviews at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, based, in part, on availability of alumni in your local area. Nearly 10,000 alumni/ae volunteers help us recruit students from all 50 states and around the world, but most areas do not have the capacity to interview all applicants. Your application is considered complete without an interview and will receive a full and thorough evaluation. In most cases, the Admissions Committee has sufficient information in the student’s application materials to reach an admissions decision. If the Committee would like more information about a student or has questions about any application materials, someone may reach out to schedule an interview.

Starting an Application

For all first-year and transfer applicants, your first step will be to fill out and submit an application. You can do so through the Common Application which opens on August 1 or the Coalition Application – Powered by Scoir, which opens on September 1.

We have no preference and each application is treated equally by the Admissions Committee.

Common Application

Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir

Application Requirements

All applicants—both international and U.S. candidates, first-year and transfer—must complete the following application components:

  • Common Application or apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir
  • Harvard College Questions for the Common Application, or Coalition Application Harvard supplement
  • $85 fee (or request a fee waiver)
  • SAT or ACT (with or without writing) – optional for 2022-2026 application cycles
  • Optional: AP or other examination results
  • For first-year:
    • School Report (which includes a counselor letter) and high school transcript
    • Teacher Report (2)
    • Midyear School Report (after your first semester grades)
    • Final School Report (for admitted students only)
  • For transfer:
    • College/Dean’s/Registrar’s report
    • Official College Transcript
    • College Instructor Recommendations (2)
    • Official High School Transcript

Click below to learn more about each component.

First-Year Applicants

Transfer Applicants

Visiting Undergraduate Students



We encourage you to start planning for your college applications as early as possible. For many students, this means beginning the process during the spring of Junior year in high school. Starting early will help to ease any stress that might arise later in the process.

Quick Links

Admissions Deadlines

November 1

Restrictive Early Action application deadline – learn more about Restrictive Early Action.

January 1

Regular Decision application deadline

March 1

Transfer application deadline

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