Freshman Application Process
Thank you for your interest in Harvard College. We know there are many fine colleges and universities from which to choose, and we are happy that you are looking closely at the exciting opportunities available here in Cambridge.
When to Apply
You may apply to Harvard under either our Early Action or our Regular Decision program. Designed to provide freedom and flexibility for our applicants, both options allow students to compare admission and financial aid offers from other institutions and to wait until May 1 to make a final college choice.
- Early Action candidates apply by November 1 and receive notification by December 13.
- Regular Decision candidates apply by January 1 and receive notification by March 28. While the final deadline is January 1, it would be very helpful to us to receive your application by December 15 so that we can create your admissions file as early as possible.
For more information about whether to apply to Harvard (or other colleges) under Early admission, please refer to the Early Action section of this website.
- We require the SAT or ACT with Writing, as well as two SAT Subject Tests. Students should not submit two Subject Tests in mathematics to meet this requirement. Candidates whose first language is not English should ordinarily not use a Subject Test in their first language to meet the two Subject Test requirements.
- In order for your application to be considered complete, we must have official test scores submitted directly to Harvard by the testing agency on your behalf. If we do not receive your official scores from the testing agency, we will be unable to make an admissions decision. Please plan accordingly.
- While Harvard honors the College Board's Score Choice program and allows you to submit tests taken as late as January for consideration, we advise Regular Decision candidates to complete and submit at least one component of the required tests (SAT or ACT with Writing or two College Board Subject Tests) by the end of November. This will allow us to begin our evaluation process for those submitting applications by December 15.
- For Early Action candidates, we hope to receive all testing results by the end of October, but students are still eligible to apply using the November series. Those results will arrive in time for consideration without the need and expense of "rush reporting."
General Application Tips:
- Keep copies of all materials submitted and ask your teachers to do the same. Materials can be lost in the mail.
- Supplementary materials or portfolios may be submitted, but you should do so only if you have an unusual talent. Such materials are neither required nor expected as the required components of the application provide ample basis on which to make our decisions. Because we cannot return materials, applicants should send only duplicates.
- Write about what matters to you. There are no "right" essay topics and no "right" answers.
The answers to many questions about admissions requirements and deadlines are included on the following pages. For an expanded list
of frequently asked questions and their answers, please consult the FAQs.
Each admission decision is made without any regard for a candidate's financial need — a policy we call "need-blind admission." Indeed the Admissions Committee may respond favorably to evidence that a candidate has overcome significant obstacles, financial or otherwise. Once an applicant is admitted, we create an individual financial aid package that will enable any aid applicant's family to meet the cost of attendance. Providing financial access to Harvard for every admitted student is one of our highest priorities.
We hope you will take every opportunity to explore whether Harvard might be a good match for your academic, extracurricular and personal interests. Advice from your college counselor, your family and the many publications on college admission may help, as might a visit to Cambridge or a conversation with one of our more than 10,000 alumni/ae who help us recruit students in all 50 states and around the world.
Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you during the admissions process. Best wishes for a happy and productive year.
(A more detailed list can be found on the Application Requirements page.)
$75 Application Fee or Waiver
SAT or ACT
2 SAT Subject Tests
Secondary School Report and Mid-year School Report
Two Teacher Evaluations
(A more detailed list can be found on the Application Timeline page.)
||Begin taking the required tests
||Please send your Common Application or Universal College Application
The $75.00 fee or fee waiver
||We will begin our careful evaluation of Early Action applications.
||Early Action applicants should submit their standardized tests by the end of October, but are still eligible to apply using the November series.
||Final Deadline for all Early Action application materials. You must send ALL application materials by this deadline for Early Action consideration.
||Early Action candidates must who are applying for financial aid should submit the initial components of their financial aid application.
||We will begin our careful evaluation of Regular Decision applications.
||Last acceptable testing date for Early Action consideration.
||Early Action decisions will be released.
We will begin our careful evaluation of Regular Decision applications.
||Final Deadline for all Regular Decision application materials. You must send ALL application materials by this deadline for Regular Decision consideration.
||Last SAT testing date for candidates
||Last ACT testing date for candidates
||Mid-Year School Report forms should be submitted with most recent grades.
||Financial Aid Deadline
||Reply date for admitted students