Harvard Summer School provides an opportunity for schoolchildren aged between 15 and 18 to participate in short-term summer intensive courses at one of the most famous universities in the world. Summer programs open up an excellent opportunity to acquire everyday life skills on the university campus, as well as strong academic and language training. However, a high tuition fee, entry competition and serious requirements for students during the selection of participants should be mentioned. The article deals with strong and weak points of the two summer programs for schoolchildren at Harvard University.

Harvard Summer School — Varieties

ProgramCostDurationDates
Pre-University/College Program4,500 USD+2–6 weeks24 June — 3 Aug.
Secondary School Program12,500 USD7 weeks23 June — 11 Aug.

Secondary School Program

Seven-week programs allow you to take one or two courses choosing from over 200 courses covering different fields of knowledge from more than 60 disciplines. Courses are run by lecturers who teach students at Harvard, including invited speakers. At the end of the course, (depending on the specifics of the chosen course) students will have to take an exam, prepare a written paper or demonstrate their own project.
This program presents an opportunity to request a transcript of passed courses and earn academic credits that can be taken into consideration when doing a bachelor's degree in the USA in the future.
In addition to classes, a student can attend workshops, travel to nearby colleges, including Yale and Brown Universities. Masterclasses are given on different topics: application preparation for admission to the university, individual selection of a suitable university to enter, some features of taking exams at universities, etc.
Flexible timetable, the need to choose the courses by yourself and to draw up the schedule will suit not every teenager, especially when a young student studies abroad and in an unfamiliar environment.
A student will have to plan his/her leisure activities and free time by him/herself.

Pre-College Program

This two-week program offers a choice of more than 30 courses in all major fields of knowledge at each two-week session. The program implies a daily (from Monday to Friday) attendance of one of the courses.
The program is divided into three sessions: 24 June — 6 July, 8-20 July, 22 July — 3 August. Therefore, for example, the courses in astronomy in each session are devoted to one special topic:
  1. ‘Introduction to astronomy,’
  2. ‘Life in the universe,’
  3. ‘From stars to planets: are we alone in the universe?’.
At the time of entrance, a student can apply to all three sessions and stay at Harvard for six weeks in order to maximize immersion in the particular field of knowledge. But the price in this case will also be multiplied proportionally to the time spent on courses.
Classes are held in groups of from 10 to 18 people for three hours a day. Two hours a day students do their homework, and the rest of the time is divided among workshops that are designed to prepare future students for study at an American university. The number of students who can enroll on one course is limited, so if the application is approved, you must go to the choice of the desired course as soon as possible.
Trips to the university campuses of the Ivy League and New England, the opportunity to visit sports events in Boston, to take part in university sports and creative competitions.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available at Annenberg Hall — a historic dining hall of Harvard built in the Neo-Gothic style of dining rooms at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK.
The program is not designed to earn credits and attend university courses.

List of Subjects Studied at the Pre-College Program

  • Anthropology and archeology,
  • astronomy,
  • biology,
  • comparative literature,
  • computer science,
  • creative writing,
  • digital media,
  • economics,
  • engineering sciences,
  • English,
  • history,
  • history of science,
  • law studies,
  • management,
  • mathematics,
  • philosophy,
  • physics,
  • psychology,
  • religious studies,
  • sociology
  • visual culture.

An Example of the Harvard Summer School Schedule

This example is provided on the basis of a two-week Pre-College Program in physics for the second session (from 8 to 20 of July).
7:30—8:30Breakfast
8:30—11:30Classes in the ‘Introduction to quantum physics’ course
12:00—13:00Lunch
13:15—17:00Participation in workshops, seminars or homework doing
17:00—18:00Dinner
18:00—20:00Free time or time to do homework
23:00Bedtime

Entry Requirements for Harvard Summer School



ProgrammeAgeTOEFLIELTSDeadline
Pre-College Program15-18 years old1037.57 May
Secondary School Program15-18 years old1037.523 Apr.
  • The English language. To be admitted to Harvard University you should know English at advanced level. In other words, a student will have to be fluent in the foreign language to enter the summer school. It should be noted that particular attention is given to the written part of the examinations. So, in the TOEFL iBT exam, you need to score 25 points in the written part, and in the IELTS exam, the minimum score in this part is 7 points.
  • Online application. To participate in summer schools it is necessary to prepare an application on the university's website. The documents acceptance begins on the 1st of December, and the application form is filled in in English.
  • Information on school performance. It is necessary to provide the information about school performance and recommendations. GPA score will be calculated on the basis of the transcript of grades. If you want, you can submit the results of PSAT tests, SAT or ACT, but for schoolchildren it is not an obligatory requirement. The documents must be translated into English and notarized.
  • Recommendation letter. A school teacher must write one recommendation letter in English. It is better when the recommendation is written by the teacher of the subject which you are going to study in depth at the summer school.
  • Essay is required for participation in the summer school on the Pre-College Program. A student should tell about his/her motivation by him/herself, about his/her educational priorities, as well as about the reasons why he/she wants to participate in this or that summer school program.
  • Deadline. Acceptance of applications begins on the 1st of December, so it's better to have the documents collected and submitted no later than mid-April. The last days for applications acceptance are 23 April and 7 May.
  • Visa. A B-2 tourist visa is required to study at the Pre-College Program because the total number of hours of classes per week is less than 18 hours. To study at the junior and senior high school program you will need a F-1 student visa. For its preparation it is necessary to request I-20 form after notification of admission to the Harvard Summer School.

Additional Expenses at Harvard Summer School

The course cost includes tuition fee, food and campus accommodation, but part of the expenses will have to be paid separately.
Registration fee50 USD
Medical insurance100 USD-200 USD
Transportation expenses (air tickets, transfer)from 500 USD
Expenses for study materials75 USD-300 USD
Visa expenses250 USD
Laboratory feesUSD-300 USD
Food expenses outside the campus75 USD-150 USD / week
Other personal expenses75 USD-150 USD / week
Taking IELTS or TOEFL test180 USD-260 USD

The Process of Admission to Harvard Summer School

Admission to the summer school at Harvard University is a complicated process, and the entry competition here is one of the stiffest in the world, therefore it is recommended following each item carefully:

  1. The appropriate program selection;
  2. Taking the necessary language exams TOEFL ibt or IELTS and getting an appropriate certificate;
  3. Preparation of documents from school: a transcript of grades for the last three years, a recommendation written by a teacher;
  4. Notarized translation of the transcript into English;
  5. Motivation essay writing;
  6. Application preparation and submission for participation in the summer school and waiting for an answer from the admission committee (about three weeks). The admission committee informs about its decision by e-mail;
  7. Request for I-20 form and student visa preparation (for the Secondary School Program), or tourist B-2 visa (for the Pre-College Program);
  8. Full cost of the course payment.
Admission to the Harvard Summer School is a complicated process that requires maximum attention to every detail and a properly prepared package of documents. If you doubt that you will be able to cope on your own with all the details of documents preparation for Harvard, UniPage specialists are ready to offer their professional help:
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Min. tuition fee4,500 USD
Min. total cost6,290 USD+
Duration2–7 weeks
Age of students15–18 years old
Average GPA score3.5
Accommodationuniversity campus
Min. IELTS7.5
Min. TOEFL103
Location on map