Harvard Summer Programs

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Three university students lounging in the school

Harvard Summer Programs

The ‘Harvard’ name never fails to inspire awe, excitement, and perhaps a touch of nervousness for its sheer grandeur. In fact, Harvard summer programs are an excellent opportunity to experience college life if you are a freshman or sophomore and seeking new opportunities during the summer.

Associated with almost 500 years of premier Ivy League history, Harvard’s undergraduate university is spread across 200+ acres of sprawling land, housing 79 of the best (individual) libraries in the world, along with the legendary Harvard stadium, and an elite residential campus that takes in about 1,600 exceptional students every year. Phew!

It is no wonder that its alumni include world-class leaders, athletes, artists, academicians, surgeons, and several other phenomenal professionals. Ironically, many of them began their tryst with this glorious school, with the smaller Harvard summer programs.

Now as a high school student, your first few thoughts may be, “Can I get in, and more importantly, will I fit, into this champion dynasty?” Well, the team at AdmissionSight is here to help you find out, through student-friendly Harvard summer programs.

 a student carrying her books

Why consider a Harvard summer program during high school

Traditionally speaking, high school has always been considered a time to balance school activities, with playful, innocent FUN. “Study hard and play equally hard,” seems to be the motto of many a carefree high school student.

In fact, this is often considered a reasonable way to develop well-rounded individuals early in their academic career. And the weeks leading to summer, with its outdoor-friendly weather, are hence reserved for lively extra-curricular activities.

For instance, academically inclined students are more likely to use this time with outdoor study groups, so they can still get an early start on their advanced program classes (which are immensely useful for college credit), and thus ensure a successful school year. For those who are into sports, they prefer to further enhance their fitness with intense athletic activities.

Some students may use this time to enroll in unique summer jobs that also contribute positively to their college fund. And some others may use this time to build a diverse set of unique experiences, perhaps through travel, skill development activities, personality building workshops, and so on.

All of these are indeed fantastic options. At AdmissionSight, we recognize this driving need of students to enjoy a multi-dimensional and superlative, learning experience. Harvard summer programs are arguably the best place to enjoy this, as the institute continues to remain the world’s leading university. (And it has stayed that way for centuries!) Their programs are hence consistently pursued by the most ambitious of students, determined to do it all, together, at the world’s leading Ivy League university.

As you will discover below, Harvard summer programs offer a once in a lifetime experience that can catapult your life, not just in terms of international college recognition and credit, but also in grooming you to be a responsible and thriving citizen every moment.

2019 High school students pose with their academic advisor at Harvard

Harvard summer programs are offered in 2020

This year, the university is conducting 2 types of Harvard summer programs that are ideal for high school students.

  1. Pre-college program: This is a 2-week residential, non-credit program, offering a fascinating glimpse into the Harvardian way of life.
  2. Secondary school program: This is a 7-week advanced program offering credit for university courses, and is hence ideal for those who are committed to attending college after high school.

Both programs are offered to high school students (ages 15 to 19), and offer diverse yet extraordinary experiences. The rest of this blog explores these programs in detail, so you are empowered to make the best choice.

The pre-college Harvard Summer Program

This Harvard summer program is designed to introduce high school students to college life, a transformative experience that occurs 24/7, day after day, week after week. Accordingly, students are enrolled into this course with on-campus living facilities.


  • Stay in Harvard’s famed undergraduate houses, thus sharing suites with other undergraduates, mentors and resident directors. This is as close as it gets to the Harvardian way of life!
  • Savor the culinary delights served at Harvard’s dining halls, which are as famous for their nutritious food as they are for their banter-filled atmosphere. This includes 3 daily meals all through the 2-week stay, and a surprise night-snack to re-invigorate your brain.
  • Choose among a wide variety of (100+) courses, without credit. Popular choices include English, creative writing, law, the sciences, philosophy, religious studies, public speaking, and plenty more. In fact, the university believes that by doing away with the structured grading system typically associated with credits, this program offers high school students a rare opportunity to fully delve into their academics, without any imposed limits.
  • Gain exclusive access to the Harvard “Pre-college passport” – an innovative mechanism to encourage hesitant scholars to take part in appealing extra-curricular events. These can include thought provoking workshops, skill-enhancing sessions, informative seminars, friendly debates, and more. These may even be far outside the classroom – like a football game cheering the Harvard athletes, or an illuminating trip to a renowned museum.

Perhaps the piece de resistance comes in the form of the acclaimed Harvard-yard scavenger hunts, an exhilarating experience that has endeared college life to many scholars over the years. All events are accessible to enrolled students, and are an inherent part of the transformative experience.

As you can see, this 2-week summer program sure does pack a LOT, and you are sure to return from the experience supremely excited, and with superior communication and critical thinking skills!

Key Dates:

In 2020, the Pre-college Harvard summer programs are offered in 3 batches, each spanning across the mandatory 2 weeks.

  • 28th of June 2020 to 10th of July 2020 (yes, this includes spending a stimulating July 4th weekend on Harvard campus!)
  • 12th of July 2020 to 24th of July 2020
  • 26th of July 3030 to 7th of August 2020

A typical daily schedule will include 3 hours or classroom sessions (based on the enrolled course), sandwiched between an early breakfast and lunch at noon. This is followed by several hours of enjoyable extra-curricular activities. Dinner is served by 5 pm, so students have their evenings completely free to socialize, tour the impressive 200-acre campus (say yes to the Crimson Key Tour!), and catch up on their studies. Finally, it’s lights out at a reasonable 11 pm.

One piece of advice for first timers – don’t forget your program passport at home, as this is your passkey to several intriguing Harvardian events!

Eligibility Criteria:

This program is primarily commissioned for high school students who expect to graduate in 2021 or 2022. Accordingly, it has an age limit of 15-19 years for new applicants. It also facilitates online applications, though the university recommends against using a smart phone (to avoid latency problems).

There are also other criteria applicable to all college students across the US, including English fluency and study, an acceptable GPA score bandwidth, recommendation letters, a well-drafted college essay, and visa, residency or citizenship criteria that allows you to study in the US. The team at AdmissionSight is committed to helping high school students make the most of this unique opportunity, and can quickly help you complete your application for the year.


This includes 3 things:

  • A non-refundable fee of $75 for all applicants.
  • A course fee of $4,750 for enrolled students.
  • A (health) insurance fee of $100 for enrolled students.

In addition to this, there may be other expenses associated with visa applications, and competitive exams for English and graduate certification (like TOEFL, SAT, etc.). Contact us at AdmissionSight to understand how you can get started on your thrilling Harvard journey.

The 2018 Summer School Staff poses for a photo op.

The secondary school program

As the name indicates, this Harvard summer program is designed to work as an advanced school program, bridging the gap between high school and the Harvard college experience. This course is hence longer and spans across 7 weeks.


  • The biggest advantage of this program is the flexibility it offers, as students can choose from 3 modes of attendance – online student, day student with commute to home, or residential student. Furthermore, you own your schedule, so you can choose to spend the entire day on campus (in and out of classrooms), or enjoy learning outside (through site visits, workshops, etc.).

Yes, this secondary school program does indeed treat its students as “college students”, and not as high school students attending college. This program hence doubles up as a cleverly managed initiation into all the wonders and responsibilities of typical college life.

  • Unlike the pre-college program, this advanced Harvard summer program allows you to take up to 2 credit-worthy courses. (4 credits for 1 course and 8 credits for 2 courses.) Again, you can choose from a vibrant set of subjects (200+ topics, including film, neuroscience, social justice, entrepreneurship, ethics, etc.), classified under 5 mainstream categories.

In fact, a recent study indicated that 89% of past enrollees found their course choices to be illuminating, and believed this program helped them choose their final college major. Best of all, is that the credits earned in this program can be transferred to any registered university in the US.

  • The residential part of the program also gives you a glimpse into living a typical Harvardian life, as you dorm with other college students, and perhaps even professionals returning to college. A major highlight of this Harvard summer program is the possibility to form a powerful network among working professionals. In fact, the entire program gives you a broader and more diverse experience of college life.
  • While the extra-curricular activities offered by the pre-college program mostly include fun and games, the intent of this secondary program is to make you a stronger college applicant.

Accordingly, this offers you a strategic set of activities, including a college fair (with over 75 participating colleges), group visits to surrounding colleges in the Boston area, focused college counseling sessions to make your college application airtight, and skill-based workshops to enhance your college admission credibility.

In some ways, the secondary college program can be considered a pre-college program on steroids. So you can have 2 courses instead of 1, and enticing extracurricular activities along with focused, college-based workshops.

This means that you also thrive on a diverse set of college elements, including regular talent shows, quizzes, arts and dance performances (musicians are welcome with their instruments!), inter and intra-college activities, and plenty more.

And the cherry on top comes at the end in the form of a Harvard certified transcript, outlining the courses and credits you earned through the program. But of course, these are transferable to any (US) university of your choice.

Key Dates:

This program is offered in a single, 7-week session, from 20th of June 2020 to 8th of August 2020. (Yes, this too includes the famed July 4th weekend!)

Eligibility Criteria:

Here, the focus is on high school students who want to start early in building college credit. So, if you expect to graduate this year, or in the next couple of years (2021, 2022), this program is definitely suitable for you. Accordingly, it has an age limit of 15-19 years for applicants. As with most Harvard applications, you can apply online, but the university recommends against using a smart phone (to avoid latency problems).


The cost from university includes 3 things:

  • A non-refundable fee of $75 for all applicants.
  • Course fee of $3,340 to $6,680 for online and day students.
  • Course fee of $12,810 for residential students (includes room and board and 3 daily meals on campus).
  • A (health) insurance fee of $100 for enrolled students.

Yes, this course does indeed cost a pretty penny. BUT, the benefits of the program far outweigh the cost. Fortunately, there are also scholarships available for well-prepared students. So, there is many an opportunity to make the most of this program without incurring a mighty financial burden.

High school Students walking to their first summer school session at Harvard

How does AdmissionSight help in this exciting journey

First, it can be daunting for a high school student to apply for a Harvard summer program.

  • What tests do you need to take, to prepare for the process?
  • Are there special criteria for foreign students?
  • How long does it take to get a response for your application?
  • Are you eligible for scholarships or financial aid?
  • And most importantly, what can you do to enhance your chances, so you are successfully accepted into the program?

These are just some of the questions that flummox students during the admission process. And yet, it can be a gratifyingly simple process when you have in-depth knowledge of the (US) college admission system. The members of AdmissionSight have specialized for years in this area, and are excited to share this with eager students.

Accordingly, an AdmissionSight team member will study your background and prepare an exhaustive list to lead you through the entire preparation process. This includes:

  • List of eligibility criteria as per your high school background. For instance, foreign students may have to additionally pass competitive exams certifying their fluency in English (like TOEFL), high school math and sciences (like SAT) and more. AdmissionSight staff will not only clarify these for you, but also actively guide you through the preparation process.
  • List of documents to be submitted during application. Some of these may be requested from third-parties (like your school certificate), while some others have to be carefully crafted by the student (like the all-important college essay). Again, the expertise available at AdmissionSight will go a long way in facilitating this process.
  • A ready reckoner of important timelines and milestones, so you never fall short on a critical deadline.
  • Guidance in obtaining the right visa, if you expect to study in the US as a foreign student. We can also help you understand if your residency status qualifies for college admission in the US.
  • A comprehensive list of expected expenses, including admission and enrollment fees, insurance costs, visa costs, additional expenses for taking qualifying tests, travel expenses, and more. This way, you are adequately prepared to fund your entire experience of Harvard summer programs without any unpleasant surprise. Also, based on your background, the team may also recommend scholarships or financial aid options that may be available for you.
  • Detailed walkthrough of the Harvard summer program application form, and review of the same before final submission. This ensures that everything you capture on your application is accurate and complete, thus leading to superior quality applications.

In closing, Harvard is often the ultimate goal for a majority of students, given its consistent standing as the world’s leading international institute. We at AdmissionSight understand this stance, and provide our best efforts to meet this goal.

We have also led thousands of students to gain successful admission to their dream school, whichever that may be, including premier international schools like Berkeley – California, Princeton – New Jersey, Stanford – California, and UPenn – Pennsylvania. Whatever is your choice, we are here to back you with our expertise.

Contact our team today to understand how you can kick start your exciting Harvard summer programs’ journey. Here, the early bird does indeed get the glorious Harvard worm!

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