International Students at Harvard

December 4, 2022
By AdmissionSight

International Students at Harvard

How Does An International Student Get Into Harvard?

Numerous students desire to attend Harvard University both in the United States and abroad. As one of the most elite colleges, Harvard has one of the most stringent admissions requirements. Although getting into this esteemed Ivy League school is challenging, it is possible with effort and commitment. If you live outside the US and want to be among the international students at Harvard, you need to start making plans early and comply with the standard requirements for admission.

How does an international student get into Harvard? Whether a student attends a high school within the United States or abroad, the application criteria are the same for all applicants. The Coalition Application or the Common Application, as well as the necessary supplements, must be submitted by all first-year applicants. The Admissions Committee treats every application equally and without favor.

A confirmation after your application has been submitted will be given along with a PIN to access the applicant portal. In the middle of September each year, the admissions office will start sending these application confirmation emails. Most applicants receive their email of confirmation the day after submitting their online application. Mail-in applications may take up to two weeks to process.

Application Fees and Fee Waiver

The Coalition Application, Powered by Scoir, and the Common Application websites both accept credit card payments for application fees. You can also mail a check or money order to the Harvard College Admissions office. Please send the payment with the applicant’s name on it.

Fee exemptions: Harvard is devoted to ensuring that all applicants may easily complete the application procedure. The admissions application fee will be waived if it will put you or your family at a financial disadvantage. Your application will not suffer in any way if you ask for a fee waiver.

Mid-Year Report Card

School counselors often provide transcripts with little to no information regarding senior year courses upon application. To evaluate your achievement in the first half of your senior year curriculum, the midyear school report is necessary.

Your school counselor or another school representative must fill out the midyear school report. Please ask that the midyear school report be finished and delivered as soon as possible to Harvard’s admissions office.

If you are enrolled in the IB or A-level programs, your school should send predicted grades based on your current coursework and the outcomes of any internal or practice examinations you have already taken. You do not need to complete the midyear report form if your school does not announce official or anticipated midyear grades for your final academic year, though the item may still be on your application checklist.

Teacher Evaluations

Request the completion of the Teacher Evaluation forms from two teachers who are knowledgeable about you in various academic fields. After submitting your application, you have the option of adding more letters of recommendation. A customized link to give to your recommenders will be included in the email that confirms your application.

Final School Report and Transcripts

All accepted students who decide to enroll must submit a Final School Report and transcript no later than July 1 after their final grades are released.

If your school has access to Parchment/Docufide or Scrip-Safe International submission options, the Final School Report and transcript should be prepared and transmitted by a school counselor or other school official through one of these services.

As soon as they are made public in the middle of July, IB students should send their results. By the middle of August, Harvard should have received the final A-level results.

Standardized Tests

Students may apply for admission without having taken the standardized test for the college classes of 2027–2030. You can submit either the SAT or ACT if you decide to submit standardized tests (with or without the writing component). You are still allowed to submit Subject Tests from the previous five years even though the College Board no longer administers them and they are not required for application.

It is better to select just one mathematics test rather than two if you decide to submit Subject Tests. A Subject Test in your first language may also be less beneficial if it is not English.

English Language Proficiency

To succeed in your studies at Harvard, you must have a solid command of the English language, including the ability to comprehend and communicate your ideas clearly and rapidly. Although taking an English proficiency test (such as the TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) is not compulsory, you are welcome to do so.

Personal Statement

The personal essay is in the first section of your Common Application. Personal essays must be submitted with applications to Harvard.  This section also provides you with the option of adding information.

Unidentified person typing in a table.

The subjects for the Common Application essays are varied. Please be aware that Coalition essay prompts may vary. Although it could seem intimidating at first, consider this an opportunity to write on a subject that is important to you rather than what you believe the admissions committee would like to read. The purpose of the personal statement is to give you the opportunity to tell Harvard anything you want that could not be found in other parts of your application.

Writing Supplement

Applicants use this section in several ways. Some students email an essay they previously wrote for another institution that they thought was particularly strong; others respond to one of the suggested prompts to supplement the already written common personal statement. You should read through the prompts and answer the one that speaks to you the most.

Harvard Questions

Harvard is curious about your extracurricular and personal hobbies. The questions in this part that are special to Harvard are also necessary since the school can learn more about your expectations in making the most of your stay at Harvard.

It is helpful for Harvard to gain a feel of students’ current interests and those academic areas in which they have previously invested time and effort, even if students may certainly change their opinions once they are in college.

International Interviews

Harvard makes every effort to make alumni interviews as accessible as possible but the school is unable to interview with every applicant. Take note that the lack of an interview will not hurt your chances of getting in.

The Admissions Committee assigns applicants to interviews at its discretion, in part depending on the availability of alumni in your area. Harvard recruits students from all 50 states and from around the world with the assistance of close to 10,000 alumni/ae volunteers, but most regions lack the resources to conduct interviews with every application.

Close up of two women talking on a table.

Without an interview, your application is accepted as complete, and you will be given a comprehensive and in-depth examination. Most of the time, the application documents for the student contain enough details for the admissions committee to decide. Someone may get in touch to arrange an interview if the Committee wants more details about a student or has inquiries about any application materials.

Translated Materials

Please note that you should not translate the documents yourself if you decide to offer translated copies of your academic qualifications or letters of recommendation. However, you don’t need to work with a professional translator. For instance, Harvard accepts letters that have been translated by an English teacher. The translator’s name and relationship to you should appear on every translation. The translated document shall always be accompanied by a copy of the original (untranslated) document.

Supplemental Materials

Usually, the information provided in the standard application materials is sufficient for the admissions officers to make admissions decisions. However, Harvard acknowledges that you could have truly unique abilities or accomplishments that you would like to share, and the institution wants to give you every chance to show yourself in the best possible light.

Additional resources, such as music recordings, visual art, or chosen samples of academic work, may be examined by faculty at the admissions committee’s discretion. These resources are wholly optional.

At any stage of the admissions process, there are never any quotas or restrictions of any type. No matter their citizenship or secondary school, all students are placed in the same pool for all openings in the incoming class. Citizenship status or the location of the institution a student attends has no bearing on their prospects of admission or financial aid.

What Percentage Of Harvard Students Are International?

Harvard accepts students with a variety of backgrounds, talents, and interests from across the nation and the world. About 150 nations are represented on the Harvard campus, with a total of 8,087 international students in the 2021–2022 academic year. China, Canada, and India have the biggest on-campus international populations.

View of students sitting on the bench.

What percentage of Harvard students are international? For the Fall of 2021, approximately 12.46% of the undergraduate student body are from other countries, and 31.42% of graduate and professional schools are composed of international students at Harvard. In the most recent admissions cycle, international students make up 15.3% of the Class of 2026 pool.

Do International Students Get Financial Aid At Harvard?

Do international students get financial aid at Harvard? International students at Harvard are eligible for financial help on the same terms as American citizens. Although they are not eligible for any federal support, international students can still apply for jobs and scholarships at the College.

The process of filling out college applications might feel especially difficult and demanding for international students (non-US citizens) who apply for financial aid at their target universities. Most US institutions, including Harvard, demand that applicants submit a supplemental financial aid application in addition to their application for admission.

View of a woman reading a paper and looks happy while she is reading it.

All domestic and international applicants to Harvard undergo a need-blind process. This means that students will not be denied admission to undergraduate programs because of their financial need; in other words, whether you apply for financial help will not affect your admissions status. Moreover, the school pledges to fulfill every admitted student’s demonstrated need, including international students at Harvard, to the fullest extent possible.

For all prospective students, the financial aid application procedure is largely the same. Regardless of when you are applying or your citizenship, you must submit both a CSS Profile and an IDOC Packet.

CSS Profile

Submit the 2023-2024 CSS Profile online through the College Board (this form has opened as of September 22, 2022). If your parents are wed or cohabiting, they will only submit one CSS Profile. In the event of a divorce or separation, each parent will complete their own CSS Profile.

The CSS Profile includes inquiries about your family’s financial standing, including data from your tax records. Please feel free to estimate if you have not yet filed your tax taxes. Once your actual tax returns have been submitted, your CSS Profile will be updated.

IDOC Packet

To submit your material for evaluation, you must use the College Board IDOC Service, which is a quick and safe method of uploading your papers. All applicants who have already completed a CSS Profile are eligible for the IDOC Service.

IDOC will display a list of the essential documents that must be uploaded, but this is not the whole list of what must be submitted.

All documents required should be collected and submitted to IDOC. Please do not provide estimated taxes or drafts. The actual 2021 tax return as submitted to the government is required. Please ensure that your documents are translated if they are not in English.

Every admitted student is given the assurance that their financial situation will not prevent them from attending Harvard. The admissions office works to ensure that nothing gets in the way of your Harvard education with the support of the comprehensive financial aid program, dedication to economic diversity, and a range of tools and services.

Is Harvard Good For International Students?

Is Harvard good for international students? For international students, Harvard is worth it. This prestigious university has first-rate facilities and faculty of the highest caliber that can give you the education you need to succeed in your future job.

Harvard is an inclusive institution. It is also one of just five US colleges that admits international students without regard to financial necessity.  “Need-blind” indicates that Harvard does not consider your financial position when evaluating your application for admission. Harvard provides all students with financial aid who can prove they are in need. They give aid based on need rather than merit. Harvard collaborates with each student to offer them options for affordable higher education.

Group of students standing near a building.

All of Harvard’s students will receive the most economical education available. The best thing is that the same financial aid opportunities are available to both domestic and international students at Harvard. With the largest endowment in the world, Harvard leverages its resources to keep tuition costs low for all its students.

Student organizations at Harvard College and most graduate institutions bring students together to discuss common interests. By supporting social gatherings and lectures, these groups frequently act as a significant complement to academic coursework. At Harvard, clubs are associated with specific schools. While many organizations encourage involvement from students attending different schools, some exclusively permit enrollment from students attending that specific school at Harvard.

The Harvard International Office, a division of the university’s central administration, aids foreign students and scholars at Harvard College, the graduate and professional schools, as well as the many affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutions. The HIO aims to lessen any difficulties the international students might encounter upon arrival and later on during their time at Harvard.

HIO offers information on a variety of subjects, such as financial concerns, adjusting to life in the United States (U.S.), immigration issues (work permits, travel), and community and Harvard resources. Graduate international students also have the chance to take part in the HIO’s Host Program for International Students, which matches them with local volunteers who live in the Cambridge and Boston neighborhoods.

The opportunity to create lifetime friends from the United States and other countries is one of the best things you achieve when working or studying abroad. These unique individuals transform into more than just your usual pals while you are hundreds of miles away from home in the United States; they also become your family in many ways. The teaching and research efforts of Harvard both on campus and around the world are highlighted on the Harvard Worldwide website.

While getting to know the people in your program, department, or institution is a terrific place to start, some scholars and international students at Harvard may yearn to interact with residents of the area, students, or scholars from related fields of study, or even long-term expats. This is excellent for broadening your US exchange experience and learning more about your temporary residence.

Harvard University is known as the country’s first institute of higher learning. Students from all over the world aspire to enroll in this institution with exceptional academics, rich traditions, and a close-knit community. If you are an international student, dreaming of getting into Harvard, AdmissionSight is willing to assist you in the tough Harvard admissions process. AdmissionSight has partnered with students in boosting their college applications and preparing them for higher education. Book an initial consultation with us today.


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