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Application Tips

 We get many questions each year about how to fill out our application, which consists of the Common Application or the Universal College Application and our own Supplement. In order to provide greater transparency about our admissions process and to help relieve applicants’ anxiety, we asked members of our admissions committee to offer helpful tips about how to apply to Harvard.

We realize that not all students have access to adequate college counseling. We hope these application tips will be particularly helpful to the large number of students who have counselors with far too many students to counsel – or who have no counselor at all. We also suggest that you take advantage of the many, inexpensive (or free) publications available in bookstores, online, or accessed for no cost in guidance offices or libraries.

Applying to college should not entail elaborate efforts to “package” students in ways that stretch the truth or credibility. The best application is one in which the real student comes through, and it’s your job as the applicant to make that happen.

We hope these tips will help reduce your anxiety surrounding college admissions, expedite your application process, and free you to devote your time to more important endeavors such as high school course work, extracurricular activities and family responsibilities.

In fact, we believe that many students would benefit from stepping back from the pressures of high school and college. We hope you will take the time to read Time-Out or Burn-Out for the Next Generation, a paper we wrote to offer some thoughts about how to do so – including taking a “gap year”. We have also included links to blog entries about college admissions that we wrote for the New York Times.

To use the Application Tips, click on the small red Harvard shield that appears next to some questions. The tip about that section will pop up on your screen.

  •         The Application
  •         The Supplement
  •         How Admissions Decisions Are Made

 Contact the Admissions Office

Thank you for your interest in Harvard College! We hope to ease the process of applying by addressing your questions as quickly as possible.

We receive a very large number of emails every day, and may not always be able to respond as quickly as we would like. To expedite the response to your questions, please look through the links below, as many of the most commonly asked questions are addressed.

Request an application for UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS online
Apply online for Freshmen UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS
Look through the Frequently Asked Questions pages


If you have not been able to find the answer to your question, and would like to email us, please choose the most appropriate link below.

Due to the proliferation of spam and junk mail we request that all emails contain a coherent and relevant subject. Emails with an empty or non-admissions-related subject line could often be considered as spam and will not be answered. Please do not send attachments; they will not be opened.

  •     General Questions Regarding Harvard or Admissions
  •     Questions regarding your submitted application to Harvard
  •     International Admissions
  •     Transfer Admissions
  •     Visiting Undergraduate Student Admissions
  •     Financial Aid


617-495-1551. Give us a call! There will be someone you can speak with from 9am-5pm EST Monday-Friday.
On Friday, June 1, 2012, phone service will be unavailable. We will be open and tours and information sessions will take place as scheduled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Mailing Addresses

Admissions Visitor Center
Agassiz House
Radcliffe Yard
5 James Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
Harvard College
86 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Committee on Transfer Admissions
Harvard College
86 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Committee on Visiting Undergraduate Admissions
Harvard College
86 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

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