In the face of unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus and the economy, we want to be helpful in any way we can.
We have heard from students, parents, and college counselors about a number of specific concerns they have regarding next year’s application process at Harvard and we wish to address them:
Harvard College will allow students to apply for admission to the Class of 2025 without requiring standardized test scores. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created insurmountable challenges in scheduling tests for all students, particularly those from modest economic backgrounds, and we believe this temporary change addresses these challenges.
Consistent with Harvard’s whole-person admissions process, standardized tests are only one factor among many. Accomplishments in and out of the classroom during the high school years – including community involvement, employment, and help given to students’ families are considered as part of our process. However, students who find themselves limited in the activities they can pursue due to the current coronavirus outbreak will not be disadvantaged as a result, nor will students who are only able to present pass/fail grades or other similar marks on their transcripts this spring.
Students who do not submit standardized testing this coming year will not be disadvantaged in the application process. Their applications will be considered on the basis of what they have presented, and they are encouraged to send whatever materials they believe would convey their accomplishments in secondary school and their promise for the future.
Because standardized test results are used for academic counseling, placement, and institutional research, enrolling students who applied without considerations of tests will be invited to submit test scores over the summer, prior to matriculating at Harvard.
Read more about standardized testing on our Application Requirements page.
Our early action deadline remains November 1 for now. If students wish to submit standardized tests, the November tests will arrive in time for early action consideration. Because of COVID-19, we expect that fewer students will apply early this year and students should not rush to apply early if they feel they are not ready. As always, there is no advantage to applying early versus regular.
While our regular action deadline will remain January 1 for now, we will monitor the effects of COVID-19 in the coming months and will extend our deadline if necessary. As with early action, we will accept testing that arrives after our deadline, including the currently scheduled February 6, 2021 ACT.
For international students (who may have even fewer opportunities to take American standardized testing), we hope to receive predicted or actual results of national examinations.
As was the case during the economic downturn a decade ago and in similar situations before, our revolutionary financial aid program will not be compromised in any way. The majority of Harvard students receive need-based financial aid – and loans are not required. Our office stands ready to help, and students can use our net price calculator to get an estimate of the aid their family would receive.
We wish you well and we hope you will put your own health and safety – and that of others – as your top priority in the months ahead.
Updated at 8:20 PM on Monday, June 15.