Special Message for High School Juniors Applying to Harvard

Category: Admissions News


We know this is a very difficult and stressful time for you as you begin to think about applying to college.

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:

  1. Standardized Testing:
    • We know that there are fewer opportunities to take the SAT or ACT given the cancellations to date. This means that many students may not be able to take these tests more than once. The fact is that there are diminishing returns in taking these tests multiple times, and we hope students will not feel compelled to do so now or in the future.
    • You will not be disadvantaged in any way if you do not submit subject tests.
    • Similarly, you will not be disadvantaged if you are unable to submit AP results.
    • Standardized testing is only one of many factors considered in our admissions process. Please refer to our application requirements for more information about our testing policies.
  2. Spring Semester Grades: We know that many students will only be able to present pass/fail grades or other similar marks on their transcripts this spring. They will not be disadvantaged as a result.
  3. Whole Person Review: We will continue to look at the whole person as we consider applications next year – as always. Accomplishments in and out of the classroom during the high school years - including community involvement, employment, and help given to your family – will all be considered. Students who find themselves limited in the activities they can pursue due to the current coronavirus outbreak will not be disadvantaged as a result. Learn more about what we look for.
  4. Financial Aid: As was the case during the economic down a decade ago and in similar situations before, our revolutionary financial aid program will not be compromised in any way. A majority of Harvard students receive need based financial aid - and loans are not required. Our office stands ready to help and you can use our net price calculator to get an estimate of the aid your 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.