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International Applicants

Testing, Language Proficiency, and Financial Aid Information

We are often asked by prospective students, “Do you count me as an international applicant?” Because applicants from outside the United States go through the same admissions process as American students, we do not categorize individual applicants in such a way.  We have no quotas of any kind for admission, all applications are evaluated by the same criteria, and financial aid is equally available to all students regardless of citizenship.

When we refer to “international admissions,” we are generally referring to applicants who apply from schools outside the United States. In general, if you are applying from a school abroad, you will follow the same procedures and timetables as candidates applying from schools located in the United States.

The Harvard Club of the UK has created a website to answer specific questions for those applying from the United Kingdom. You may find it a useful source of supplemental information.

Required standardized tests

We require standardized test scores from either the SAT or ACT (with or without writing), and recommend submitting two SAT subject tests, except in the case of financial hardship. Note that the SAT II English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) is not acceptable as one of the two SAT Subject Tests.

More information about standardized testing is included in our application process. You are only exempt from this requirement if your country does not offer these tests and traveling to take them would be difficult.

English language proficiency

A strong knowledge of English is essential for successful study at Harvard, including the ability to understand and express thoughts quickly and clearly. Although you are not required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or other proficiency exams, you may submit your scores if you wish to do so.


We encourage interested international applicants to have an interview if possible. If an interviewer is not available sufficiently close to you to make an interview possible, the absence of an interview will not adversely affect your candidacy. 

Financial aid 

The financial aid policies are the same for all applicants regardless of nationality or citizenship. All aid is need-based, and admissions decisions are made without regard to whether an applicant has applied for financial assistance.

When you apply for aid, we work directly with your family and factor in additional expenses for international students. Harvard meets each family’s demonstrated need.

If you are admitted and not applying for financial aid, you will be asked to complete an “I-20 Certification of Finances,” without which we cannot issue visa documents.

Translated materials

Should you provide translated versions of your academic credentials or letters of recommendation, please note that you should not translate the documents yourself.  You do not need to hire a professional translator.  We are happy to receive letters translated by an English teacher, for example.  All translations should include the name of the translator and his/her relationship to you.  A copy of the original (untranslated) document should always accompany the translated version.

Facts About Financial Aid


Amount that parents making less than $65,000 are expected to contribute.

Ninety percent of American families would pay the same or less to send their children to Harvard as they would a state school.


John Harvard Statue in front of University Hall

Stroll through Harvard Yard, ask Admissions staff all your questions, and feel the warmth of the Harvard community. See tour dates and times.


Get step-by-step tips for completing your application.