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Forms, Deadlines, and Application Requirements

Your Visiting Undergraduate Student application should demonstrate strong educational reasons for studying at Harvard College. Our committee considers:

  • Evidence of academic strength and personal integrity
  • Your academic preparation for your proposed plan of study
  • Approval of your current college or university
  • Breadth of interest both in and beyond the classroom
  • Availability of space in courses you wish to undertake

Typically, you will apply during your third year of undergraduate study. We strongly prefer that you apply online, but you can also print and mail the required visiting undergraduate forms. Below are instructions to help you complete your application.

If you have any additional questions, please contact us.

Dates and deadlines

Applications for the VUS program are considered twice a year. Fall term runs from late August to late December, and spring term from late January to mid-May. Students who apply for the full academic year begin in late August and finish in mid-May. Please be aware that Visiting Undergraduate Students are required to arrive one week ahead of the first meeting of classes for a mandatory orientation and must be on campus for final exams. 

Fall term or full academic year

  • Begin accepting applications: February 1
  • Application deadline: April 1
  • Notification of admission: by June 1

Spring term

  • Begin accepting applications: August 1
  • Application deadline: October 1
  • Notification of admission: by December 1

Applications must be postmarked by the date of the deadline. Ordinarily, you are not allowed to defer admission, so please apply for the appropriate term.

Important notes

Before applying, make sure you understand the process and tuition costs associated with being a Visiting Undergraduate Student at Harvard.​

  • As a Visiting Undergraduate Student, you will not be eligible for Harvard financial aid and you must secure your own funding.
  • Students are responsible for securing their own off-campus housing.
  • Documents submitted as part of the application process will not be returned. Please be sure to keep a copy.
  • If you have questions, please e-mail [email protected].

How to apply

We strongly prefer you to submit as many required materials as possible online to ensure the prompt and efficient delivery of your materials, but how you apply will not impact your admissions decision.

Step 1:  Fill out and submit the student portion of the Visiting Undergraduate Application.

As part of this you will need to:

- Prepare a Tentative Plan of Study. This plan, considered part of your application, is an indication of the kinds of courses you would like to undertake at Harvard. It is not binding. Please consult our course catalog in preparing your plan. Consider both the General Education section and departmental listings. With a few exceptions noted on the application, most courses are open to visiting students. Because some courses are limited in enrollment, require the instructor’s permission, or have prerequisites, adjustments to your course selection are to be expected during registration week. Admission to our program does not guarantee your enrollment in any particular course. Course schedules for each academic year are not available until late summer. Many courses remain the same from year to year and any course not being offered is usually identified. However, if your plan of study is dependent on a particular course, please contact the department to ensure it is being offered during the term for which you are applying. In addition, if you need a detailed course syllabus you will have to contact the department directly.

- Write a brief Statement of Purpose (approximately 500 words). We want to know how your plan to study at Harvard will complement your academic and non-academic interests as you pursue your long-term goals.

- Submit an updated Resume or Curriculum Vitae. Please be sure this provides an accurate time-line of your pursuits from leaving secondary school to the present, including any gap year(s) you may have taken.

- Pay your $75 (USD) application fee.

When your application has been submitted successfully and received by Harvard, you will receive an email confirmation along with a PIN to access the Applicant Status Portal where you can check to see which materials have been received by our office. If you have not received this email a week after you have submitted your application, please contact [email protected] to make sure there were no issues with your email delivery.  You will also receive a link that allows you to upload additional materials to your application.  You may forward this link to other people to upload additional documents directly to your application. 

As soon as you receive this email, please set up your account immediately and check this site regularly to monitor the status of your application. Many students submit materials both by mail and online. This is perfectly acceptable.  All documents, regardless of how they were submitted will show up in your Applicant Status Portal Please make sure to check this site before contacting our office.

We cannot match materials with your application file until you submit your portion of the application.

 

Step 2:  Submit two faculty recommendations through the online application.  Original letters of recommendation on university letterhead are also acceptable if they are attached to the VUS Faculty Recommendation form. Printed letters must be mailed directly to our office or submitted in signed, sealed envelopes. We cannot accept emailed documents in lieu of the mailed forms.

Faculty letters should come from your university professors or teachers who have taught you in the classroom. If you wish to send supplemental letters from others who know you well, in addition to the two faculty recommendations, they should be submitted by mail or though the Applicant Status Portal.

Please note: If you submit any recommendations by mail or email, they will not be reflected in the Checklist Legend of the online system.  They will only show up in your Harvard Applicant Status Portal.

 

Step 3:  Submit a Dean’s Letter of Permission form to certify that:

  • You have the permission of your current university to study at Harvard
  • You are in good academic and personal standing
  • Upon satisfactory completion of the courses taken at Harvard, you will be granted degree credit

The Dean’s Letter of Permission form must be filled out completely by the administrator at your university who determines your academic credits and is aware of any academic or disciplinary issues. This may be two different people/offices depending on the structure of your particular university. If that is the case, it is your responsibility to ensure that each section is completed appropriately. In addition, your Dean may choose to write a supporting letter but he or she must also check the boxes on the form. As with faculty recommendations, printed letters must be mailed directly to our office by your dean or submitted in signed, sealed, envelopes. We cannot accept emailed documents in lieu of the mailed forms.

Please note: If you submit this form by mail or email, it will not be reflected in the Checklist Legend of the online system.  It will only show up in your Harvard Applicant Status Portal.

 

Step 4:  Have an official secondary school transcript sent directly to the VUS Admissions Office by your registrar or dean, either by mail, through the online application, through Parchment/Docufide or Scrip-safe International. If you are from an international school system in which promotion is based upon standardized exams, you should also send a certified copy of your exam results. For example: British A levels, French Baccalaureate, Gaokao Results, International Baccalaureate, etc. Credentials must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation. Transcripts will be verified.

Please note: If you submit a transcript by mail, it will not be reflected in the Checklist Legend of the online system.  It will only show up in your Harvard Applicant Status Portal.

 

Step 5:  Have an official university transcript sent directly to the VUS Admissions Office by your registrar or dean either by mail, through the online application, through Parchment/Docufide or Scrip-safe International. Credentials must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation. You should submit a transcript from all universities you have attended. Transcripts will be verified.

Please note: If you submit a transcript by mail, it will not be reflected in the Checklist Legend of the online system.  It will only show up in your Harvard Applicant Status Portal.

 

Step 6:  Students whose native language is not English ARE REQUIRED to submit a TOEFL score not more than two years old. Official tests results must be submitted directly to the Admissions Office from ETS (code #3434). We will not accept any other language proficiency tests in lieu of the TOEFL.  While not required, candidates who have taken SAT I, SAT II, or ACT tests are encouraged to submit their results, reported directly from the College Board (code #3434) or the American College Testing Service (code #1840)

Once we have received all of your materials, all of the check marks on your Checklist in the Applicant Status Portal will be green.

Applicant Status Portal

When your application has been submitted and received by Harvard, we will send you a confirmation along with a PIN to access our Applicant Status Portal where you can check to see which materials have been received by our office.

As soon as you receive this email, please set up your account immediately and check this site regularly to monitor the status of your application. Please make sure to check this site before contacting our office.

We will not begin processing materials that have been submitted by mail until 30 days before the deadline. Forms submitted by mail will not be reflected online on the apply-with-us site as having been submitted.

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