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International Applicants


Applying From Abroad

We welcome applications from all over the world. Our admissions and financial aid processes are the same for all applicants - regardless of nationality or citizenship.

Frequently asked questions

Common Questions

We are often asked by prospective students, “Do you count me as an international applicant?”  Because all applicants follow the same procedures and timetables and are eligible for the same financial aid, we do not need to categorize individual applicants as either international or domestic.  We have foreign citizens applying from American high schools and American citizens applying from high schools around the world.  When we refer to “international admissions,” we are generally referring to applicants who apply from schools outside the United States as the documentation submitted by those schools may differ substantially from that submitted by an American high school and may require specialized knowledge.

Please note that we do not have quotas or limits based on either citizenship or location of high school. Furthermore, admissions decisions are made without regard to whether an applicant has applied for financial aid, even if the applicant is a foreign citizen.

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.

Financial Aid

Our financial aid policies are the same for all applicants, regardless of nationality or citizenship. All aid is based on financial need, and admissions decisions are made without regard to whether an applicant has applied for financial assistance. Harvard meets each student’s demonstrated need.

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Standardized Tests

Harvard will accept the SAT or ACT to meet the standardized testing requirement. In exceptional cases, when those are not accessible for a student, one of the following can meet the requirement:

  • AP exam results 
  • IB Actual or Predicted Scores
  • GCSE/A-Level Actual or Predicted Results
  • National Leaving Exams Results or Predictions

English language proficiency examinations such as the TOEFL, IELTS and Duolingo cannot be used to meet the standardized testing requirement, though students are welcome to submit them for review as part of their application materials.  

Students may self report their standardized test scores. 

If the cost of taking the SAT or ACT is of concern, keep in mind that both the College Board and ACT provide fee waivers to some domestic students from low-income families. Students who are non-US citizens attending secondary schools outside the US are not typically eligible for SAT or ACT fee waivers. If applicants are ineligible for fee waivers, but still face financial hardship in paying for a SAT or ACT, the Admissions Committee still encourages these students to apply. We encourage students in this situation to take and submit results from other standardized tests to which they have greater access. For instance, students lacking access to the SAT or ACT may submit AP or GCSE results, IB/A-level/other national leaving exam predictions or results.

More information about standardized testing is included on our application requirements page. 

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 an English proficiency exam (such as the TOEFL, IELTS, etc.), you may submit scores if you wish to do so.

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International Interviews

While we try to make alumni interviews as widely available as possible, we are unable to interview all applicants. The absence of an interview will not adversely affect your candidacy. Please see our guide on what to expect after you apply for information on arranging an interview.

Translated Materials

If you choose to 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, however, 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.

Privacy Information

By submitting an application, you consent to Harvard’s processing Sensitive Personal Data about you in order to evaluate your application for admission and your eligibility for financial aid, if applicable. For more information, please read about consent regarding sensitive personal data and Harvard’s use of that data in the admissions process.

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