About Our Transfer Program

Each fall, we welcome a very small number (12 on average) of transfer students to Harvard College. We seek students whose previous academic experience will prepare them to flourish in our rigorous and rewarding liberal arts program. In our candidates for transfer admission, we look for:

  • A clearly defined academic need to transfer
  • A proven record of achievement at your current institution
  • Strong faculty recommendations

Recently, we have received more than 1,500 transfer applications per year. In pools of this size, the number of well-qualified applicants far exceeded the number of students admitted and enrolled each year as transfer students. As admission to transfer to Harvard is competitive, we encourage you to explore a variety of colleges in your transfer search. 

Eligibility

To be eligible to transfer, you must have completed at least one continuous academic year in a full-time degree program at one college and not more than two academic years. You must complete at least two full years of study at Harvard. Once a student has completed more than two years total of college at another institution, regardless of courses taken, that student is no longer eligible for transfer admission.

Students are eligible to transfer only from a liberal arts curriculum that is similar to Harvard’s. Candidates whose education has been in a vocational, professional, technical, online, extension, or performance program will not ordinarily qualify for transfer admission.

  • Students who have completed one full-time year of college in a regular degree program in lieu of their senior year of high school (often referred to as dual enrollment) should apply for first-year admission if these courses are taken for credit towards a high school diploma.
  • Students who are enrolled part-time are not eligible unless they have previously completed one full-time, continuous academic year.

If you are too advanced in your studies to qualify for transfer, you may be interested in the Visiting Undergraduate Student Program.

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What We Look For

Through our admissions process, we strive to give you ample opportunities to best demonstrate your interests and accomplishments. We welcome candidates who have gone directly from high school into college as well as those who have followed less traditional paths.

The Admissions Committee looks for achievement in a rigorous program of study, especially in your expected field of specialization. Beyond strong grades, test scores, and recommendations, the Committee considers other non-academic factors such as significant extracurricular engagements and talents. We also consider an applicant’s personal qualities such as a capacity for leadership, creativity, resiliency, intellectual curiosity, and independent thinking.

In addition to our standard application materials, you may submit supplementary materials showcasing exceptional or unusual talents, including musical performance, artistic work, and research material.

Timeline

Harvard accepts transfer students for fall semester entrance only; we do not admit students for the spring semester. The transfer application becomes available during the fall of the academic year. 

  • March 1: Deadline for all transfer application and financial aid materials. 
  • The Transfer Admissions Committee begins to review applications after the application deadline.
  • We will notify applicants of admissions decisions as soon as we are able to during the summer.

Submitting your materials early does not increase your chances of admission, but it does provide more opportunities to track down any missing documents and ensure that your application is full and complete by the time we begin our review. Please note that college transcripts should be sent between January and March in order to reflect your most updated academic credentials.

From the service to school

Veteran transfer students from community colleges make Harvard home

James stands in front of a wall etched with names of Harvard veterans

Application Requirements

  • Transfer Application from the Universal College ApplicationCoalition Application, or Common Application
  • Harvard College Questions and Writing Supplement for the Common Application
  • $75 fee or a fee waiver
  • Standardized testing: We ordinarily require all transfer applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. Due to the current extraordinary circumstances, we will consider Fall 2021 transfer applications without standardized testing if you have been unable to sit for the exams. If you have taken these tests, we strongly recommend that you submit your scores (self-reported scores are acceptable). If you have previously applied to Harvard, we will have access to your prior scores even if you do not report them on your current transfer application.
    • ACT or SAT (with or without writing): Strongly recommended, if you have taken these tests
    • 2 SAT Subject Tests: Recommended, but not required
    • AP, IB or other examination results: Optional
    • Self-reported scores are acceptable during the application process; official scores are required of enrolling students who provided test scores as part of their application.
  • College/Dean’s/Registrar’s report
  • Official College Transcript
  • College Instructor Recommendations (2)
  • Official High School Transcript

Transferring Course Credit

Harvard will honor comparable coursework you have done prior to your transfer admission, while also giving you time to take advantage of Harvard’s course offerings and delve deeply into your concentration.

You will be allowed to transfer in a maximum of 16 semester-long courses—the equivalent of two full years of academic work—providing you the opportunity to take the remaining half of the courses required for your A.B. or S.B. degree at Harvard.

The Harvard College Registrar’s Office grants credit for work done at another college or university to each admitted transfer student on an individual basis after careful evaluation. While Harvard does not audit transcripts prior to application to determine eligibility, the descriptions below should be helpful in determining which of your courses may transfer. Our office is unable to make recommendations in regards to coursework at your current institution or advise on anticipated class standing during the application process.