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Living at Harvard

Lasting Friendships in a Lifelong Community

Both as a first-year living in historic Harvard Yard and as an upperclassman living in one of Harvard’s iconic residential Houses (the first of their kind in America), you and your fellow classmates will share an infinite range of experiences and aspirations. You will live in a diverse community of students hailing from all 50 states and more than 80 countries who bring different backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to campus.

First-Year life in the Yard

You will spend your initial year in Harvard Yard, where the University first originated. Through social and other activities specially designed for first-year students (First-Year Arts Program, First-Year Outdoor Program, and Yard intramurals), you quickly get to know your classmates and the College.

All first-year dormitories are located in or adjacent to the Yard. The Dean of Students Office is responsible for roommate selection and for many years has earned wide acclaim for creating successful matches—and lifelong friendships—among first-year students. Typically, students live in suites, which include a common room and two to four bedrooms. First-year meals are taken in Annenberg Hall, one of Harvard’s most beautiful interior spaces and dedicated exclusively to first-year students. 

Upperclass houses

After your first year, you will enter one of 12 residences, called Houses. Built in the early 20th century, they represent the first American creation of smaller communities within an existing college. Houses foster informal interactions between undergraduates and faculty, and provide a residential experience rich in cultural, intellectual, and social character. Each House, led by a Faculty Dean (a faculty member who lives in the House) and his or her family, consists of 350 to 500 students.

One of the most exciting moments of your first year is Housing Day, when students learn to which House they have been assigned for the next three years. By sharing in House meals, extracurriculars, intramural sports, and other activities, House life becomes one of the most important and rewarding aspects of attending Harvard.

Boston and Cambridge

A 10-minute subway ride takes you from Harvard to downtown Boston, the quintessential “college town” with 200,000 students at 50 institutions. Cambridge and Boston combine New England charm and modern infrastructure, with a convenient transportation system that will take you from the heart of Harvard Square to many destinations throughout Boston.  

Visit world-class museums such as the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Science. Enjoy parks and wildlife at the Boston Common, the New England Aquarium, and the Franklin Park Zoo.  Explore famous neighborhoods such as Beacon Hill or the North End, where you’ll find historic architecture and delicious food. And watch great performances ranging from the Boston Symphony to the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, and the Revolution.

Other nearby destinations for day or weekend trips include Walden Pond, Cape Cod beaches, and New England mountains.  



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.


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