My Advice as a Computer Science Concentrator at Harvard

Category Student Voices


Samia Afrose Class of '25
Authored on May 20, 2024


As a computer science concentrator at Harvard, I had no true exposure to coding before attending college, so it was nerve-wracking to start from the beginning and be surrounded by students with various levels of experience. 

However, I was not alone in this feeling and many others have had a similar experience to mine. After attending Harvard for three years now, I want to share some advice I wish I received and taken more seriously as a computer science concentrator.

  1. Go to office hours

There are many office hours available and provided by teaching fellows who are there to help you, so take up their time because that is what they are there for!

  1. Find a PSET group
Students discussing in section

Find a group of peers to work on your problem sets together. This is a great way to learn from each other. I found many of my PSET groups during office hours and by attending lectures.

  1. Attend lecture

It can be tempting for students to not attend lectures when attendance is not taken. However, I found myself doing best and feeling the most motivated in classes where I went and engaged in class. I comprehended concepts much better and picked up on more information than I thought I did, which I realized when working on my PSETs.

  1. Communicate with the professor and teaching fellows if you need extra support or feel that you’re falling behind
Students participating in class

Do not be scared or nervous to tell a teaching fellow or professor that you need help beyond office hours, that you are falling behind, or whatever the case is. There is no harm in communicating with the professors and teaching fellows. They are here to help you and want you to succeed in the class. Their goal is for you to learn, so make sure you are receiving the education you deserve!

  1. Ask questions

Do not be scared to ask questions! That is how you will learn the best. Ask your peers, professor, teaching fellows, students who previously took the class, tutors, and anyone else any questions you have. You may receive a lot of helpful information on how to approach the class and do the work. 

There are times when you may easily grasp onto concepts, and times when you are struggling, but just know that you are not alone. Everyone has their unique journey and everyone struggles one way or another. It is a part of the journey of learning and the beauty of education. Never doubt yourself when you are feeling low, do not give up on your goals. Your time as a computer science concentrator at Harvard College is a step closer to your larger goals and career.

You can find more information about Computer Science at Harvard here.

Samia Afrose Class of '25

Hi! My name is Samia Afrose.