Transitioning to Harvard
During Pre-Orientation, you will meet classmates, learn more about student life at Harvard, connect with upper-level students, and most importantly, have fun.
On Move-In Day, you'll collect your room key, meet your roommates, attend your first entryway meeting in your dorm, and get settled. We will also have events planned for parents and family members.
Orientation is your official welcome and introduction to Harvard College. Orientation events provide many opportunities to meet new friends and learn about student life.
If you're transferring to Harvard as a sophomore or junior, welcome! You'll be contacted by Amanda Lobell, the Resident Dean responsible for transfer students. Dean Lobell will share details about transfer student orientation, held in late August. You'll also learn about resources to help you transition to your assigned upper-level House, choose courses, take advantage of extra-curriculars, and jump into student life.
You'll be supported during your first year by an academic adviser, proctor, peer advising fellow, and resident dean. This team will help you choose courses, and consider opportunities for research, study abroad, public service, and internships.
During your sophomore spring you'll declare a concentration, or field of study. You may choose from 50 concentrations, and 49 secondary fields. You can explore concentrations at orientation events and Advising Fortnight during the spring term.
You will meet with your academic adviser during orientation and consider what courses to take. The first week of classes is known as "shopping week", which gives you a chance to attend classes before formally registering. Before arriving on campus, it's helpful to explore courses and know your interests, but you will not register until the first week of the term.
Students typically take four courses per term and are required to complete 32 courses (or 128 credits) to graduate. This breaks down to 12 courses within the core curriculum, 10-14 courses in a concentration, and the balance as electives.
A course in expository writing is required of all students. After taking the writing exam, you'll learn of your recommended course placement, and whether you're assigned to take your "expos" course during the fall or spring term.
Exams are offered during the summer before you arrive on campus. You are required to take math and writing exams. Optional exams are offered in biology, chemistry, and foreign languages. Exam results help determine your course level.
More than 100 seminars are offered exclusively for first-year students. Seminars provide an intimate setting to study with a professor. Seminars are capped at 12 students and graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory.