Incoming Students

We're here to guide you as you transition from high school to college. We can't wait to welcome you to Harvard!

Advice for New Students

Looking for advice about those first few weeks on campus? The Harvard College Office of Admissions & Financial Aid asked around and found five upper-level students to share their perspectives. These juniors and seniors offer valuable advice for anybody new to campus.

Watch on Youtube


ChecklistKey Dates and Deadlines

May 2 is the deadline to tell us you intend to enroll at Harvard. Once you've decided Harvard is for you, you'll need to complete several action items between May and August.


View timeline for incoming students


Featured Academic Events

Apley Court

Harvard Yard Dorms

First-year students live in residential neighborhoods called Yards, which are located at the geographic and historic center of College life. Accommodations range from eighteenth-century buildings, which housed the earliest Harvard students as well as George Washington's troops, to our newest twentieth-century accommodations in Canaday Hall.

Read More About First-Year Living

Transitioning to Harvard

6 Prescott Building Exterior

The First-Year
Experience (FYE)

During your entire first year at Harvard, you'll be supported by a dedicated team offering guidance, programming, and resources to help you transition from high school to college.

Learn about the FYE

Fyre students


Select from six unique experiences catered to your interests! During Pre-Orientation you’ll build strong relationships with your classmates, learn more about student life at Harvard, connect with upper-level students, and most importantly, have fun!

Choose a Pre-Orientation Program

IM field day


Orientation is your official welcome and introduction to Harvard College. Orientation events provide many opportunities to meet new friends and learn about student life.

Learn about Orientation

Additional Support

Gap Year Students

If you’re beginning at Harvard after a gap year, you may have questions about how to confirm your spot in the class or how to re-acclimate to learning. Learn about the enrollment process for gap year students and resources to help you prepare for the fall.

Gap year student resources

International Students

If you’re an international student, you’ll find that Harvard is ready to welcome you. Refer to the Harvard International Office’s New Student Welcome Guide for visa and immigration information, and the documentation required to enroll at Harvard. The Office of International Education will advise and support your academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular pursuits through resources and programs, and help students from all areas of the globe transition smoothly.

International student resources

Military Affiliates

If you have a military background or future plans to serve the country, you'll find a welcoming community at Harvard. The College's Program Manager for Military Student Services works with Harvard College students who are current or prospective ROTC participants (cadets and midshipmen), veterans, or have other military affiliations. Resources and programs for military affiliates are available to ensure a smooth transition for students with diverse backgrounds.

Military student resources

Transfer Students

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 extracurriculars, and jump into student life.

Transfer student resources



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.

Learn about first-year advising

Choosing Courses

You will meet with your academic adviser during orientation and consider what courses to take. 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.

Explore courses


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.

Explore concentrations

Degree Requirements

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.

See curriculum overview

Expository Writing

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.

Learn about expos

Freshman Seminars

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.

Explore seminars

Placement Exams

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.

Learn about placement exams


Parents and Family Members

Move-in Day Family Photo.We hope to connect with those who have helped you arrive at the Harvard gates. Parents and family members may receive communications, as well as programming and support from the Parent and Family Engagement Office.

Above all, we respect that your experience at Harvard belongs to you. We are bound by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that protects your rights.