Our Path Forward

Residential Life, Housing,
and Student Activities

Academic Year 2020-21 Planning


star icon
Our Promise to You

Within the Dean of Students Office, we make a commitment to you that we will do everything we can to help you thrive and succeed during this moment – personally, socially, and academically.

View our promise


General Information

school icon

Harvard College Academic Year

Spring 2021 Information


stethoscope icon
Harvard University Health Services

HUHS Website


books icon
Harvard College
Academic Calendar

Academic Calendar


Housing Availability

We hope to accommodate as many Harvard College students who are eligible to return as possible. Students learning remotely will retain their existing residential affiliations. 
The health and well-being of our entire community is our highest priority. All students who return to campus will be asked to follow a set of guidelines to help us ensure the safety of all of our students, staff, faculty, and neighbors. 

Mather House common room

About Campus

Housing Arrangements

In order to ensure that students are housed safely, the Housing Office, House Administrators and First-Year Experience staff will assign all students to suites directly. In order to meet public health guidance, you may need to live in a different location than the buildings traditionally associated with your residential affiliation.

  • All students returning to campus will have their own bedroom.
  • A limited number of students may share a bathroom. 
  • Laundry rooms will remain open.
  • Other spaces may be limited in capacity, closed, or limited in access. The College will continue make adjustments as public health guidance develops and as we monitor community
Information about housing assignments and move-in/move-out is forthcoming.

Housing Cancellations

If you are not eligible to return to campus, we will automatically cancel your housing for the spring semester. All housing cancellation fees for the Spring 2021 term will be waived.

You do not need to complete a Housing Cancellation Form unless you change your mind about returning after you have submitted the Housing Intention Form. Please note that even if you don’t want housing, you still need to complete the Spring Term Confirmation Form.

Packing and Move-In

We strongly encourage all students to pack lightly.

The College will not be offering on-campus storage or storage subsidies. If the need arises to again de-densify campus, you will be responsible for your own shipping or storage. We advise you not to bring additional furniture beyond what is supplied by the College.

In order to manage the number of students moving into a building at the same time and adhere to public health guidelines, we will schedule individual student move-in times across an eight-day period. Because you will be assigned a specific date and time for move-in, we do not recommend making travel plans until you have received your move-in appointment time. If you cannot move in during your assigned time slot, you can follow the process to request a new timeslot. Additional information about how to request a new timeslot will be included with the move-in logistics e-mail. Please note that move-in dates may be subject to change based on evolving public health guidance.

You may bring one additional person to help you move in. They must adhere to the same face-covering and social distancing requirements as students.

Campus Dining

Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) will continue operating the unlimited dining program for undergraduates. The specific means of service will modulate based on guidelines as dictated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Learn more on the HUDS website

Accommodations and Transfers

We will honor accommodations approved by the Accessible Education Office (AEO). Please be in touch with AEO if you need to request accommodations. 

Guests and Visitors

As noted in the Residential Community Compact, the ability to have guests will vary in accordance with what is allowed in different Harvard-specific colored-coded phases. No guests will be allowed in the first 10 days of the semester; after those 10 days, each phase will contain specific regulations about guests and their presence on campus. 

Who is automatically invited to return?

Harvard College is committed to the academic progression of our students, which we must pursue while protecting the health and safety of our community. Guided by this commitment, all course instruction for the 2020-21 academic year will be delivered online. 

Read the Harvard College Spring 2021 Plan to learn about students who will be given housing priority.  

Students currently approved for winter recess housing are expected to follow the same instructions to confirm their plans for the Spring 2021 term.  

All students are required to fill out the Spring Term Confirmation Form by Monday, December 14, 2020, and those invited to return are required to complete the Housing Intention Form no later than Monday,  January 4, 2021

Residential Community Compact

If you are considering a return to campus for the of Spring 2021, please read the Residential Community Compact carefully and be sure you understand it completely. 

Residential Community Compact

Winthrop gate

Levels of Reopening for Harvard College Students in Residence

As noted in the Residential Community Compact, this spring, safe practices will be used specifically to guide a color-coded system of of phased campus reopening, that will be revised and updated as needed. As conditions allow, opportunities for more flexible forms of safe socializing, working, and studying go up. In other words, during this spring, greater freedom to experience a rich residential life on campus will be directly connected to our adherence to public health practices and to our collective ability as a community to keep transmission rates very low.


Speedometer with Level 0 in purple, Level 1 in red, Level 2 in orange, Level 3 in yellow, Level 4 in lime, Level 5 in green

How to Request Housing

Step 1 

Complete the Spring Term Confirmation Form by December 14, 2020 

Harvard College is committed to ensuring a secure and supportive learning environment for all students. All Harvard College students, including students who aren’t returning, and those who are planning to learn remotely, are required to submit the Spring term confirmation form. Students currently living on campus who have learning environment needs for the spring term will be eligible to return, however, these students should also complete the Spring Term Confirmation Form in my.Harvard.

Spring Term Confirmation Form

Step 2 

Complete the Housing Intention Form by January 4, 2021 

The College Committee will review Spring Term requests for housing and release their decisions by Monday, December 21, 2020. If you are part of the cohort or the review committee invites you to return to campus, you must complete the Housing Intention Form by Monday, January 4, 2021. You must complete this form even if you choose to reject the invitation to return to campus. 




Step 3 

Sign the Residential Community Compact by January 4, 2021 

The College created a community compact that provides guidance to help all who live on campus maintain a safe and healthy environment. All students invited to live on campus will be required to sign the compact when they complete the Housing Intention Form. Both the Residential Community Compact and the Housing Intention Form must be submitted by Monday, January 4, 2021





Student Activities

The College will continue to offer a robust set of virtual programs that you can participate in no matter where you are! In person events will not take place until it is absolutely safe for us to host them. Be sure to check out the You're Invited newsletter for the latest listing of events.

Visit the HUB to share your event 


Harvard Yard in the late afternoon sunshine


Guidelines for Student Organizations

Virtual Events

Student organizations are encouraged to host virtual events! Please reach out to our student organization team with any questions about what activities are permitted or if you need help planning a virtual event.


Student organizations will be held to active Harvard travel policies for all of their activities. Currently, under those guidelines, all University-related international and domestic travel is prohibited until further notice.