Harvard UK Outreach – School Visits Programme
Want to learn more about Harvard and American-style higher education? Then invite us to your school!
Each year the Harvard Outreach Team visits around 30 schools across the UK to talk about what life is like at Harvard and what you need to do if you want to apply to an American university. Our talks are aimed at students in Years 11 and 12, their parents, teachers and university advisers. Our target institutions are state-funded schools and colleges that regularly send their students to Russell Group universities in the UK, but do not have a history of applying to US colleges. If this sounds like your school, please get in touch now as we are planning our schedule of visits for the Autumn Term 2019.
To request a visit, simply send an email to school visits co-ordinator Stuart Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you, particularly if we have never been to your school or college before.
Harvard Commencement, 30th May 2019
Confusingly for a UK audience, Harvard’s graduation ceremony is called ‘Commencement’, because back in the 17th Century when it was a tiny college for Puritan Ministers, the passing out ceremony formally marked the beginning, or commencement, of the Minister’s career.
Graduation Day at Harvard is a gloriously over-the-top American style event – a delightful mixture of ceremony and good humour. Students from Harvard College (the undergraduate school) and Harvard’s 12 graduate schools all attend the same huge outdoor bonanza, when 28,000 chairs are set up in Harvard Yard.
Beneath a flag bearing the Harvard motto Veritas (Truth), some of the Class of 2019 walk across Harvard Yard to join the ceremony:
Larry Bacow waves during his first Commencement as Harvard President:
Old and new graduates cross paths during the alumni procession preceding commencement:
During the ceremony, students from each school in turn are asked to stand, and are then awarded their degrees en masse by the President of Harvard University. The students from the graduate schools often bring items with them relevant to their specialism which they wave in the air when their school is announced.
The Harvard Kennedy School (graduate school of government) is the most international of the schools, so each graduate carried an inflatable globe….
….while Medical School students waved their stethoscopes:
Angela Merkel acknowledges applause after receiving her honorary degree:
Applying to US colleges – what should I be doing now?
If you will be applying to American universities this year or next year, or you have already been admitted, here is what you should be doing over the next few weeks.
Year 11 – If possible, spend two or more weeks in the summer doing some kind of community service, work experience, mini-research project, or developing an extracurricular activity that is of particular interest to you. Both US and UK universities like you to have done something constructive during your summer holidays, and some US colleges will specifically ask about your summer activity on their application forms. Such activity will enhance your extracurricular profile and make you of more interest to admissions officers when you eventually come to apply.
Year 12 – If you are still researching which US colleges you want to apply to in the autumn, make sure you have identified your final shortlist by 1st August when the Common Application Form goes live. You can apply to as many colleges as you like, but a shortlist of 5-8 colleges is typical. The August issue of the newsletter will contain a step by step guide of how to fill it in, and the July issue will preview the essay section, which most students find the most difficult part of their application. If you have a couple of weeks to spare, be sure to do some community service, work experience or extracurricular pursuit that will enhance your application.
Year 13 – If you have been admitted to a US college to start your undergraduate studies from September, you will no doubt be excited (and possibly a little daunted) at the prospect of leaving your family and friends behind and crossing the ocean for an extended period of study in a different country. To help you with your preparations, the Fulbright Commission has produced this pre-departure information, which contains many practical tips on preparing to go to the US, including obtaining a visa, travel, what to pack, living arrangements, campus life and American culture.