In this issue:
- School Visits Programme – book now for the autumn term
- Honoring the Class of 2021
- Harvard plans full return to campus this fall
- Applying to US colleges – what should I be doing now?
School Visits Programme – book now for the autumn term. Our school presentation ‘Study in the USA – Is it for you?’ can now be delivered either remotely or in person.
Before COVID-19 struck, the Harvard Outreach Team visited around 30 schools per year 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. Since March 2020 all our presentations have been delivered remotely, but from the Autumn Term 2021 we will return to offering in person visits (where conditions allow) as well as remote presentations. In either case, the presentation takes 40 minutes plus time for questions – a total length of 45-60 minutes.
Our talks are aimed at students in Years 11 & 12 (S4 & S5 in Scotland or Years 12 & 13 in N. Ireland), their parents, teachers and university advisers. 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!
To request a visit, 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.
For the second year in succession, Graduation Day at Harvard, which took place on 27 May, was a mostly virtual event with speeches and musical interludes being streamed live. The whole event was recorded and is available to view online.
The recorded event starts with a slide show of photos depicting the myriad of activities undertaken by members of the Class of 2021 over the past four years, with a rousing musical accompaniment from the Harvard University Band. The photos provide some great visuals of life on campus, and will be of interest to students thinking of applying to Harvard in the next year or two. Many of the pictures, including this one, were taken before social distancing arrangements came into force:
The formal proceedings began with the opening address from Harvard President Lawrence Bacow….
….and ended with a rendition of ‘Fair Harvard’ sung by the University-Wide Commencement Choir.
A small number of students were able to remain on campus for Graduation Day, some of whom had their photos taken around Harvard Yard. Here, Mariam Diallo ’21 of Los Angeles poses on the steps of the Widener Library:
Harvard plans full return to campus this fall
John Harvard keeps watch over the Yard,
waiting for a full complement of students to return in the fall
You may have read reports in the British press that UK universities have been more cautious this year about issuing offers of admission, and applicants have had to wait longer to find out if they have received an offer or not. According to The Observer (23 May 2021) the reason for this is that UK universities: “…have to take everyone who meets their offer grades, so with accommodation and facilities already stretched, and social distancing restrictions likely, many elite institutions have made fewer offers than usual to protect themselves.”
Despite facing similar issues, Harvard has made the decision to admit a full class this autumn, with 1,962 students being admitted to the Class of 2025. It is also planning for a full return to campus, including opening residential accommodation at full density and holding classes in person. Click here to read the full article in the Harvard Gazette.
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 (England & Wales) S4 (Scotland) Year 12 (N. Ireland)
If you are unable to take your normal exams this term, you should nevertheless have been working hard in your classes (online or in person) so that your teachers provide you with a good assessment to the relevant exam board. If social distancing regulations allow, 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, even if you have to do this online. If it is not possible, don’t worry, you will not be marked down for it when you come to apply for university in two years’ time, but under normal circumstances US universities do like you to have done something positive during your summer holidays.
Year 12 (England & Wales) S5 (Scotland) Year 13 (N. Ireland)
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 online application forms go live. You can apply to as many colleges as you like, but a shortlist of 5-8 colleges is typical. The July issue of the newsletter will contain information on the main two application methods, the Common Application Form and the Coalition, and what allowances they are making this year to take account of the fact that many applicants will not have not been able to take their normal exams.
Year 13 (England & Wales) S6 (Scotland) Year 14 (N. Ireland)
Earlier this month, Harvard announced that it is planning a full return to campus this fall (see above). This will be great news if you have been admitted to the Class of 2025 to begin your studies in August. The Harvard Gazette reports that a full range of academic and support activities have been arranged for incoming first year students:
“The opportunities include 130-plus freshman seminars, a robust support system that provides more than 400 first-year advisers, 200 peer advising fellows, and 60 resident proctors, research opportunities with close faculty collaboration, 49 newly created secondary fields, and a recently revised and flourishing General Education program.”
For many of you, going to university will be the first time you have ever lived away from home, which can be quite scary, particularly if you are flying across the Atlantic to study in a different continent – so do make sure you take advantage of the support and orientation activities available to you. They will certainly help you to meet new friends and feel you belong to the Harvard community.
As you prepare for your great journey, make sure you keep in touch with the Harvard International Office, particularly if you are experiencing travel restrictions or problems with obtaining your visa. The Office is well aware of the issues currently being experienced by incoming international students and will be able to give good advice if you are having problems.
Harvard College will permit international undergraduates, whose arrival has been delayed by visa processing or other barriers, to enroll this fall if they can arrive on campus by the Fifth Monday (October 4, 2021). The Office of International Education will contact these students and advise them in selecting courses that they can begin remotely and then join in person after arrival. International undergraduates who cannot arrive by the Fifth Monday may enroll in the spring 2022 semester. Please contact Camila Nardozzi, Director, Office of International Education with your arrival plans (internationalstudents@fas.
Any student who has questions related to visa or immigration-related issues is encouraged to contact Jessica Heffernan, Adviser to International Students and Scholars within the Harvard International Office, at jessica_heffernan@harvard.