Harvard University (MA)


Restricted Early Action: Nov. 1, 2016

Regular Decision: Jan. 1, 2017

Common Application


Common Application Essays:

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so. (The application won't accept a response shorter than 250 words.

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. 
  • The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? 
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Supplemental Essay Questions: 

  • Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (150 words maximum)
  •  You may wish to include an additional essay if you feel that the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your accomplishments. You may write on a topic of your choice, or you may choose from one of the following topics: (1200 words maximum)

1. Unusual circumstances in your life
2. Travel or living experiences in other countries
3. What you would want your future college roommate to know about you
4. An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you
5. How you hope to use your college education
6. A list of books you have read during the past twelve months 

Coalition Application

Yes (No yet available for Fall 2017 applications)

Coalition Application Essays:

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution. 
  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Universal College Application


Universal College Application Essay:

Please write and/or upload an essay (650 words or fewer) on a topic of your choice that demonstrates your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. Some ideas include writing about: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event. 

Documents Required:

  •  Application and Supplement (Submit ONLY ONE Application)
  •  $75 Application Fee or Waiver
  • 2 Teacher Evaluations
  • Secondary School Report
  • Mid-Year School Report
  • First Marking Period Report (Regular Decision)
  • Interview - Encouraged but not mandatory
  • SAT (w/h writing) or ACT (w/h writing)
  • 2 SAT Subject Tests (Strongly recommended)
  • TOEFL Score

Other Information:

Address:  Harvard College Admissions
               86 Brattle Street
               Cambridge, MA 02138

Phone: 617-495-1551 (Admissions Office)

FAX: 617-495-8821

E-mail: college@fas.harvard.edu
Application Info:


SAT/TOEFL Code: 3434

ACT Code: 1840