Application Tips

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To apply for admission as a first-year or transfer student at Harvard, you will start with the Application. Fill out the Common Application, the Universal College Application, or the Coalition Application (choose one, we have no preference), followed by the supplement to help us get a better sense of who you are. Not sure where to start? We've gathered some helpful tips on how to fill out the main application and the Harvard supplement.

Screenshot of Profile section of Common App

Profile

The Profile section is a place where you'll share detailed information about yourself, including contact information, demographics, and fee waiver request. It's always a good idea to review the information here and update any details, if necessary. Please note that none of the demographic questions in this section are required. 

Profile Section

Screenshot of Common App fee waiver question

Common App Fee Waiver

Screenshot of Common App family questions

Family

In the family section, you'll share information about your household, your parents, and any siblings. Most colleges collect this information for demographic purposes. Even if you're an adult or an emancipated minor, you'll need to fill out this section.

Household

Screenshot of Common App education questions

Education

In the Education section is where you will share information about your current school or coursework, academic honors, and future education plans. Here are some tips on commonly asked questions.

Screenshot of Common App testing questions

Testing

The Testing section is where you'll enter your self-reported scores for any standardized tests that you've taken and wish to report to colleges. However, remember, if you are admitted and choose to enroll at Harvard, you'll be required to submit your official score reports. View more information on our standardized testing requirements on our Application Requirements page.

Tests Taken

Screenshot of Common App activities questions

Activities

The activities section gives you the opportunity to tell schools more about who you are and activities you're involved with outside the classroom. You'll have the opportunity to list up to ten activities, but that doesn't mean you need to enter all ten.

Screenshot of Common App writing questions

Writing

The first section is the personal essay. Harvard requires the submission of the personal essay with your common application. We also offer an opportunity to add an additional information.

Screenshot of Common App - Harvard Questions

Harvard Questions

We're interested in learning more about your academic, extracurricular, and personal interests. The Harvard-specific questions of this section are also required and help us understand how you expect to make the most of your time here. 

While we know students might well change their minds once they are in college, it is helpful for us to get a sense of their current interests and those academic areas in which they have already spent time and effort.

We do not admit students into specific academic programs and we have no quotas or targets for academic fields.

Screenshot of Common App - Harvard Writing Supplement

Writing Supplement

Applicants use this space in a variety of ways: some students send us an essay that they wrote for another school that they thought turned out particularly well; many students leave the space blank. There is no “extra credit” for writing this optional piece. As you are filling out the application, if there is not a topic that naturally comes to mind then you should probably skip this question.