The following is an excerpt from the Summer Activities chapter of our Best Book.
I mentioned earlier that attending summer school may help you find a focus, which Harvard will look upon favorably. You could even consider going to Harvard summer school.
Harvard runs a summer school program which can help give prospective students a better look into what to expect during an academic year at the university.
My own attendance at Harvard summer school gave me the opportunity to work with a professor who was involved in Chinese studies. In the end this worked out well, not only to further develop my passion in Chinese historical studies, but because it resulted in a recommendation from this professor to add to my admission application for Harvard.
Harvard Summer School runs from late June to mid-August. Students can choose from over 300 classes and earn college credit. High school students also have their own activities like a trivia bowl, talent show, and dances. The Secondary School Program specifically prepares students for college by providing college fairs, visits, advice, Harvard College admissions speaking opportunities, college prep workshops and Harvard studying techniques.
What you can gain from attending Harvard summer school?
You can gain a lot more from attending the Harvard summer school than just some extra classes. The program gives high school students a look at what they can expect of life and studies at an Ivy League university. Living in the dorms gives students a feel for what undergrad life will be like at schools like Stanford, MIT, or Cornell. This is an experience you would never get from a simple visit.
I’ve known lots of students who attended the summer school but still did not get admitted. To combat this, I suggest you do more than just attend classes. You need to stand out from every other applicant so get involved in extracurricular activities, intern with a professor, or find some other way to make a memorable mark.
Ivy League universities also offer several summer camps and programs if students want to get a feel for the campus. These extracurricular activities include everything from sports camps to engineering programs.
How to apply for summer school at Harvard
The summer school program at Harvard is not hard to get into. I would however suggest starting early with your application and include the following:
- A copy of your high school transcript
- A brief resume
- If you are interested in interning with a professor during the summer, try this: go to Harvard’s web site and find the email addresses of professors who are teaching a subject area in which you are interested. I must have sent out two dozen emails. I also suggest you personalize each email to fit what that individual professor is teaching; even if it’s not your ideal topic.
I figure the opportunity to just get involved is most important to your college applications. Just attending classes won’t guarantee you admission to Harvard, but making a distinguishable mark and obtaining a recommendation from one of the professors will certainly give you an extra foothold.
Hyperink Takeaway: You can gain a lot by attending Harvard Summer School or taking part in other Ivy League programs. These opportunities can help you understand a college better and reach professors.