How Do you get a scholarship to harvard?

How Do you get a scholarship to harvard

Harvard University, one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world, is a dream destination for many aspiring students. However, the cost of attending Harvard can be a significant barrier for most individuals. Fortunately, Harvard offers a range of scholarships and financial aid options to help make this dream a reality for deserving students. In this article, we will explore the various avenues to secure a scholarship to Harvard and provide valuable insights to help you navigate the application process.

1. Understand the Types of Scholarships Offered

Harvard University offers several types of scholarships to support students from diverse backgrounds. It is crucial to understand these options to determine which ones you may be eligible for:

  • Need-Based Scholarships: Harvard is committed to providing financial aid to students based on their demonstrated financial need. These scholarships cover tuition, fees, and other expenses, ensuring that students from all economic backgrounds have access to a Harvard education.
  • Merit-Based Scholarships: While Harvard primarily focuses on need-based aid, there are also a few merit-based scholarships available. These scholarships recognize exceptional academic achievements, leadership qualities, or unique talents.
  • External Scholarships: Apart from Harvard-specific scholarships, there are numerous external scholarships offered by organizations, foundations, and corporations that can help fund your education at Harvard. Research and apply for these scholarships to increase your chances of receiving financial assistance.

2. Excel Academically

Harvard University has high academic standards, and excelling in your studies is crucial to stand out among the pool of applicants. Here are some tips to enhance your academic profile:

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  • Take Challenging Courses: Enroll in rigorous courses that demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and ability to handle advanced coursework.
  • Achieve High Grades: Strive for excellence in your academic performance. Maintain a high GPA and aim to be at the top of your class.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Prepare thoroughly for standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. Aim for scores that are competitive with the average scores of admitted Harvard students.

3. Engage in Extracurricular Activities

Harvard values well-rounded individuals who have made significant contributions outside the classroom. Engaging in extracurricular activities not only enhances your personal growth but also strengthens your scholarship application. Here’s how you can make the most of your extracurricular involvement:

  • Leadership Roles: Take on leadership positions in clubs, organizations, or community initiatives. This demonstrates your ability to lead and make a positive impact.
  • Community Service: Engage in meaningful community service activities that align with your interests and values. Show your commitment to making a difference in the world.
  • Passion Pursuits: Develop and showcase your talents and passions outside of academics. Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, participating in sports, or engaging in artistic endeavors, these activities highlight your unique qualities.

4. Build Strong Relationships and Seek Recommendations

Strong letters of recommendation can significantly influence your scholarship application. Cultivate relationships with teachers, mentors, and other individuals who can provide insightful recommendations. Here’s how you can go about it:

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  • Engage with Teachers: Actively participate in class, seek help when needed, and build a rapport with your teachers. This will enable them to write personalized and compelling recommendation letters.
  • Extracurricular Advisors: If you are involved in extracurricular activities, develop strong relationships with your advisors or coaches. They can provide unique insights into your character and achievements.
  • Work Experience: If you have work experience, seek recommendations from your employers or supervisors. Their perspective on your work ethic and skills can add value to your application.

5. Craft a Stellar Application Essay

The application essay is an opportunity to showcase your personality, experiences, and aspirations. A well-crafted essay can make a lasting impression on the admissions committee. Here are some tips to create a compelling application essay:

  • Reflect on Your Journey: Share personal anecdotes and experiences that have shaped your character and aspirations. Be authentic and let your unique voice shine through.
  • Showcase Your Fit: Demonstrate your understanding of Harvard’s values, culture, and academic environment. Explain how you can contribute to the Harvard community and make the most of the opportunities available.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your essay with trusted mentors, teachers, or family members. Their feedback can help you refine your essay and make it more impactful.

6. Submit a Comprehensive Financial Aid Application

If you are applying for need-based scholarships, it is essential to submit a comprehensive financial aid application. Here’s what you need to know:

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  • Complete the CSS Profile: The CSS Profile is an online application that helps Harvard assess your financial need accurately. Provide detailed information about your family’s income, assets, and expenses.
  • Submit Tax Documents: Along with the CSS Profile, you will need to submit your family’s tax documents, including W-2 forms and income tax returns. Ensure that these documents are accurate and up to date.
  • Write a Financial Aid Letter: If you have any special circumstances that affect your family’s ability to contribute to your education, write a detailed financial aid letter explaining the situation. This can help the financial aid office understand your unique needs better.

7. Research External Scholarship Opportunities

In addition to Harvard-specific scholarships, there are numerous external scholarships available that can help fund your education at Harvard. Here’s how you can find and apply for these scholarships:

  • Online Scholarship Databases: Explore reputable scholarship databases such as Fastweb,, and College Board’s Scholarship Search. These platforms provide a comprehensive list of scholarships based on various criteria.
  • Local Organizations: Research scholarships offered by local organizations, community foundations, or businesses in your area. These scholarships often have fewer applicants, increasing your chances of success.
  • Corporate Scholarships: Many corporations offer scholarships to support students pursuing higher education. Research companies in your field of interest and check if they have scholarship programs.


Securing a scholarship to Harvard is a competitive process, but with careful planning and preparation, it is achievable. Understanding the types of scholarships offered, excelling academically, engaging in extracurricular activities, building strong relationships, crafting a stellar application essay, submitting a comprehensive financial aid application, and researching external scholarship opportunities are all essential steps in increasing your chances of receiving financial assistance from Harvard. Remember, the journey to a scholarship at Harvard requires dedication, perseverance, and a genuine passion for learning. Good luck!

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