3 months ago
Harvard prospective students

What are the requirements for international students to apply at Harvard?

I've been dreaming about studying in Harvard but, I'm still a bit confused about what should I prepare and what should I put in my essays. I'm from Indonesia and the curriculum in here and USA is very different.

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 months ago

@Macchiato already sent a great answer, so I'll just add that the application requirements for international applicants are the same as those for students in the US. For more information, check Harvard's website here: https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/apply/international-applicants

As for what you should prepare and what you should put in your essays, it's the same as students applying everywhere. If you want to get into Harvard, I'd recommend that you take the most challenging courses available to you and do as well in them as possible. Build a strong extracurricular resume through things like participation in clubs, sports, artistic pursuits, internships, research programs, and/or work experience. Ideally you'll have a "spike," which is one specific area in which you've achieved great things (this could be in computer science, in violin performance, in medical research, in anything really), and then a couple other activities as well. If your spike is in an area outside of your intended major (IE. if you have a spike in tennis but want to study engineering), then you'll ideally have a couple extracurricular activities related to your intended major as well.

In your essays, make sure you respond to the prompts directly, show don't tell, and try to build a profound and compelling narrative about yourself. Basically, don't just state facts or write out your resume. Instead, make sure you relate everything back to your deeper motivations, explaining why you're passionate about your hobbies and interests, what challenges you've faced and how you've worked to overcome then, how you respond in difficult situations, what you hope to pursue in college and why, and so on.

If you want advice on the Harvard essays specifically, we have blog posts on this topic from years past, and will have a new one after the Common App goes live. Here's our post from last year:


3 months ago[edited]

Generally, these are the requirements:

1. SAT/ACT (although, they are test-optional for admission cycle 2021 - 2022)

2. Transcript of Records

3. Personal Statement/Essay (there are essay prompts that you can see on Common App, you can choose one from them, or create your own narrative).

4. Letters of Recommendation

5. Financial Aid docs (if you will apply), like: Tax Return forms, Statement of Income or Non-filing of Income Tax if applicable. Also, you may be asked to set up a CSS profile since it's needed.

6. and your application submitted using Common App or Coalition.

Things like extracurricular list, demographic profile, etc., can be filled into the Common App or Coalition platform.

Note: for documents written in your language, it's better to submit a translated version of it. For financial documents, you are also encouraged to include a USD conversion.

Additional for internationals is English Proficiency Test, either:

A. Duolingo



D. other tests that are accepted but not listed above.

English Proficiency Test is not mandatory though. It is also waived if you attended an institution that uses English as medium of instruction for at least 2 years (if I remember correctly), or if English is your first language.


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