• 4 months ago •
Harvard prospective students

What is the Astro program like at Harvard?

Currently, I am a junior in high school wanting to apply to Harvard next year! I will be wanting to major in Astrophysics and was just wondering what the program is like!

What prior knowledge do you need to have before going? What is a good background to have before applying?

For example, I am a docent at an observatory, founded an astronomy club, and also participate in USAAAO (Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad). Is there anything more I can do to help my application stand out?


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Accepted Answer
• 3 months ago

I didn’t take any Astro classes while I was at Harvard, but one of my close friends actually started out intending to concentrate in Astro! He said that he had 4s and 5s on AP Physics C and had done math all the way through multi-variable in high school and still found the classes extremely challenging. (He did say that he wasn’t particularly committed, and he ended up switching to a humanities concentration!) He told me that if you have a strong math and physics background and you work hard when you arrive, you should be all right!

As an astrophysics student you’ll take a variety of courses in astronomy, math, and physics, you’ll learn how to use the Harvard College Observatory, you’ll have opportunities to travel to other remote observatories, and you’ll do research and write a junior paper and also possibly a senior thesis. For more information, you should check out the undergraduate pages on the Harvard Department of Astronomy here:


It’s excellent that you have so many astro-related activities on your resume already, and that you demonstrate real commitment and leadership in the field. You may even find a spot on your application to say that you’re excited to get involved with the student astro club on campus (they actually have their own observatory, separate from HCO). You could tie this to your previous experience starting a astronomy club! Of course, any math and physics activities will look good on your resume, even if they’re not specifically related to astro. All in all, it sounds like you’re probably pretty well prepared and doing all the right things.


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