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Spring has finally arrived on campus, and here in the Admissions Office we’re excited about the Class of 2016 and what the coming weeks will bring.  It’s been a week since we mailed decisions, and the action never seems to end around here.  So what do we do when we’re not reading applications?   Good question!  The month of April is when we emerge from hibernation and exchange reading and committee meetings for new projects.  A few of the things we’ve been up to:

Our colleagues in the Financial Aid Office are working 8am-8pm daily with families to calculate financial aid awards and help with questions.  We want to do everything we can to make a Harvard education affordable for families, and we’re really proud of the personal attention and care we put into financial aid for admitted students.

Our travel coordinators are working to organize presentations all over the US next month with our Exploring College Options Program, a travel consortium we participate in with great colleagues from Duke University, Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University.  Check out the Harvard in Your Hometown page to learn of upcoming presentations near you next month.

We’ve also been hard at work reaching out to students and families and planning for our Visitas Program for admitted students later this month.  April is one of my favorite months in the admissions cycle because it’s the time when we work most closely with undergraduates.   The undergrads can’t wait to welcome the Class of 2016 to campus and have been hard at work planning well over 100 events for the weekend and signing up to be student hosts.  Last weekend, student representatives of the Undergraduate Admissions Council (UAC), the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program (UMRP) , and the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI)  programs got together for our biannual Call-A-Thon to reach out and congratulate our admitted students.  All of our undergraduate volunteers had a blast eating pizza and having great conversations with students and families.  Some Call-A-Thon photos below!


Mike giving instructions over pizza from Bertucci's– yum!


Gathering for call assignments


Happy callers! (and a background shoutout to Jeremy Lin!)

Big smiles and much congratulations to the Class of 2016!


Stay tuned for lots of great stuff from our bloggers in coming weeks, who will be talking about some of their favorite aspects of campus life.  If you have any requests of topics to cover, let us know in the comments section.  And if you haven’t had a chance to see Shaun’s video What is Harvard Like yet, check it out!


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Hi, everyone!  Today’s a big day for us in the Harvard Admissions Office– the day we mail our decisions to our Regular Decision applicants.  We will also e-mail admissions decisions to applicants today at 5pm EST.

The Committee has put a tremendous amount of time and energy into the admissions process over the past few months, and it’s hard to believe another cycle is coming to an end.  In both the Early Action and Regular Decision admissions processes, we were impressed, humbled, and inspired by the thousands of incredible students who shared their lives and accomplishments with us this year.  We work hard to get to know each of you through your applications and to put together a class of students who will learn from each other and take advantage of the unique opportunities and special community here at Harvard.  And today’s the day when we can finally step back and celebrate the Class of 2016.

This afternoon, the office gathered together to partake in one of our most cherished and long-standing traditions: loading the mail truck.  Who knew that heavy-lifting was part of an Admissions Officer’s job?!  For me, standing side-by-side with my colleagues carrying letters is a wonderful reminder year after year of just how many people work together to make this day happen.   “A real labor of love”– Dean Fitzsimmons calls it, and everyone here at 86 Brattle would agree.

To all students hearing from colleges over the next few weeks, we wish you the very best of luck.  Take time to do your research, talk to students, visit campuses.  College is a rewarding journey, and choosing your home for the next 4 years is an important and exciting decision.

To Harvard College’s Class of 2016, congratulations!!  We hope we’ll see you at our Visitas Program for admitted students in mid-April. In the meantime, feel free to reach out with questions.  We are always happy to hear from you!

Big Smiles Sealing Admit Letters

Loading the Mail Truck



A Glimpse of the Assembly Line



The Cake Says It All… Congratulations!

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Hi everyone!  Elise here,  it’s my favorite time of year in Cambridge, and after several weeks on the road, I’m really happy to get back to campus.   My colleagues and I have had some exciting travel adventures this fall and have talked with students all across the country and throughout the world.  Here are just a few of the places Harvard Admissions Officers have visited in the United States over the past few months:  Montgomery, Alabama; Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles, California; Tallahassee, Florida; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Providence, Rhode Island; McAllen, Texas; Washington D.C., Sioux Falls, South Dakota– and the list goes on!  Beyond the US, we’ve visited China, South and Central America, 4 African nations, 4 Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom.   See photos below from the recruitment trip to Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania that our International Director of Admissions Robin Worth took last month:


Information Session at the US Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe


Presenting at Masibambane High School, outside Cape Town, South Africa


Back on campus, the academic year is in full swing, and Harvard Yard is buzzing with activity.  New England is stunning in the fall, and I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be here.  When the leaves begin to change, Harvard Yard glows with brilliant yellows, reds, and oranges, enough to take your breath away.   Photos to come– I promise!  Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had lots to celebrate at Harvard.  Two weeks ago, students and alumni from all over gathered together to wish Harvard a Happy Birthday.  If you haven’t already, check out what Caroline and Kate had to say about Harvard’s 375th Anniversary!  This past weekend was Head of the Charles, the world’s largest Regatta, and thousands of students and families flocked to the banks of our beloved Charles River to compete, watch races, and partake in the festivities.

Here in the Admissions Office, we’re gearing up for the Early Action application deadline next Tuesday, November 1.  If you’re planning to apply to Harvard under the Early Action deadline, make sure you have your materials in by November 1.  We’ll look forward to reading your application!  And while we’re on the topic of applying, please humor another quick plug to check out our new Application Tips section of the Admissions website for some great helpful hints.

Lastly, as you may have noticed, we have some new faces on the blog.  Visit the updated “Meet your Bloggers” page for bios of our new writers.   Our students can’t wait to tell you about their experiences!  I’d like to offer a big  welcome to our new writers– Natalie, Shannon, Kemie, Scott, Jeanie, Shaun, and Reid.  And we’re delighted to have some familiar faces– Caroline, Jesse, and Kate– on board again this year.  Stay tuned for posts from each of these students throughout the next few months, and let us know in the comments section if there are topics you’d like for our writers to cover.  We’re here for you!

That’s all for now– good luck with your applications!

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Summer simply flew by this year. Was it not only yesterday that my friends and I were going in a joyous post-finals swim in Walden Pond? [An amazing retreat by the way in Lincoln, MA site of where Thoreau wrote Walden].


My last summer of college and it truly felt like it; I spent the majority of the months doing research for my political theory thesis, interviewing professors and lawyers in international law. But in between I made time for something that’s been extremely influential to my time at Harvard: meditation and yoga.



Practicing yoga at Wanderlust in Northern California


I was lucky enough to spend a week helping to set up and take down a yoga and music festival up in gorgeous Lake Tahoe, CA, Wanderlust. Renowned instructors and musicians all came together for the event including Michael Franti and The Wailers.


Helping to build the meditation dome at Wanderlust


During the bustle of the school year, whenever classes or extracurricular life might seem overwhelming, it was so calming to be able to attend yoga classes at our school gym or participate in Harvard Meditation Club. Just remembering to breathe makes day-to-day life that much more vibrant!


All in all, Wanderlust was an amazing experience and I was glad to have the weeks before and after to hike and explore in Northern California. If you ever get the change to kayak across Lake Tahoe, defiantly do it. Just be careful getting out of the kayaks, I ended up more wet at the end than intended!


Preparing for a kayak and hiking adventure with friends

I also devoted a lot of my summer to helping start and teach at a new Urban Gardening Club at home in Los Angeles, CA. I think the highlight had to be helping one of my neighbors tend to his egg-laying chickens: chickens are surprisingly friendly birds with such distinct personalities. I even helped my parents start their own backyard vegetable garden and compost site.


Grape tomatoes from June just beginning to sprout


The tomatoes have nearly quadrupled in size by the time I left and we had so many extra zucchinis we were able to donate bundles to the Gardening Club for neighbors in need.


Now that the school year is well under way, I’m still craving those fresh vegetables, but lucky Cambridge has a wealth of farmer’s markets to choose from.


Until next time,



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Sarah Reid ’15

Hello! I’m Reid, Sarah Reid (007 reference anyone?), a Freshman living in Canaday. I’m originally from Central Vermont, so city life is a bit of a  change for me! I’m interested in too many things to decide on a concentration just yet, but I know I want to pursue a track in Mind, Brain, and Behavioral studies. Outside of my varied courses, I sing in The Nostalgics, a twelve-piece Soul/Motown band of awesome undergrads, participate in the Environmental Action Committee (focusing on sustainable and local foods), work for Dorm Crew, and photograph random events for The Crimson newspaper. I am looking to expand into the arts (a cappella? Freshman musical?), as well as any other extracurricular which sounds interesting (i.e. polo). When I’m not doing those things, I write songs on my guitar, study in Widener library, search and find as much live music as I can, and drink lots of tea in a quest to conquer the common cold.

Kemie Iko ‘14

Hi all!  My name is Kemie Iko and I’m from Fairfax, Virginia (just outside of the nation’s capital).  I am currently a sophomore at the College, and a proud resident of Pforzheimer House.  I am a History and Literature pre-concentrator (let’s hear it for the humanities!) and I have a foreign language citation in Spanish.  Beyond the walls of a classroom, I am involved in a number of on-campus organizations.  I serve as a tour guide for the Crimson Key Society, and I’m also involved with On Harvard Time and the Business Board of the Harvard Crimson.  When I get a minute to myself, you can find me deeply invested in my favorite television programs or catching up on the latest celebrity gossip and the newest YouTube sensations.

Jeanie Nguyen ’14

Although my vocal fluctuations may give it away, I’m a San Diego native, striving to preserve my tan during the depths of East Coast winters. As a sophomore premedical student, I intend to concentrate in Neurobiology with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy and a citation in Spanish. I’m employed at the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory as a Research Assistant. Beyond class and sticking EKG probes on human subjects, I’m an exercise enthusiast who has developed a working mental map of Boston via distance running. My predilection for urban life and culture has been satisfied by my volunteering efforts as a youth tutor and mentor, as well as a liaison for the Distinguished Young Women of America scholarship program and the Elks National Foundation. I split my free time between hysterically laughing at corny jokes and pick up lines, craving delectable avocados, and watching trashy reality television…because who doesn’t like a good old fist pump every now and then?

Scott Yim ’13

Hi! My name is Scott Yim, and I’m from Methuen, MA. I’m a junior and proud resident of Quincy House, studying Biomedical Engineering and pursuing a secondary in Computer Science. I am a Peer Advising Fellow (PAF) for freshmen and a campus tour guide for the Crimson Key Society. I also played on the Varsity Volleyball team here for two years. I love photography, trying new foods, hiking, biking, and basically anything outdoors…especially beach volleyball! It’s been a memorable two years at Harvard thus far, and I’m excited to share my experience with you all.


Shannon Schaubroeck, ‘12

When people ask me where I’m from, I usually shrug and say, “Oh, San Francisco.”  Which is not a lie, but it’s kind of a stretch.  My family is originally from California, but I spent all eighteen of my pre-college years in Africa – Namibia, Tanzania, and finally Kenya.  Being at Harvard has been a huge growing experience, and despite the brutal Cambridge winters, it’s been a joyful time.  I’m an English concentrator, and I hope to study Cultural Anthropology after grad.  To test those waters, I’m partnering with a Radcliffe Fellow in her research on South Africa this year.  Some of my happier pastimes include riding my longboard through Cambridge, playing field hockey with the club team, and going to music shows in Boston.  And as a senior, I’m trying to savor every moment I get to spend with my friends here before graduation!

Natalie Padilla ’15

Hey! My name is Natalie Padilla and I hail from the ever-warm area of Los Angeles, CA. I’m a senior, affiliated with Leverett House.  I’m a Government concentrator with a secondary in Philosophy, currently working on my senior government thesis! On-campus I work for the Food Literacy Project with the Harvard University Dining Services. I’m also the vice president of the Culinary Society and a board member for the Harvard Community Garden. (As you can tell, I’m into food and food issues). I also work with the environmental group on campus, Students for a Just and Sustainable Future. Besides cooking and eating, in my spare time I love to catch up on movies, bike around Cambridge (when it’s not too snowy), and go to concerts in the city. I’m always on the hunt for the perfect soy cappuccino and love an impromptu music-making session.

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