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DIRECTOR OF TRANSFER AND [email protected]
May 2006
Dear Transfer Student:
Congratulations on your admission to Harvard College. We look forward to your arrival with
great anticipation.
Our office coordinates the orientation for new transfer students. We will guide you as you begin at
Harvard, addressing your questions and concerns until you are settled into life in your residential House and
your academic department. Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have before you enroll. New
students enrolling in Spring 2007 will have nearly a week of orientation activities. You should plan to arrive
at Harvard between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday, January 26, 2007, when the residential Houses will be
expecting you. Activities will begin that evening. A required orientation meeting* will take place on
Monday, January 29, 2007. Spring Term classes will begin on Wednesday, January 31, 2007.
Following is the first installment of information you will receive pertaining to academic offerings
and degree requirements at Harvard. It also includes practical information on housing and meal plans.
Please read this information carefully.
You will find several useful sources of information regarding academic opportunities and
requirements, the most comprehensive of which are Courses of Instruction and the Handbook for Students.
The 2005-06 versions of both are available now on the Web at www.registrar.fas.harvard.edu. The
2005-06 version of Courses will be on the Web beginning in July 2006. Hard copies of Courses and the
Handbook will be available when you arrive. You are undoubtedly already familiar with some of what is
listed in Courses of Instruction, and are eager to begin planning your program. Before you do so, however,
you should be aware that there are likely to be changes between the current Courses and the 2006-07 version.
The Fields of Concentration section of the Handbook outlines the educational goals and
requirements for each of Harvard’s more than forty concentrations (major field of study). Although you
have tentatively indicated on your application the academic department in which you might study here, it
is still useful to read Fields, especially the information for departments related to your current major field
of study. Harvard’s departments may have slightly different approaches than those at your current school,
or you may decide to head in a new direction. Again, be sure to review the 2006-07 Fields of
Concentration next fall for any revisions to concentration requirements. In particular, please see the
enclosed sheet of information about new concentrations in the Life Sciences that were approved in April
* Please remember that the Monday meeting is absolutely required. If you fail to attend this meeting, the
Admissions Committee may decide to withdraw its offer of admission. If you think anything might interfere with
your attendance, please let us know as soon as possible.
All Harvard students must meet certain degree requirements in addition to those of the
concentration: the Core requirement, the Expository Writing requirement, and the Foreign Language
Core Curriculum. All Harvard students devote almost one quarter of their academic program to
courses in the Core Curriculum. For transfer students, the minimum number of Core areas from which
courses must be chosen is specified upon entrance, as each student’s transfer credit is evaluated.
First Term sophomore transfers—five Core courses
Second Term sophomore transfers—four Core courses
Junior transfers—four Core courses
Transfer students who opt to extend their undergraduate studies must complete one additional Core area for
each additional term, with the exception that junior transfers who remain for a fifth term will not need to
take a fifth Core course. A separate pamphlet, Introduction to the Core Curriculum, also to be mailed
under separate cover, explains the details of the Core requirement, and describes the areas of study
represented within it. It is also available on the Web at www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~core (see
“Core Curriculum Guide for students who enter in September 2002 and thereafter”) and is critical reading
for transfer students.
Expository Writing. All Harvard students are responsible for meeting the Expository Writing
requirement, and many transfer students do so by enrolling in a one-semester course during their first term
here. You may petition to be exempted from the course on the basis of previous college writing (written in
English language only). To do so, you must submit to my office samples of your non-fiction prose in any
field, written for and evaluated by a member of your college or university faculty, so save your original,
graded papers from the current year. (I can’t overemphasize how important this is!) At least some of
the work submitted should demonstrate your ability to use research materials and to cite secondary sources.
A total of twenty pages of text (originals, not photocopies, with faculty members’ comments) should be
mailed to the Office of Transfer Programs during the fall. January 5, 2007, is the absolute deadline for
handing in papers. Before the beginning of the spring term the Director of Expository Writing will
evaluate your writing and decide whether you are exempt from this requirement (commonly known as
Foreign Language. There are several ways of meeting Harvard’s Foreign Language requirement:
one full year of foreign language study in college; a minimum score of 600 on an SAT-II test that includes
a reading component; a score of 5 on an appropriate AP language exam; or a score of 7 on an International
Baccalaureate Higher Level exam. The language requirement will be waived upon petition for any student
whose native language is not English, who is proficient in both that language and in English, and who has
completed secondary school instruction in that language. Students who have not met the requirement at
entrance may do so by passing a Harvard placement exam or by completing appropriate coursework at
Harvard. A program of summer study may prepare you to pass our foreign language placement exam,
administered during orientation week. Note that study or summer coursework will not in itself satisfy the
language requirement and will not count for Harvard degree credit. You might, however, consider a foreign
language course at Harvard Summer School this summer; a passing grade will satisfy the requirement and
may be credited toward your degree here. Please consult us if you are considering a Harvard Summer
School course. If you do not pass the requirement at entrance, you will need to enroll in one year of a
foreign language during your first year here.
Finally, when you arrive in late January, you will have the opportunity to meet with advisers to
discuss how your transfer credit applies to your course work here, the results of your placement tests, and
other curricular questions you may have. To help with these conversations and with your departmental
evaluations, please save your reading lists, syllabi, and other relevant course materials from course
work you have done already.
Please arrange to have a final official transcript from your prior school(s) sent to Ms. Marilyn
Danz, Assistant Registrar, 20 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, for evaluation of your transfer credit.
Be sure to include her name and street address or the transcript may be delayed. The deadline for
transcripts for Spring term matriculating transfer students is January 15.
Spring term transfer students who have studied abroad in the fall should report both to the Office
of International Programs and to Ms. Danz in the Office of the Registrar
so that your coursework can be evaluated. A final transcript from the program is
Most transfer students elect to reside in Harvard College housing; in fact, about 97% of
undergraduates live on campus. There are several advantages to this: living with other students, having a
resident tutor nearby, and living in housing provided for the academic year rather than the twelve-month
lease required by most Cambridge area landlords. But other housing options do exist: apartments within
and outside the Cambridge community, “room for service” arrangements in private residences, cooperative
living, and, where practicable, living at home. Although there is a great variety in the kinds of housing and
living arrangements available in the Boston area, students often find the selection of affordable housing
options limited. If you do not want College housing, therefore, I urge you to seek other arrangements as
early as possible.
We have enclosed information and an application for College housing. Those of you who meet
our December deadline for applications will be guaranteed on-campus housing. You may wish to
explore alternatives through Harvard’s Off-Campus Housing Office at 7 Holyoke Street, Cambridge. See
www.hres.harvard.edu/rre.htm. To use the services of that office you must appear in person and
present a photo identification along with your letter of admission. The office is strict about this
identification requirement. You may wish to call the office at (617) 495-3377 to verify their hours.
Board: Variable Meal Plan
Students who live on campus are required to be on full board, while students living off campus
have the option of subscribing to a variable College board contract. If you live off campus, I recommend
that you invest in a modest meal plan at least during your first semester. Taking meals in a College dining
hall offers an excellent opportunity to meet House tutors, faculty members, and other students, and to keep
informed of extracurricular events taking place in the House as well as in the larger Harvard community. If
you are interested in learning more about the meal plan for off-campus students, please contact Harvard
Dining Services at (617) 496-8600.
All Harvard students on board plans contract for meals with their own House. In addition, on
most days you can also eat in other Houses (“eating interhouse”) by showing your Harvard ID card at the
Miscellaneous, i.e., Between Now and Then
In December we will send detailed information about orientation week and your preparation for
next year, including information of special relevance to transfer students and a calendar of events for your
first weeks here. You will also hear from the Transfer Links, a committee of former transfer students who
will be actively involved in welcoming and orienting you when you arrive. In the meantime, if you have
questions about any aspect of life at Harvard, please email, write, or call. We would be happy to meet with
you if you are in the area and/or to put you in touch with a member of the Transfer Links or with a
member of the Faculty. If you have particular questions about plans to study elsewhere during the fall term
and how that might affect your transfer credit, please contact the Office of International Programs now at
(617) 496-2722, or by email . Some students use their fall term to explore an
activity outside of academia for a few months. Whatever your choice for fall, we will be happy to talk to
you about your plans. Email or call (617) 495-1555 for an appointment.
We look forward to hearing from you, and to meeting you in January, or sooner. Once again,
welcome to Harvard!
Julia Garrett Fox
[email protected]

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