Preparing Your Child for a Harvard University Scholarship as an International Student

Gaining admission to Harvard University is a prestigious achievement; securing a scholarship as an international student elevates this accomplishment even further. Preparing your child for such an opportunity requires early planning, dedication, and a strategic approach. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to pave the way for your child’s successful scholarship application to Harvard University.

Start Early

The journey to a Harvard scholarship starts much before high school. Begin nurturing your child’s academic and soft skills from a young age. Encourage reading, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Harvard looks for students who are not just academically adept but also well-rounded individuals.

Focus on Academic Excellence

Harvard is known for its rigorous academic standards. Students need to demonstrate exceptional academic abilities, which means excelling in school examinations and achieving top scores on standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. Enroll your child in advanced courses or programs like the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) courses to help them stand out.

Cultivate Leadership and Initiative

Harvard values leadership and the ability to impact one’s community. Encourage your child to take up leadership roles in school clubs, sports teams, or community groups. Starting a new club, organizing community service events, or leading projects that have a tangible positive impact can significantly strengthen their application.

Encourage Extracurricular Involvement

Diverse interests demonstrate a well-rounded character. Whether it's sports, music, debate, or arts, consistent involvement and achievement in extracurricular activities are vital. These activities also provide valuable skills such as teamwork, time management, and perseverance.

Develop International Awareness

As an international student, having a global perspective is crucial. Encourage your child to be aware of global issues, learn new languages, or participate in exchange programs. This exposure not only enhances personal growth but also enriches their understanding of different cultures, making them a valuable addition to Harvard’s diverse community.

Seek Opportunities for Advanced Research or Study

Harvard looks favorably upon students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity beyond the classroom. Participation in summer programs, research internships, or advanced courses at local colleges can provide your child with a competitive edge.

Prepare for Proficiency in English

Since Harvard is an English-speaking university, proficiency in English is a must. If it's not your first language, ensure your child takes English courses and practices regularly. They will need to excel in English proficiency tests like TOEFL or IELTS, which are prerequisites for international students.

Network with Alumni and Current Students

Building relationships with Harvard alumni and current students can provide insights and guidance. These connections can offer valuable advice on the application process and life at Harvard, and potentially aid in building a supportive network if admitted.

Focus on Personal Essays

The application essay is a chance for your child to shine. It should reflect their personality, experiences, aspirations, and motivations. The essay is crucial in helping admissions officers understand why they belong at Harvard. Ensure your child invests significant time in crafting a compelling narrative.

Understand the Financial Aid Process

Harvard offers need-based scholarships to international students. Familiarize yourself with the financial aid application process and ensure all documents are meticulously prepared. Harvard’s financial aid policies are generous, aiming to make education accessible to all admitted students, regardless of their financial situation.

Regular Consultations with School Counselors

School counselors can provide guidance throughout the application process. They can help ensure that your child meets all academic requirements and deadlines and can offer advice on strengthening the overall application.


Securing a scholarship at Harvard as an international student requires careful planning and sustained effort. By focusing on academic excellence, leadership, extracurricular achievements, and thorough preparation for the application process, your child can enhance their chances of not only being admitted to Harvard but also winning a scholarship. With determination and the right guidance, your child can aim for nothing less than excellence.

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