Harvard Scholarship Criteria: Your Path to Success


A Harvard scholarship can open doors to an exceptional education and a bright future. To secure this financial aid, it’s crucial to understand the various scholarship criteria and how to position yourself for success. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of Harvard scholarships, their eligibility criteria, and tips to enhance your chances of obtaining the financial assistance you need.

The Basics

Types of Scholarships

Harvard offers three main types of scholarships: merit-based, need-based, and external scholarships. Merit-based scholarships recognize outstanding academic, artistic, or athletic achievements, while need-based scholarships provide financial aid based on demonstrated financial need. External scholarships are funded by organizations outside of Harvard University.

Eligibility Criteria

Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria, such as academic accomplishments, financial need, or extracurricular involvement. Understanding these criteria is essential for identifying the scholarships best suited for you.

Application Process

The application process for Harvard scholarships varies depending on the type. For merit-based and need-based scholarships, you typically need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile. External scholarships may have additional application requirements.


It’s crucial to be aware of scholarship deadlines, as they differ for each type. Missing a deadline could cost you the opportunity to secure financial aid.

Merit-based Scholarships


Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance, leadership, or talent in specific fields. To qualify, you must excel in your chosen area and showcase your achievements.


Some examples of merit-based scholarships at Harvard include the National Merit Scholarship and the Harvard Club of Boston Scholarship.

Need-based Scholarships


Need-based scholarships aim to help students facing financial constraints. To be eligible, you must demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms.


Examples of need-based scholarships at Harvard include the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI) and the Harvard Grant.

External Scholarships


External scholarships are awarded by private organizations, foundations, and companies. Eligibility criteria for these scholarships vary widely and may include factors like academic performance, leadership, community service, or intended field of study.


Examples of external scholarships include the Gates Millennium Scholars Program and the Coca-Cola Scholars Program.

Tips for Success


Thoroughly research all available scholarship opportunities, both at Harvard and externally. The more scholarships you’re aware of, the better your chances of securing financial aid.


Gather all required documents, essays, and recommendations well ahead of the deadlines. This gives you ample time to ensure everything is in order and avoids last-minute stress.

Stand Out

To increase your chances of winning a scholarship, highlight your unique skills, talents, or experiences in your application. Make yourself stand out from the crowd by emphasizing what sets you apart.

Utilize Resources

Take advantage of resources like your high school guidance counselor, college financial aid office, and online scholarship databases to help you find and apply for suitable scholarships.


Understanding Harvard scholarship criteria is the first step on your path to success. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of scholarships, eligibility criteria, and application processes, you’ll be better equipped to secure financial aid for your education at Harvard University. Keep the tips shared in this guide in mind, and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your academic dreams with the help of a Harvard scholarship!


  1. Do I have to apply for scholarships separately at Harvard?
    For merit-based and need-based scholarships, you typically need to submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms. External scholarships may require separate applications.
  2. Can international students apply for Harvard scholarships?
    Yes, international students are eligible for various scholarships at Harvard. Make sure to research scholarships specifically designed for international students, as well as those open to all applicants.
  3. What is the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI)?
    The HFAI is a need-based scholarship program aimed at ensuring that students from low-income backgrounds can attend Harvard without incurring debt. Under HFAI, families with annual incomes below a certain threshold receive full financial aid packages.
  4. Are there any scholarships for transfer students at Harvard?
    Yes, transfer students can apply for both need-based and merit-based scholarships, as well as external scholarships. It’s essential to research and understand the specific requirements for each scholarship.
  5. How can I increase my chances of winning a scholarship at Harvard?
    To increase your chances, research all available scholarships, prepare your application materials in advance, stand out by showcasing your unique skills or experiences, and utilize resources to help you find and apply for suitable scholarships.

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