Key Dates & Deadlines for Harvard Scholarships

Applying for scholarships to fund your education at Harvard University can be a complex process. Staying informed about key dates and deadlines is crucial to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities. This article will discuss the critical dates and deadlines for Harvard scholarships, as well as provide tips for staying organized throughout the application process.

Understanding Harvard Scholarship Types

Need-Based Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are awarded based on your family’s financial circumstances. Harvard offers generous need-based financial aid packages that can cover tuition, room, board, and other expenses. The university is committed to making education affordable for students from all backgrounds.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, leadership qualities, and other talents. While Harvard itself doesn’t offer merit-based scholarships, there are many external scholarships available for students with exceptional academic and extracurricular accomplishments.

General Timeline for Harvard Scholarships

Harvard scholarships have various deadlines throughout the year, depending on the type of scholarship, the applicant’s status (freshman or transfer), and whether they are applying for early action or regular decision.

Important Dates for Freshman Applicants

Early Action Deadline

Students applying for early action should submit their Harvard application and financial aid materials by November 1. Early action applicants will receive an admissions decision by mid-December.

Regular Decision Deadline

Students applying for regular decision should submit their Harvard application and financial aid materials by January 1. Regular decision applicants will receive an admissions decision by the end of March.

Important Dates for Transfer Applicants

Transfer applicants should submit their Harvard application and financial aid materials by March 1. Transfer applicants will receive an admissions decision by mid-May.

Financial Aid Application Deadlines

FAFSA Deadline

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be submitted by February 1 for both freshman and transfer applicants. The FAFSA is required for students seeking federal financial aid and need-based scholarships from Harvard.

CSS Profile Deadline

The College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile should be submitted by November 1 for early action applicants, January 1 for regular decision applicants, and March 1 for transfer applicants. The CSS Profile is required for students seeking institutional need-based scholarships from Harvard.

External Scholarship Deadlines

External scholarships have varying deadlines, usually ranging from the fall of the previous year to the spring of the application year. It’s essential to research and apply for external scholarships early to maximize your opportunities.

Harvard-specific Scholarship Deadlines

Some Harvard-specific scholarships may have unique deadlines. Consult the scholarship’s webpage or contact the financial aid office for specific deadline information.

Tips to Stay Organized

Create a Calendar

Keep track of all scholarship deadlines using a calendar, either digital or physical. This will help you visualize and manage the application process.

Prioritize Deadlines

Prioritize scholarship applications based on their deadlines and your eligibility. Focus on completing applications with earlier deadlines or those with higher award amounts.

Set Reminders

Use reminders on your phone or computer to alert you of upcoming deadlines, ensuring you don’t miss any critical dates.

What to Do If You Miss a Deadline

If you miss a deadline, contact the scholarship provider or financial aid office as soon as possible to discuss your options. While some deadlines may be strict, others may offer some flexibility. It’s always worth asking.

Maintaining Your Scholarship Eligibility

Stay informed about the requirements for maintaining your scholarship, such as maintaining a specific GPA, participating in certain activities, or taking a minimum number of credits. Failing to meet these requirements may result in losing your scholarship.

Renewing Your Scholarships

Some scholarships are renewable, meaning you can receive the award for multiple years if you continue to meet the eligibility criteria. Be aware of the renewal process and deadlines to ensure you don’t lose funding.

Planning Ahead for Future Scholarship Opportunities

Even after enrolling at Harvard, continue to search for and apply for scholarships throughout your college career. New opportunities may arise, and your eligibility may change as you progress through your studies.


Staying informed and organized is key to successfully navigating the Harvard scholarship application process. By understanding the various types of scholarships, knowing the important dates and deadlines, and using effective organization strategies, you can maximize your chances of securing funding for your Harvard education.


1. Do I need to apply separately for need-based scholarships at Harvard?

No, your financial aid application, which includes the FAFSA and CSS Profile, serves as your application for need-based scholarships at Harvard.

2. Does Harvard offer merit-based scholarships?

While Harvard does not offer merit-based scholarships, many external organizations provide merit-based awards that can be used to fund your education at Harvard.

3. How do I find external scholarships?

You can search for external scholarships through online databases, high school guidance offices, and community organizations. It’s important to start your search early and apply to as many scholarships as possible.

4. Can I receive both need-based and merit-based scholarships?

Yes, you can receive both need-based and merit-based scholarships to fund your Harvard education. However, your need-based financial aid package may be adjusted based on the total amount of merit-based scholarships you receive.

5. How can I stay organized throughout the scholarship application process?

Creating a calendar, prioritizing deadlines, setting reminders, and regularly reviewing your progress can help you stay organized and on track throughout the application process.

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