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Tips for Starting Your Degree at Harvard Extension School

Going back to school as an adult student can be overwhelming. These tips will help you navigate next steps as you consider earning your degree at Harvard Extension School.

We’re Here to Help

After completing our request information form, you should hear from an enrollment advisor within a few days. Your enrollment advisor is available to help you navigate requirements and offer advice on the best courses to start your degree. Check your email for your advisor’s invitation to connect.

If you have immediate questions, our enrollment services team can be reached at or (617) 495-4024.

Starting Your Path to Admissions 

Our admissions process is quite different than other schools. Instead of starting with an application, you begin by enrolling in courses right away. Your success in the 2 or 3 degree courses for admission proves that you’re up for the challenge of a Harvard education.

To get started on admission, follow these four steps:

  • Step 1: Check your eligibility for our programs.
  • Step 2: Complete degree courses for admission. 
  • Step 3: Gather your application materials.
  • Step 4: Submit your application. 

Find more details about each admissions step on the following pages:

Planning Your Degree Path

In our degree programs, you can customize your pathway to meet your goals. Here are some ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your education.

Review your degree program requirements.

Take time to review the curriculum for your program of interest. Think about how our course offerings can be combined and sequenced to meet your personal learning goals.

Consider earning a graduate certificate along the way.

Did you know that graduate degree courses can also count toward a certificate? Plan ahead and earn an additional credential demonstrating your expertise in a specialized area of study.

Not quite ready to commit to a degree? Start with a certificate—and decide later that you want to continue on to earn a master’s.

Browse graduate certificates

Research your financial options.

Financing your education may seem overwhelming, but your education is one of the best investments you can make for yourself. Take the time to review your options, so you plan to pay for your education smartly.

Before you are admitted to the program, there are some financial aid options available to you, including scholarships and private student loans. Admitted degree candidates benefit from a greater variety of financial aid options. Complete your admission courses and apply early to take advantage of these resources.

Preparing to be a Student Again

Time management is essential for succeeding as an adult student. Before deciding on a program, take time to review your schedule and determine how much time you can dedicate to school.

Also, identify your support system—the people who will not only encourage you, but also help with responsibilities while you’re tied up with schoolwork.

Once you take stock of your time and resources, you’ll have a stronger grasp on how you can pace your degree while maintaining a healthy life balance.

Learn more strategies for succeeding as an online student.

Picture Your Success

Sometimes the best motivation to get started is envisioning the goal at the end.

Balancing life with the rigors of the Harvard classroom will be challenging. It’ll also be deeply rewarding. At the end of your journey, you will join your peers at Harvard Commencement and hold your degree with pride.

Every May, graduates of the Harvard Extension School participate in Harvard Commencement, earning their degrees alongside graduates from across Harvard University.


Connect with your advisor or contact us at or (617) 495-4024.