Prospective Students

Historically, Finns have been attracted by master’s degrees from Harvard’s graduate schools. This can be explained by the shorter investment in time as well as building on top of highly valued Finnish college degrees.

As the world – and higher education – has become more international, the admissions of Finnish students to Harvard college have become more common. Again, drivers for this come from both higher awareness of the opportunity among Finnish high school seniors as well as available financial aid offered by Harvard College.

Studying at Harvard is a unique experience and accelerates meeting one’s full potential. It also brings a lifelong network of classmates that – apart from being smart – are also multi-talented and genuinely nice people.

We have collected below a few pointers to those in Finland considering to apply to Harvard.

Financial Aid

Harvard College wants to bring the best people to Harvard, regardless of their ability to pay — and we do. About 70 percent of our students receive some form of aid, with over 60 percent receiving need–based scholarships.

Two principles guide us:

  • Admission to Harvard is need-blind, by which we mean that financial need is not an impediment to admission. International students have the same access to financial aid as United States citizens.
  • Financial aid at Harvard is entirely need–based and we are committed to meeting the demonstrated need of all students. Students apply for aid annually and every year we review our financial aid program, considering such things as any changed student or family circumstances, university resources, and demand.


Harvard is the world’s premier center for education and research. The number of applications greatly exceeds the available offers of admission and, therefore, a thorough review of the admissions criteria and preparation of the admissions application forms is important.

Due to the language tests required for non-native English speakers (TOEFL test) and other standardized tests (such as the GMATLSATMCAT and GRE depending on faculty), the application process – for any US university – should be started at least one year before the intended start of studies. In addition to the standardized tests, another important aspect of the application process is the required letters of recommendation. The recommendations are an extremely important part of your application.

The admissions assessment includes many factors such as academic record, work experience and demonstrated leadership, and also intangible qualities such as energy, ambition, sound judgment, ability to overcome adversity and high ideals. Harvard seeks not only to identify and recognize characteristics that are important to academic success, but also qualities that will contribute diversity of perspective and experience, general excellence, and vitality to the student body. Don’t thus limit your application to academic record and merits!

In addition to completing the application forms the application process may include interviews. For example all applicants to Harvard College will be interviewed in Finland by Harvard alumni.

Full information and links to each school’s admissions offices are available at the Harvard Admissions website. There is no single office at Harvard University that handles admissions for all students to all programs. Instead, each school maintains its own admissions office and specialized staff to meet the needs of their prospective students.

Due to the differences between the Finnish academic environment (in particular the admissions process) and that of Harvard, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to be in touch with Finnish alumni for background information regarding the application process.

Harvard Rahasto (Fund)

Based on an initiative and fundraising of Harvard Club of Finland, Finnish Cultural Foundation founded Harvard Rahasto (Harvard Fund) in 1997. Its purpose is to raise funds and grant scholarships for talented Finns to study, teach and conduct research at Harvard University.

The fund is operationally separate from Harvard Club and it is administered by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. President of Harvard Fund is currently Seppo Väkevä and members of the board include Leena Kirjavainen and Ralf Sunell.

Harvard Fund awards grants every three years and they can be applied through Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Harvard Fund has awarded fellowships to the following Finns

  • Elina Saviharju for legal studies at Harvard Law School
  • Mari Jyväsjärvi for studies at Harvard Divinity School
  • Antti Hietaranta for medical studies at Harvard Medical School
  • Karla Wejberg for legal studies at Harvard Law School
  • Siri Uotila for studies at Harvard College
  • Jyri Eskola for studies at Harvard Design School
  • Richard Cawén for studies at Harvard Business School