Be prepared for your class meetings.
Form or join a study group.
Reach out to your instructors early in the semester to establish a rapport.
Meet with an Academic Coach at the Academic Resource Center.
Through one-on-one meetings, academic coaches work with students on optimizing their learning experience. An academic coach can offer strategies for preparing for class discussion, give pointers on attending office hours, help with composing an email to an instructor, and more. Use the ARC Scheduler to schedule an appointment with an academic coach.
Another defining aspect of the US classroom is its emphasis on academic integrity. Harvard has established an Honor Code that students are expected to understand and respect. You are encouraged to reach out to course faculty, your proctor, or your resident dean with questions about the Honor Code.
Collaboration policies might be new to you. It is important to know that different courses have diffierent policies around collaboration. The good news is that these policies are explained in the course syllabus. It is important to know the collaboration policy for each of your courses, so be sure to read the syllabus for each course. Some collaboration, such as collaboration on submitted work, will need to be acknowledged. Other collaboration, such as having a peer proofread your essay for grammar, may not need to be acknowledged. It is essential to refer to each course's policy and to contact your instructor if anything remains unclear.
Feedback can look different from what you’re used to. Feedback is a vital part of the learning process; it provides an opportunity for reflection on our performance and engagement with course material. It is important to take time to process written feedback. It may be that feedback at Harvard comes in a different tone than you’ve had in the past, and that means it may require some extra work to understand fully. For example, if you are used to getting very direct feedback, you may find comments from some Harvard instructors difficult to interpret at first. In U.S. universities, instructors often provide criticism in language aimed at softening its impact, which can cause students used to a more blunt style to miss the instructor's criticism altogether. If you're having any trouble understanding or interpreting your instructor's feedback, go to office hours to ask for help.
In addition to seeking support from instructors, many other programs and centers at Harvard provide support for international students.
Academic Resource Center (ARC)
The ARC recognizes the additional pressures international students might experience during their transition to Harvard. Please meet with an Academic Coach if you are experiencing difficulty with any aspect of learning at Harvard. You don't even have to know what the problem is! If you're having trouble managing your schedule, your schoolwork, or your relationships with faculty, or if you feel you aren't getting the most out of your educational experience, please reach out. We'll assist you in working through these issues and help you find anyone else you might benefit from working with.
ARC English Language Conversation Program (ELCP)
Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
First-Year Advisers, Proctors, and Peer Advising Fellows (PAFs)
Harvard College Writing Center
Office of International Education (OIE)
The OIE supports your curricular and extracurricular experiences and can connect you with academic and University resources to enhance your education. It also supports the First-Year International Program (FIP) and collaborates with the Harvard Woodbridge International Society. Your fellow international students can provide invaluable insight into navigating Harvard. For first-year students going to FIP, try to connect with some of your leaders and consider joining the Woodbridge Society.