College To Resume Accepting Transfer Applications

Harvard College will revive its transfer admissions program after a two-year hiatus, welcoming applications this spring for entrance in the fall of 2010, University officials announced today.

A recent review has determined that an adequate amount of residential space is available for a small incoming class of transfers, according to an online statement posted this afternoon by Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith and Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds.

In March 2008, the admissions office had announced that it would not be accepting any transfer students for the next two years because the undergraduate Houses could not accommodate more people.

The College now expects to admit between 10 and 20 students who have completed one to two years of study at another college or university, according to Director of Transfer Admissions E. Marlene Vergara Rotner.

Transfer candidates will have until March 15 to complete their applications, and admissions decisions will be made by June 1, according to Rotner, who affirmed that Harvard’s financial aid policies will apply to incoming transfer students.

“We will be looking at candidates with clearly developing academic interests who will be well served by Harvard, people who have a clear view of what they want to pursue intellectually at Harvard,” Rotner said.

All transfer students admitted this year under the resuscitated program must assume resident status in one of the Houses on campus, according to the deans' statement.

“We believe that the residential experience is part of undergraduate education. We can’t really separate the two,” said Joshua G. McIntosh, associate dean of student life. “We wouldn’t want to admit transfers if we didn’t have space for them residentially.”

Between 1,000 and 1,300 students per year have applied for a spot among the transfer class in the past, according to Rotner. Nevertheless, the admissions office has “no way of knowing” how the two-year suspension of the program will affect the number of applications the College will receive, she added.

In the past, Harvard has accepted as many as 75 transfer students in a year. The Crimson reported in 2008 that such notable alumni as John F. Kennedy ’40, Henry A. Kissinger ’50, and W.E.B. DuBois, Class of 1890, came to Harvard as transfer students.

At other Ivy League schools, policies on transfer admissions run the gamut: Yale boasts a 2 to 4 percent transfer acceptance rate and accepts 18 to 35 transfer students each year, according to its Web site, and Cornell welcomed 569 transfer students in the fall of 2009. Princeton is the only Ivy League school which does not currently have a program of transfer admissions.

—Staff writer Julie M. Zauzmer can be reached at jzauzmer@college.harvard.edu.

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