Nearly All Winter Housing Requests Approved

Ninety-six percent of students who applied to stay at Harvard during winter break had their applications approved, according to College spokesperson Jeff Neal.

The percentage of approved applications represents a steady increase in accepted students over the past few years, with 94 percent of students who submitted applications approved last year and 91 percent in 2010.

This year, a total of 1,320 students applied by the October 26 deadline to receive housing in either Winter Break I or Winter Break II. Eighty-nine students applied after the deadline.

Winter Break I runs from December 22 to January 1, and only a “very limited number of students” are permitted to remain on campus in the Houses during this time, according to the College’s website.

Winter Break II runs from January 2 to January 16 and is four days longer than last year’s second session. Students who fall under pre-approved categories, such as senior thesis writers and Phillips Brooks House Association volunteers, automatically are eligible for housing.


The College added two new pre-approved categories for Winter Break II housing this year: campus employment of 20 or more hours a week and “purposeful non-credit educational opportunities,” according to Neal. These activities include an emergency medical technician class and a reading course for non-native English speakers sponsored by the Bureau of Study Counsel.

Last year, the College initiated the approval of housing applications for students studying for graduate school examinations and those with Boston-based internships. Charles A. Hobbs ’13 was approved for winter break housing for the third year as a sports broadcaster for the Harvard radio station WHRB. As a co-administrative director for the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, he will also be working at the shelter over the break.

“It’s such a long break that for me I like to have things to do over the break, so to go and come back is great,” Hobbs said.

Rebecca C. Rosen ’15, a member of the pre-approved Dunster House Opera, will also be staying at Harvard over Winter Break II. Like Hobbs, Rosen said she appreciated the opportunity to return to Harvard during the long break.

“It gives people a chance to do other things while they are here rather than sitting at home when all your friends have gone back to school,” Rosen said.

However, not all students had their applications approved.

Armin Pourshafeie ’13, a California native, said that his application was denied, but that he also didn’t have a “good reason” to be back.

“I just wanted to be around,” Pourshafeie said.

The College will be open to all students on January 18 for Wintersession, a week of College-led and student-initiated programming formerly known as Optional Winter Activities Week.

—Staff writer Melanie A. Guzman can be reached at