Dear Students in Harvard College:
For almost four centuries, Harvard College has been educating responsible citizens and citizen-leaders for our society. When you join the Harvard community, you are embarking on a liberal arts and sciences education that is meant to be transformative – academically, socially, and personally. The Handbook for Students is designed to orient you to Harvard College as you begin this journey. It contains information on the academic, social, and personal development opportunities available to you and the many resources to help you find advice and make good choices.
The Handbook can be your guide to academic requirements, our residential system, and the many activities that take place outside the classroom. You will also find in these pages the broad outlines of the concentrations and secondary fields offered by the College. Importantly, the Handbook clarifies the values and standards we hold as a community and that we expect you to honor in your conduct as a student in the College. If you ever have questions about any of these standards, please do not hesitate to reach out to your professors, TFs, tutors, proctors, or Allston Burr Assistant Dean or Resident Dean of Freshmen. As members of an academic community committed to the search for truth and knowledge, we all share the responsibility for upholding these standards. To that end, the College has adopted an honor code. The Honor Code is the result of several years of open discussion and collaboration between students, faculty and staff. A copy of the code can be found on the Honor Code website.
As you read this Handbook, I hope you will consider the numerous possibilities it suggests. The next four years provide the best possible opportunity for you to stretch, take a chance, in your curricular and extra-curricular life. There is no one best way to “do Harvard,” and students who are open to new experiences get the most from their time here. Your years at Harvard will be well spent if you venture beyond your “comfort zones” both inside and outside the classroom. Take time to reflect on who you are and who you are trying to become. Take classes in subjects that introduce you to fields and ideas outside of your concentration and help you develop new ways of thinking and understanding. Participate in activities you have never tried. And most important of all, reach out to and connect with people who are different from you. The Harvard community is staggeringly diverse in interests, talents, backgrounds, demography, and values. Our ability to meaningfully engage in a diverse community can set the patterns for the changes we want to see in our larger society.
Life at the College, as anywhere, can be confusing and feel overwhelming. Remember that there are many people available here to help you work through these moments and think through your choices, both academic and otherwise. Seek out advisers you like and trust, and never be afraid to ask for some of their time. We hope that you will read this Handbook carefully and use it to find the support you need. You don’t have to earn the right to ask for help. Everyone at the College wants you to flourish.
I look forward to meeting many of you at functions both formal and informal. Please feel free to come to my office hours to discuss any issues of concern to you, or just to get acquainted. If you see me on campus, please introduce yourself. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is anything we in the College offices can do to help you better navigate your college life, I hope you will let me know. We want you to feel a part of the rich and varied community that is Harvard. I wish you a happy, healthy, and fruitful year.
Danoff Dean of Harvard College
Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Harvard Business School
Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
University Hall, 119
617-495-1560 or email@example.com