Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is winter recess?

Winter Recess is the time period between the end of the fall term and the start of the spring term. It encompasses the period of time when the College is closed to students, as well as the week before classes begin, Wintersession, during which enrichment programming is offered. We anticipate that some students will return to campus for Wintersession, while others may choose to explore off-campus activities for the entire break. Whatever your decision, we hope that you will use this period in ways that are most beneficial to you.

2. When is the College closed?

The College is closed from Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 5 PM through Friday, January 12, 2018, 9 AM.  Only students with recognized and pre-approved need to be on-campus will be permitted to stay in residence during this period.

3. Who is allowed to remain on-campus during winter recess?

Only students with recognized and pre-approved need to be on-campus will be permitted to stay in residence.  Several examples of reasons that are generally approved can be found here

Please note:  A very small number of students will be approved to be in residence during the December closure. Academic pursuits (thesis, lab, research, course enrollment) requests will not ordinarily be approved during this time as libraries, labs, etc are not typically operating.  

Students requesting on-campus housing during winter recess must be a current undergraduate student living on-campus during the fall 2017 and spring 2018 terms.

Students participating in a study abroad experience during the fall 2017 term are permitted to return to campus starting at 9 AM on Friday, January 12, 2018.  Students participating in a study abroad experience during the spring 2018 term are not eligible for winter recess housing and must vacate their housing assignment by 5 PM on Wednesday, December 20, 2017.

4. How do I apply for housing?

All students requesting on-campus housing during winter recess must submit an application via the Residential Portal.  The application will open on Thursday, September 7.  A series of strict application deadlines are followed for winter recess housing applications.  Fees will be accessed to a student's account for late submissions - regardless of the application decision.

Submission of a housing application is not an approval or guarantee of winter recess housing.  All approvals for winter recess housing are conditional and subject to being rescinded. 

5. During the winter recess I will be preparing for graduate school admissions exams (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc.). May I stay on campus to study?

Students who apply for housing and provide documentation of registration for an exam will be permitted to return to campus for test preparation purposes.  Registration documentation must include the date, time and location of the test.  Please email documentation to winterhousing@fas.harvard.edu and include your name and HUID.

6. Do I need to apply to return to campus early to participate in Wintersession activities?

No - all residential students will be permitted to return to housing beginning at 9 AM on Friday, January 12, 2017.

Have another question not answered here?  Email us at: winterhousing@fas.harvard.edu