Wintersession, the last week of Winter Recess before classes begin, is a time when students may participate in programs that encourage personal reflection, intellectual curiosity, social interaction, and wellness. Optional programs offered by faculty, staff and students are avenues for exploration inspired by the liberal arts education at Harvard College and range in length from one hour to one week. Most programs are free of charge and are not offered for credit. The Houses and Yard dorms are open during this time and meals are served in a limited number of dining halls. Wintersession is voluntary and students are encouraged to use this time in a way that they find to be most beneficial.

We want to ensure we are providing students with an opportunity to have a deeply transformative experience during Wintersession – intellectually, socially and personally – that will compliment their Harvard College education and prepare them for a life of service and leadership. Wintersession offers students the time and space to try something different or new, that would not be possible during the fall or spring semesters.

The mission of Harvard College is to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society. We do this through our commitment to the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education. Beginning in the classroom with exposure to new ideas, new ways of understanding, and new ways of knowing, students embark on a journey of intellectual transformation.  Through a diverse living environment, where students live with people who are studying different topics, who come from different walks of life and have evolving identities, intellectual transformation is deepened and conditions for social transformation are created.  From this we hope that students will begin to fashion their lives by gaining a sense of what they want to do with their gifts and talents, assessing their values and interests, and learning how they can best serve the world.