csa students group photo 2011

On-Campus Experience

The Crimson Summer Academy offers its students the opportunity to get a taste of college life under the close supervision of its trained staff. Accepted students are known as “Crimson Scholars”— promising young people who value being part of a vibrant community of learners. Crimson Scholars live on Harvard’s Cambridge campus from Sunday evenings through Friday afternoons of the first summer session, returning to their homes on weekends. Upon successful completion of Session I, they are invited to participate in the following summer’s six-week session, which introduces career exploration fieldwork. In the third summer, Crimson Scholars take college-level courses at the seven-week Harvard Summer School while maintaining their affiliation with the Academy and participating in its cultural and intellectual activities.

Community Meeting

Summer mornings often start with a community meeting led by the Academy’s faculty, mentors, or Scholars. Community meetings are an opportunity to share ideas and experiences that resonate with the Academy’s theme of "The Student as Citizen."

Faculty and Guest Speakers

Classes are taught by experienced teachers with advanced degrees. Most have direct ties to Harvard. In addition, Harvard faculty members regularly address the Academy on issues that dovetail with its curriculum. These special presentations give the Scholars a chance to learn about current research and explore questions in academic fields not encountered in their high schools. Guest speakers have included professors Deborah Anker, Ali Asani, Mahzarin Banji, Scott Brewer, Mary Carlton, Nancy Cott, George Daley, Felton James Earls, Susan Fainstein, President Drew Faust, Archon Fong, Marshall Ganz, Claudine Gay, Dan Gilbert, Joshua Greene, Evelyn Hammonds, Jennifer Hochschild, James Hoyte, Sheila Jasanoff, Deborah Kao, Jerold Kayden, Ed Kravitz, Nancy Krieger, Bridget Terry Long, Tim McCarthy, Mohammad Mahmoud Mohamedou, Matthias Risse, Fernando Reimers, Laura Roberts, former President Lawrence H. Summers, Maria Tatar, Mary Waters and Kim Williams.


Harvard College students work closely with the Crimson Scholars throughout the three-year program, serving as role models, teaching assistants, and tutors. The mentors form close ties with the Scholars in the summers and continue these relationships during the academic year, meeting individually with Scholars on a regular basis, visiting their schools, and engaging as fellow learners in a variety of educational and cultural experiences involving the entire Academy community.