Enrollment at Harvard Extension School increased 8% in the 2020-2021 school year, according to Division of Continuing Education spokesperson Harry J. Pierre.
The Extension School, which typically offers courses for in-person and distance learners, offers Harvard’s academic offerings for non-traditional learners. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Extension School waived its campus requirements and switched exclusively to delivering virtual content.
Earlier this year, the Extension School launched new gap year and undergraduate certificate programs, in addition to its graduate degree and certificate programs. Applicants for the Diploma of Extension School can earn Bachelor and Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies.
In an email to The Crimson, Pierre wrote that many programs, including those that traditionally tend to fall short of capacity, have seen demand increase.
âHES enrollment looks strong and has grown by almost 8% over the past year,â Pierre wrote. âWe have seen an increase in course registrations and new student registrations as well. Many of our courses which have traditionally experienced low enrollment rates have seen increased enrollment or are at full capacity. “
Extension School freshman Kody Christiansen said he had always dreamed of going to Harvard and the flexibility of the Extension School classes ultimately attracted him.
âWith the bachelor’s degree program, you can kind of build your own concentration,â Christiansen said. “They have things planned for you, like the humanities, it’s your general, but then there are courses in everything.”
Christiansen also cited the vigor of Harvard classes as a major draw.
âI love challenges and am so grateful that these programs are not less than; they’re not made so that people can just watch TV on another screen while you watch your lesson, âChristiansen said. âYou have to be involved, like all the other schools in this university. “
Extension School students have the opportunity to get involved in the University’s student organizations in addition to the offers reserved for the Extension School. Christiansen said he found a home with the Phillip Brooks House Association on campus.
âI feel so lucky to have been invited to be a student leader for Harvard World Day of Service. Because I was homeless for many years and so many amazing organizations helped me through this, I found this new love to help others because of it, âChristiansen said. “And so when I saw the Phillips Brooks House Association calling student leaders for this event, I was right, I think I was the first person to apply.”
Even as other schools in the University face budgetary constraints due to the pandemic – notably, the Graduate School of Education has announced that it will suspend doctoral admissions – Pierre wrote that the Extension School was confident about its financial future, as well as the quality of its academic offerings.
âThe financial outlook for Harvard Extension School and the rest of DCE remains strong,â Pierre wrote. âWith most of our programs for the academic year being online, this allowed us to offer more courses and programs to students and increased the capacity for community building. “
Correction: September 28, 2020
A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated the names of the diplomas conferred by the HES. In fact, they hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal arts.
– Editor-in-chief Andy Z. Wang can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.