How to Apply: Reapplication

Post by: Mikaela Allen, MTS 2019, HDS Office of Admissions Graduate Assistant

This article is part of our How to Apply series, which answers common questions about the application process and includes these articles: 

This post was originally written in 2018 but was updated in October 2021 to reflect accurate application information for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.  


How many times can I reapply?  

You can reapply to HDS as many times as you like. Previously, applicants were only permitted to reapply three times; however, we’ve updated our policy this year. 

Can I reuse application materials in order to apply?  

HDS Admissions keeps files for three years, so if you applied for admission to HDS for any of the previous three academic years (2018-2019, 2019-2020, or 2020-2021) then you are eligible to reuse some of your past application materials in your new application.  

In order to reuse your application materials, you will need to fill out the Reapplication Request Form (see instructions below).  

If you applied to HDS more than three years ago, all of your applications materials have been removed from our database. Therefore, you will be required to submit a complete application, including re-sending materials you might have sent us in the past. 

What is the Reapplication Request Form? Where can I find it?  

You can find the Reapplication Request Form once you start your application for admission. If you’ve applied for admission to HDS in the past three years, your application will prompt you to submit it. Please note that the Reapplication Request Form is due on January 3, 2022. This is three days before the application deadline on January 6, 2022. Please wait until you receive a response from HDS Admissions regarding your reapplication request before submitting your new application. 

Exactly which application materials might I be able to reuse? What should I plan on updating?  

If you applied for admission to HDS in the past three years, your final transcripts and valid test scores will automatically be carried over from your previous application. You may reuse up to three letters of recommendation from your previous application, and you will have the opportunity to specify which letters you would like to reuse on the Reapplication Request Form.  

New materials all reapplicants should expect to submit include:  

  • $25 application fee or fee waiver 
  • A new statement of purpose 
  • An updated resume or curriculum vitae 
  • A writing sample (for MDiv, MTS, and ThM applicants) 

Please note that if your previous TOEFL or IELTS score report has expired, you will need to submit an updated report. You may also choose to submit a valid GRE score report if your previous score report has expired.  

Additionally, please be sure to submit updated transcripts if you have taken any additional courses for credit since submitting your previous application.  

Will the fact that I was not accepted last time impact my chances of acceptance this time? What if I was previously accepted but could not come to HDS due to personal reasons? 

If your application was previously denied and you decide to reapply, this will not impact your new application. HDS is a very competitive school, meaning that fantastic applicants are denied admission each year. Even though you should consider working to strengthen your application between applications, rejection does not necessarily suggest that you were not a competitive applicant.  

In the case that you were previously accepted to HDS but rejected our offer for personal reasons, you might consider discussing this briefly within your statement of purpose to show the Admissions Committee that you are now prepared to attend HDS if you are admitted to the program. 

How do you recommend approaching a reapplication?  

Our Associate Director, Margaret, recommends that you start by reflecting on what you’ve learned since you first applied and why you continue to think that HDS remains a good fit for your future academic and professional aspirations. Use this reflection to inform your application.  

She suggests looking at your resume and statement of purpose and aligning it with what has changed for you between your previous application and this current cycle.  

Margaret encourages you to get at least one new letter of recommendation for your reapplication. While we provide applicants with the opportunity to re-use up to 3 of their letters of recommendation, a new letter can address what you’ve been doing more recently and support your reapplication. 

I began an application last year but did not submit it? Will any of my materials be on file with HDS or will I need to start my application from scratch?  

Since our office does keep files for three years, if you started but did not submit an application within the last three years but did send official test scores or transcripts to our office, we do still have those on file. Please make sure to use the same email address as your previously started application to connect your test scores and transcripts to your new application. If you have any questions about this, please reach out to us at admissions@hds.harvard.edu


That wraps up our “How to Apply” series! We hope that these posts have been helpful for you as you prepare your applications. If you have any further questions, please do reach out to us at admissions@hds.harvard.edu.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: