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Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program

September 23-28, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

Before contacting the Crossroads Program Team, please read through the answers to commonly asked questions below:

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Applying to Crossroads
Visiting Dubai
About the Crossroads Program




Where do applicants have to come from?

We are seeking applicants from South Asia, Central Asia the Middle East and Africa. Applications from other developing countries will also be considered.

Can I apply if I have already graduated from university?

Yes, we accept students (approx. 18-24 years old), who are enrolled as undergraduates OR who are recent graduates of university, graduating from an undergraduate program within the past 3 years.

Can I apply if I am already in a postgraduate program (master’s degree, PhD, etc.)?

Yes, we accept students (approx. 18-24 years old), who are enrolled in a higher education program. Students must be enrolled as undergraduates OR who are recent graduates of university, graduating from an undergraduate program within the past 3 years.

I’m turning 18 later this year (August 11-December 31, 2018). Do I still qualify?

Yes, as long as the other criteria is met. This would include already being enrolled in university or the ability to provide proof that you will begin an undergraduate program Fall 2017.

I am older than 24 because of an alternative education timeline. Do I still qualify?

Yes, on a case by case basis as long as other criteria are met. We realize that extenuating circumstances may have altered your path.

I am currently studying outside of my country of origin. Do I still qualify?

No, students must be in studying in their country of origin to qualify.

If I am currently working and not enrolled as a student, do I qualify?

We accept recent graduates of university, graduating from an undergraduate program within the past 3 years.

If I graduated exactly three years ago, do I qualify?

Yes, as long as the other criteria are met.

If I am about to begin my first semester of university this year, do I qualify?

Yes, as long as the other criteria are met.

If my parents went to a vocational college do I qualify?

Yes, this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

If my parents went to an undergraduate or professional college, do I qualify?


How do you define “first member in family?”

This refers to the first generation of a family. Family includes adoptive and/or biological members of your immediate family.

How will you verify that I am first in my family to apply?

We trust that students applying will have read the FAQs and eligibility requirements thoroughly before deciding whether or not they are eligible to apply.

If my sibling or cousin is already enrolled or has already graduated from university, am I still eligible?

Yes, the stipulation for “first member in family” refers to the first generation of a family to attend university.

Do I need a TOEFL or IELTS score to apply to the program?

No. While fluency in English is required, shortlisted candidates will only need to demonstrate fluency during a Skype interview and through their written submissions.

If I went to the Crossroads program last year can I go again this year?

No, at this time we offer the opportunity to people that have not attended the prior course. 

Is there assistance for applicants with disabilities?



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Applying to Crossroads


When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is Saturday, June 30th, 2018, 11:59 PM EST. Late submissions will not be considered. Calculate the time difference between your location and Harvard here.

How do I apply to the Crossroads Summer Program?

Please consult the detailed instructions found here.

Can I apply through mobile?

We strongly suggest that you use a computer to apply. 

What is a resume?

A resume is a one-page document that details your educational background, work experience, skills, and volunteer experiences.  Please find more information here

I have requested an XID but I cannot seem to logon to CARAT.

You must activate your XID first by following the instructions in your confirmation email. Please consult step 3 and 4 in the instructions.

I have requested an XID but I do not see a confirmation email.

Please check your spam folder.

I have activated my XID successfully, but I can’t seem to log onto CARAT.

Please wait at least 24 hours after activating your XID before logging onto CARAT. If you have waiting at least 24 hours and are still having difficulty logging onto CARAT, ensure that you are on the XID login pane on CARAT before attempting to log in.  Consult step 8 in the instructions.

I have logged onto CARAT successfully, but I cannot seem to find the Crossroads Application.

Please consult step 10 of the instructions.

I have logged onto CARAT successfully, but it says “Your profile is missing some essential elements.”

Please make sure that your name and other personal information is filled out correctly in the XID system before proceeding. To double check, please visit and click on “Edit your XID account.”

How do I submit my recommendation letters?

Letters of recommendation should be submitted directly to CARAT by recommenders.

How do recommenders submit the letters?

You will input the recommender’s name and email address into the “References” section of the CARAT application. Once you input the name and email address of your recommender, a button should show up that says “Send a Reference Request.” Click on this button, which will automatically send a button to your recommender.

My recommender says that they did not receive the email to upload the recommendation letter. What do I do?

We suggest that you do the following:

  • Ensure that you press the “Send a Reference Request” button.
  • Ask recommenders to check their spam folder on their email.
  • Ensure that you have written the email address correctly in CARAT.  
  • If you are still having difficulty, email

What does it mean to “waive my right to access the letter of recommendation written on my behalf”?

If you click “Yes” to waiving your right to access the letter of recommendation, it means that you have agreed not to request the recommendation letter after you have submitted your applications.  If you click “No,” that means that you can request the letter of recommendation at a later time, after applications are completed and finalists selected. Your decision on this question will not affect your standing for the application.

Who should write my recommendation letters? Do they all need to be academic references?

Recommendation letters should offer insight into the student’s academic achievements and their ability to take on challenges. Examples of potential recommenders include a former professor, teacher, or member of an academic institution who has first-hand experience working with the student in an academic setting. While both letters can be academic references, it is also possible for a work supervisor or other non-academic mentor to provide a recommendation.

Do references need to be from Harvard professors?


What should I write on the “Title” field when inputting reference information?

Please write the “title” of your recommender.  For instance, if your recommender is a teacher at your school please write, “Teacher at (Name of your school)” 

What should letters of recommendation include?

Letters should offer insight into the student’s academic achievements and their ability to take on challenges.

Do letters of recommendation need to be in English?

Yes, letters must be in English. Non-English letters will result in an incomplete application.

What should I submit as a transcript if my previous semester grades will not be available until after the deadline?

Send the most recent transcript that is available to you.

What is a transcript?

A transcript is a sheet that indicates the courses that you have taken throughout your academic career.  Depending on your university and your country, you may have the option to acquire an unofficial transcript or an official transcript.  Both unofficial and official transcripts have the same information, but in some countries, you may be required to purchase an official transcript which comes on special paper.  Please submit the transcript that is most accessible to you.

I have submitted my application.  Is there a way that I can download my entire application as a PDF?

Yes. You will need to log in to CARAT.  When you do, the home page should list your submitted application. Please click on the “Review” button corresponding to your application to download the PDF. Please note that this PDF will not have the letters that your references submitted. 

I have submitted my application.  Is there a way to go back and edit it?

Please double check thoroughly before submitting your application.  If you have submitted your application and need to edit the information on your application, please email We will need to “unsubmit” the application, which will send the application back to you to edit. When you are resubmitting, you will need to reattach the PDFs again.

What is an “electronic signature”?

This is to ensure that you have double checked and validated the details of your application.  If the information is all correct, then please input the ID in the parentheses into the signature field.


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Visiting Dubai


Will the program fund my travel and living expenses in Dubai?


Will the program fund my visa fees?

No, the program will not fund the visa fees.

Will MI help me obtain a visa for my travel?

We will supply relevant letters and documentation.

What are the Air Arabia destination cities?

The Air Arabia website can tell you how to reach Dubai from your location. You must be able to get to one of the many locations that Air Arabia flies from.

Do I need a passport?

If shortlisted for the program, applicants are responsible for getting a valid passport from an African, Middle Eastern, Central Asian or South Asian country.

Will the program sponsor passport fees?


What if I have dual citizenship from one of the partner countries listed and another that is not?

If at least one of your citizenships is from any of the countries that are listed in the program, you do qualify to apply.

What do I do if my passport expires soon?

Applicants must be in possession of a valid passport from Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia or South Asia. Many countries have specific requirements for passport validity, and often require passports to be valid significantly longer than the length of your trip—this can vary depending on your country of origin, as well as other factors. Please check the passport and visa requirements for all countries you’ll be visiting on your journey, and make sure your passport has appropriate validity to cover your whole trip.


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What should I expect from the program? What topics will be covered?

Participants will gain exposure to a variety of experiences, such as a Harvard classroom environment, sessions led by Harvard faculty, mentor talks, site visits to key places in Dubai, learning from your peers, the opportunity to think of your future education and career possibilities, and much more. The program has been uniquely designed by Harvard faculty. 

Can I get in touch with participants from last year to speak with them about their experience?

We cannot disclose the personal information of participants from last year. 

Will the program provide support for a subsequent graduate school application process?


Will I receive a certificate of completion?


Can applicants re-apply next year?

Accepted individuals may not apply for the program in the following year.  Applicants may re-apply if they were not accepted in previous years.

When can I expect to hear back about my application status?

We are expecting to notify applicants on July 14, 2018.

Please email for any further questions.


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