Cambridge, MA
Harvard University


132 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Rachel
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

In high school, I equated maturity with perfect control over my life. So I set specific goals and worked diligently to achie...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

In high school, I equated maturity with perfect control over my life. So I set specific goals and worked diligently to achieve them, trying to never stray from my intended path. In college, the distinctions between school, social life, personal time, and world issues quickly broke down, and I realized the limits to what I could foresee. Seemingly out of nowhere, my friends would be in trouble - they were victims of sexual harrassment at school, or their relatives at home were ill - and I would be there to help them. Or, a hastily planned campus protest against rising student debt and income inequality somehow became national news. Suddenly, NPR and several major newspapers wanted to interview me, pushing me to make quick decisions about the direction of my own activism. College has at times been overwhelming, but on the whole I have never been happier. So, I would advise my high school self: embrace uncertainty, let the world take you by surprise, do something you never thought you would, and don't neglect to value the people around you. Through doing so, you will become more fulfilled, confident, and responsible and will gain a better sense of who you are.

What kind of person should not attend this school?

Don't come if you feel that you always need to be the best at everything; don't come if you only care about yourself and your classes, but not about extracurriculars, friends, and/or the wider world; don't come if you are overly concerned with superficial things like the weather; don't come if you expect a homogenous environment or want people to always agree with your perspectives.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

Harvard offers the opportunity to interact with some of the most accomplished people in every field. For instance, this past semester I was in a freshman seminar with only 12 students on human rights between rhetoric and reality, taught by professor Stephen Marks, a leading scholar and policy advisor on health and human rights. Needless to say, the class was amazing, and at the end of the semester he took us to the UN, where we got to meet many top officials and heads of NGOs... Also, I have learned so much from my peers, perhaps more than from class.

Claudia
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Harvard is a community of friendly, multitalented, collaborative, and ambitious scholars, who treasure diversity, knowledge, ...

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Harvard is a community of friendly, multitalented, collaborative, and ambitious scholars, who treasure diversity, knowledge, and new experiences; all together, Harvard is a unique place known for its outstanding academic reputation and dedication to bettering society, but at the end, Harvard is the place it is today because of its scholars, who for four years enjoy the privilege of each others' company and the opportunity to learn and grow from each other.

What kind of person should attend this school?

A highly ambitious, innovative scholar should attend Harvard. The scholar should be a hard worker and a determined dreamer. He or she must have an unwavering passion for learning, self-discovery, and helping others. Most importantly, the individual must be characterized by a never-ending desire to do things. The scholar must constantly reflect on his or her future: What are the next steps? How are they to be achieved? How will they help mankind? If a Harvard education is to be of any value, the individual must graduate with a deeper and still unquenched thirst for knowledge and service.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Dear Claudia, As you enter Harvard take time to reflect on what has made you a successful scholar and now a first-generation college student. You have been relentless in your studies and you have devoted yourself whole-heartily to your community. Study the subjects that you have always loved and those, which you have never explored, but always wanted to. Embrace your brilliance in the humanities and social studies. The best students at Harvard have moved from the phase of self-doubt and uncertainty about their futures. The gift of knowing yourself is one possessed by few, even at Harvard, and having it will certainly help you make the best use of the wealth of opportunities that await you. At Harvard you will meet very friendly, interesting, and intelligent people. Now is the time to be social and to learn by experience. These are the people you have been looking for your whole life. The friends you make here will be like a second family, and once you make great friendships, Harvard will finally become a home away from home. Lastly, remember life is precious and only worth living if one is happy. Live life to the fullest.

Daniel
What is your overall opinion of this school?

I love everything about the school, from the food to the courses available to my peers. I always can find a party to go to, b...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

I love everything about the school, from the food to the courses available to my peers. I always can find a party to go to, but always have academic help when I need it too.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

While many students do study a lot, I feel the general party atmosphere at Harvard is really fun and everyone knows how to have a good time. Sure when midterms and finals come around people get a little stressed out, but other than that everyone is very personable and very similar to the types of students you would find at any other school. While almost everyone is very smart, I have found it very easy to ask for help and receive it from my fellow peers.

Tell us about the food and dining options.

Everyone who has visited me has told me our dining halls are much better than most other schools, and I would agree from my outside experiences too. We have cooks who work at the grill who take your order, as well as a pre-made buffet set out every meal. The variety and healthiness is very doable for anyone, and Harvard dining services cater to all allergenic problems.

Describe your school to someone who's never heard of it.

Harvard is the oldest school in the country, and is famous for many things. Almost any building you live in has been inhabited by someone extremely famous, and there are historic landmarks everywhere. Classes are competitive, yet it is really easy to find a group to fit into since our students are so diverse.

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

The best campus tradition is primal scream, where twice a year all the students who want to run around Harvard yard completely naked, and tourists come by to take pictures.

Tell us about the sports scene on campus.

Everyone is interested in the Harvard sports, but attendance isn't too high at games. Our teams usually fair well in the Ivy League, but not too well against really big, sports oriented schools (this year is an exception). Crew and hockey are very popular at Harvard, as well as all the other big sports.

What's the Greek scene like?

The greek scene for girls is somewhat big, the greek scene for guys however is small. Harvard has its own version of fraternities, called Final Clubs. They are very similar to frats, throw parties and have powerful grad boards etc. Girls also have Final Clubs, but sororities are popular as well.

When you step off campus what do you see?

Harvard does a great job keeping us all wanting to stay on campus, but when we do venture off, there are about 35 other colleges within a 30 mile radius! Boston really is a college town! We also have a China town and Korea town right next to us.

What's unique about your campus?

Our police department is really nice about all the policies, and is really there only to protect us. If we have drinking problems, we will never get in trouble if we get help at the Harvard hospital. Also, we have many tourists come on a daily basis, which can sometimes be a hassle. Not the mention, we do happen to be the oldest campus in the country.

Describe the dorms.

Freshman dorms are decent, you will usually spend one semester living with someone, then the second semester by yourself. As you move through the grades, the rooms become better and better.

Why did you decide to go to this school?

Harvard is not only rated #1, after visiting, I was so impressed by the campus and students I met there. Everyone seemed so involved and people were really friendly and nice about answering any questions I had.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The final clubs, cultural organizations, and study groups, all of which I am a part of, are the most popular activity groups at Harvard. All the student groups do a good job of not only throwing parties, but having cultural and meaningful events as well.

Describe the students at your school.

The students are all very friendly, and everyone can find one or multiple groups to fit into. All of the student organizations also do a great job of making people feel like they belong.

What are the academics like at your school?

The beginning classes are really large and taught by very famous professors, while the higher level classes get much more personal and concentrated. My beginning Economics class had 800 people, while upper level ones have 10-15 sometimes.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

People think students at Harvard are all nerds, but actually we all come from different backgrounds and have different stories. We like to study hard, but play hard as well.

Anonymous
What is your overall opinion of this school?

I couldn't be happier anywhere else. It's not the perfect school for everyone, since no school can be that, and applicants sh...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

I couldn't be happier anywhere else. It's not the perfect school for everyone, since no school can be that, and applicants shouldn't idealize it as the be-all end-all of education. I think it's a difficult place for people who can flourish beautifully given nurturing conditions, but are sensitive to anything that falls short of that. Harvard's better for cactuses than orchids. However, as I said, it's as close to perfect for me as a school could get. I'm extremely happy that I've made close friends with some of the brightest and most interesting people I've ever met, which was always a problem for me in high school. (I didn't make a lot of lasting friendships in high school.) I'm also really happy with the quality of the education and the attention I've seen from professors. My best friend and I are both on let's-go-get-coffee terms (although hers prefers Burdick's for hot chocolate) with two of the most famous professors in our respective fields, and we're only first-semester sophomores. The extracurriculars are beyond amazing, as well. I think that's what happens when you stuff this many former national champions into one campus. The number and professionalism of the events hosted by the charity clubs is beyond belief. I myself belong to a publication which owns its own building, which is ridiculous and wonderful.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

There are two stereotypes that seem most common: the one based on Love Story, etc., that we're full of sweater-wearing WASPy men whose parents will disown them if they so much as think about marrying a Jew. That one's obviously not true. The second is that we're type A and likely to be successful, which is true for a majority of students.

Bonnie
What is your overall opinion of this school?

I absolutely loved my entire experience at Harvard University - I've never regretted my decision to attend this school for a ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

I absolutely loved my entire experience at Harvard University - I've never regretted my decision to attend this school for a second. I love the incredible history in our institution. When you move in your Freshman year, you find in your welcome packet a list of everyone who has every lived in your room, including some historic individuals. I've loved the passionate people, the professors who people from most other universities only read about, and the opportunities it affords both on campus and off.

Describe a day on campus you'll never forget.

I'll never forget it when President Obama won on Election Night 2008. I was at an election party at the Institute of Politics watching the results come in on the big screen at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, and after noshing on delicious political party-themed food all night, the results were announced that the man for whom so many of us at campaigned for had won! The craziness soon progressed to Mass Ave - the central street at Harvard - where hundreds of students gathered. We brought traffic to a standstill as we celebrated, cheered, sang, and hugged - this historic and inspiring president had walked these very streets just a few years ago! The electricity in the air was palpable. We all migrated back to our dorms to watch his speech, then streamed back into Harvard Yard where we celebrated some more (and sang! A video I took ended up on CNN here: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-138436) on this night that I'll truly never forget.

What are the academics like at your school?

Academics at Harvard are incredibly rigorous in that you're challenged to a much higher degree than you were in high school. At the same time, there are so many different classes and concentrations ("Majors") so you can form your own path in academics. One thing to be aware of is that Harvard is a liberal arts institution and NOT pre-professional. Therefore, while you'll have groups and resources for pre-law, pre-med, finance, accounting, and consulting, you'll never find that here in official academic courses.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Yes and no. Students at Harvard University are truly the best of the best in academics, extracurriculars, sports, and more. Because of that, these passionate people can get very "intense." At the same time, I've come to find that it's a surprising supportive environment and not as cutthroat as movies like "Legally Blonde" might make Harvard out to be. Furthermore, it's incredibly inspiring to be around this kind of passion and enthusiasm, and it always pushes me to do better!

Jazmine
What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Unfortunately, the stereotype of Harvard students is that we are all insanely rich and only care about securing a financially...

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Unfortunately, the stereotype of Harvard students is that we are all insanely rich and only care about securing a financially sound future. This stereotype is far from the typical Harvard student. Like any other population, we all have vastly different tastes, goals, and backgrounds. I would describe the typical Harvard student for you, but that it is an impossible task; no simple description exists for the "typical" Harvard student.

Shellonda
What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

One of my friends said it's quite difficult to say "Harvard" and not sound pretentious. True or false? Both lol. I think the ...

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

One of my friends said it's quite difficult to say "Harvard" and not sound pretentious. True or false? Both lol. I think the overall feel of the student body is quite humble (at least the people I encountered). Geeks? Yes!! Most people you encounter are insanely intelligent... These same people lack common sense. We're human! Oh! Harvard students love to pontificate on complex issues. Fact.

Alyssa
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Harvard is a place for the independent student. No one will hold your hand through the process and you are responsible for s...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Harvard is a place for the independent student. No one will hold your hand through the process and you are responsible for seeking things out yourself. That being said, while this may be intimidating at first, I have absolutely grown as an individual because of it. I have more confidence in myself. In addition to building this go-getter attitude, there are incredible opportunities here to connect with the most influential people in the world. It truly is a place like no other.

Describe the students at your school.

There are so many types that it is difficult to characterize. You will find every type of person here.

What are the academics like at your school?

Great. I have no complaints at all. I will preface by saying that there are only 60 people in my major so my experience might be atypical. However, I love most of my courses and find that they are incredibly stimulating. I also do not really find myself doing busy work and can see the merit in most of my assignments.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

The stereotype is that the average Harvard student is socially inept and spends 16 hours a day in the library. While it is true that those types of students do exists, there are in fact people who have interests other than school work. In fact, what drew me to Harvard was the passion that students had for their extra-curriculars.

Whitney
What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

I wish I had known how hard and different sciences are taught here from everywhere else. There is some rote memorization, but...

What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

I wish I had known how hard and different sciences are taught here from everywhere else. There is some rote memorization, but much of it is application, which I was unused to, coming from a poor public school in Arizona.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Don't be afraid to try new things. You might be afraid of wasting time with something, but you must be proactive about your future to figure out the best path for you. You will be happy no matter where you go to college if you keep this in mind. Take advantage of the opportunities in your life, and don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. Take advantage of office hours for professors and don't be afraid to major in something your parents would not choose or to admit when something is too hard to do by yourself. It might sound kitschy, but the more your believe in your own success, the more doors will become open to you.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

I don't brag about Harvard, as it would be seen as being too proud. Mostly, I tell others that there is an amazing collection of people at this school that they will find nowhere else.

Anna
Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

Harvard is amazing because of the opportunities each student has the chance to take. I do think, however, that every applying...

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

Harvard is amazing because of the opportunities each student has the chance to take. I do think, however, that every applying student has a right to know what Harvard is really like. If you think that getting accepted was the challenge, you are sorely mistaken. There are so many opportunities at Harvard, but not one comes easily. You have to work hard to be noticed among the student body, and your success in high school is probably nothing special here. It can be exhilarating going to school with some of the brightest minds in the world, but more often than not I find myself drowning in this heaving, colorful student body of intelligence and talent. The competition is nothing you have ever encountered - it is blood red, quick, and painful, and I advise you to be very cautious about not getting too caught in it. I'm glad I chose Harvard, really, for only one reason: I'm going into business and the only way to get noticed in that career is the more prestigious the university. However, if you're looking into a different kind of career, where the name of your university doesn't make or break you, choose your second or third choice. I sometimes seriously consider transferring to my other choices, Dartmouth and Northwestern, but I can't. The competition has sucked me in too far. Good luck at Harvard.

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