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!
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.
Harvard students fall into two stereotypes: geeks and rich kids. While there are certainly many people that fit those two descriptions, the student body overall is remarkably well rounded. The super genius' are personable and the rich prep school kids are oftentimes quite brilliant. The notion that you can buy your way into the school is mostly untrue and being very smart is not enough on its own to guarantee admission. Everyone is very active outside of class. I would say that for the majority of students place their academics at #2 or lower on their priority list. Nearly every student has some sort of unique story or experience to share.
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.
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.
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.
We're all rich nerds who can't socialize. Some of the most social and involved people I've met were at Visitas. We're all very well rounded and for the most part people assume that we all act like we're superior but I don't think that's true at all.
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