Harvard University Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Daniel

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.

Ryan

Not entirely. The student body is much more diverse than it's generally supposed to be in terms of students' backgrounds and interests, but the general campus feel is somewhat adherant to the stereotypes. There's a lot more at Harvard than the stereotypes would have you think.

Valerie

There are definitely folks who fit the stereotype, but plenty of people who do not.

Tate

No. Stereotypes aren't true even if they are based on some semblance of "Truth." They are gross exaggerations and can't be accurate for the entire Harvard population

Dave

There certainly are a lot of people that fit that mold. Not everyone is like that. The atheletes certainly aren't, but even aside from them there are regular people at Harvard (you wouldn't know they went to Harvard unless they told you kind of people).

Katie

no and NO :) not at all--you can have as much of a typical "college" experience here as you would at any other school. Unless you are expecting to go to football games on weekends with thousands of other students--people don't really care about athletics here...i think its because having school pride makes people feel awkardly or uncomfortably arrogant--but other than that the social scene is completely what you make of it.

Tate

Fairly.

Torry

They are accurate to some extent. However, these stereotypes may also be true for many other top universities.

Wally

They are not accurate about everyone, but to a certain degree all of these descriptors apply to more people at Harvard than in a normal population.

Charlie

The first one is true, and the second one is not. Harvard is difficult (at least for me), but it's very rewarding. The people here, however, are wonderful. The diversity is so great that there's people from everywhere and from every socio-economic class. In addition, most people are wonderfully nice and supportive.

Paige

Many are not true. I know many people who party (though not super often) but that drink occassionally and don't see a problem with that. Yeah, a lot of Harvard students are busy people but I know some that are dedicated to academics and pursue things their own ways. There are some attractive people here and no we don't study all day. I know many people who like to play video games for example. You might not expect that from the Harvard student but some are extremely good at video games, some of the best at things like Halo, Smash Bros, and etc. in the nation (not just the college).

Vick

People are smart, not nerds Classes are curved, but the majority aren't that competitive. A lot of collaboration happens. Parties are decent

Chris

Like any stereotypes they are based on some truths, there are some rich snotty kids and there are some hippy liberals. The majority of people at Harvard are very intelligent and friendly and good people.

Torry

People do care about their work, but there are plenty of people who go out more than two nights a week -- I usually do something 3-4 nights. You can get as much attention as you seek; all professors and teaching fellows have office hours, and are generally very eager to help you out. Difficulty of classwork varies by department, but you definitely need to work hard to do well.

TJ

To some extent. A very high percentage of students major in economics and do indeed become bankers. It is not necessarily because they are insensitive but because they just want to make money after all the hard work and pressure they have lived through.

Kelati

I think that they may have had some grain of truth, but they are definitely not a completely accurate description of Harvard and Harvard students.

Alex

No, they're not. In a sense it's people transposing the prosperity and pomp of the university onto the student body, which is not at all correct.

Shelby

While the academic environment at Harvard can be quite competitive, students are not out to sabotage their classmates. Gauging from my experience, the stereotype alleging that Harvard students are excessively cutthroat is patently untrue. Indeed, the people I have met here are among the kindest and most generous I know.

James

In terms of the first two stereotypes, it's true that many students here fit into one of these two categories (and a very few fit into both), but students are here for all sorts of reasons other than rich parents or supreme intelligence. With Harvard's massive financial aid initiative, the campus is becoming more economically diverse every year, and students are just as likely to be here for a special talent or ability as they are for a perfect SAT score. In terms of the balance between work and play, Harvard students do generally work too hard and too long, but it's something the place honestly requires of us -- and contrary to the stereotype, we do know how to get out of the library and have a good time. For many students, partying on the weekend is proportional to work during the week!

Bobby

Harvard kids are smart but there is no grade inflation.

Bevan

yes for 50% of the students here

Alan

Only the first two.

Alex

In response to... - Grade inflation: We compensate for it with harder classes. - Bad parties: If you're a guy, pay 10k a year and join a finals club. If you're a girl, start coming onto those rich boys. - Stuck-up kids: Fine, don't go to a finals club. - Too much sex: Ever heard of True Love Revolution? You'll fit right in! - Too little sex: Ever heard that the condom boxes are restocked weekly? And that you can buy the birth control pill at a blowout discount from the Harvard pharmacy?

Blake

A minority of students do possess these attributes.

Aaron

No, students actually balance their social and academic lives well.

Lindsey

I don't feel that this accurately described the majority of the student body. However, I do think these traits are seen more frequently at Harvard than at a lot of other non-ivy league Universities.

Peter

The faculty is incredible - my impression from 90% of my professors is that they have really been open to talking in office hours and getting to know me. But most don't put a lot of effort into teaching their undergrad classes. James Kloppenberg is a notable exception. Harvard students do work very hard, but it's more that doing extracurriculars (and occasional schoolwork) is what they enjoy rather that they don't have fun. They just don't have fun by partying (mostly).

John

somewhat

Jessie

partially

Ryan

Sometimes. I get quite a bit of sleep from time to time.

Toby

80% true.

Annetta

Not for all, but they are based onsomething

Shawn

The first one is true to a limited extent (most of the time, no). The second one is also true to a limited extent (think: Government concentrators at Harvard v. Engineering majors at MIT)

Sean

A small percentage of the student body seems to be represented by the stereotypes mentioned above - at least superficially. The rest are made up of the collegiate mix seen in every other university in the US. Thats what I'd imagine at least.

Alex

Yes!

Jamie

Not entirely - but the stereotypes had to have come from somewhere

Alex

The second one is very accurate...

Jordan

for the most part, no. the financial aid is very extensive, so there is a lot of diversity across social/economic groups. it is always interesting to discover people's hidden talents, skills, and experiences. people generally are very intelligent, but people are accepted on a far wider criteria than "school intelligence". The competitiveness depends on the Major: pre-meds and pre-laws are the most competitive, but in general people like to cooperate much more.

Andy

NO!

Grace

a, b, c are all true to a certain extent. Harvard has its share of Intel finalists, though perhaps not as many as our technical neighbor down the road, and its share of wealthy blue-blood American aristocrats, and its share of workaholics. d is certainly not true - most students here work extremely hard and getting a diploma here, while it certainly opens some doors, is no guarantee of anything.

Harper

Not to the extent that most ppl outside of harvard believe them. But people are grade conscious. There are a lot of normal people though

Whitney

Many Harvard students are arrogant and conceited and maybe moreso here than at other campuses, but it's not true of everyone. Harvard stduents have a LOT of fun.

Andrea

Sometimes.

Lorie

not really

Jessie

Yes....

Bevan

No. Harvard is actually very diverse and represents a wide array of personalities.

Christina

Not in most cases--we're well rounded, diverse, fun, hard working, and most of all, we deserve to be here. There are plenty of students who aren't geniuses, and plenty who are more focused on sports/music/art than academics.

Dale

To some extent, yes. However

Sarah

Sometimes, as all generalizations are

John

Probably 50% accurate.

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