Harvard University Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Surya

Most of the time goes in just studies.

Hunter

There are so many options for clubs and groups. Boston is lovely and there's plenty to do in Cambridge.

Prabhat

Great!

Daniel

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.

Ryan

There are always a million activities going on: student theater, both good and bad, art openings, speakers, dialogue groups, film screenings, and anything else imaginable. It's rare to find a student who's uninvolved in some sort of group, and people take them very seriously. The student body is divided up into houses, which are equivalent to Yale's residential colleges. Students "block" at the end of their first years with a group of friends, and though the houses are all now supposedly equal, there is certainly a general impression that some are better than others. Adams remains the sort of elite house, the one with the most gilded feeling and which happens to be closest to campus. Some student rooms and suites are really stunning, and especially as they become upperclassmen, people tend to leave their suite doors closed and socialize mainly with their blockmates and roommates when they're at home. The Dudley Co-op is an alternative to the Houses which more students should know about and visit, whether or not they decide to live there. Big hot dinners every night, 32 creative students in two Victorian houses, front porches, fresh bread, cheaper than the houses, endless food and much love, not to mention the persistent dream of a naked lunch.

Valerie

Social life and extracurriculars are pretty decentralized. There's no one dominant group, and people find their niches pretty easily. Met closest friends freshman year and through the house system (through meals). Dating scene is not great, but I can't imagine it's great anywhere bc college students are immature. If awake at 2am, it was doing reading or BSing with roommates. Traditions include primal scream. People party on weekends. Frats/sororities not a big deal. Most of social life is on campus. Lots of options for nondrinkers, but lots of drinking, too, if you want it.

Tate

The social life at Harvard is odd. I feel that the way social life happens on campus is often extreme...I have met many a student who can't seem to function or have fun without alcohol. I personally party every once in a while but at times it can get monotonous. I am very happy that Harvard doesn't officially have frats and sororities and I make it a point to stay away from finals clubs (even though I have friends in them). Harvard has made great strides to amp its social scene on campus. I feel that because many of us don't venture out into the Boston community, we do support our fellow students and attendance at campus shows is always heavy.

Dave

Lots of clubs and activities, but the social scene is lacking, focused mainly around final clubs. Also lots of people are either not interested in going out or too busy to do so.

Katie

-like i said, its whatever you make of it: if you want to find people that party hard 4 days a week, you can find them, and if you want to find people that stay in the library until closing on the weekends you can find those people too. -its kind of hard to date here, although i know plently of people that do it...it seems everyone i know is either in a multi-year relationship or just hooking up with someone for the heck of it... -athletics aren't important...no-one seems to be able to muster the energy to walk across the river

Tate

Social life at Harvard has a lot to offer for all kinds of people. People who enjoy parties will definitely find a lot of those be it in snazzy finals clubs or in sweaty, congested common rooms in Houses. Then, there are plenty of concerts/theater shows and so on to occupy the more artsy. Harvard Square in itself is a great little town for socializing with various pubs and restaurants.

Torry

Great.

Wally

Dorm doors are usually open all the time, social life is actually better than I expected it to be before I came here. Whether you like to party or not, you'll find the group of people here (or rather, they'll find you) that fit your tastes.

Charlie

Harvard has something going on all the time. Whether you want to go to a dance or listen to a renowned politician, you can do pretty much anything. Also, despite the fact that students work very hard, they do find time for a social life. Most people aren't cooped up in their rooms all day long and don't talk to anyone. People eat together, visit each others' rooms to hang out, etc.

Paige

The typical harvard prototype is a the male guy who is on the crimson and does crew. yeah, I know a couple. However, that's not the case at all. The social life can be whatever you want it to be. I tend to think I can assocaite myself easily with any group I want. I met my closest friends by being their neighbors and then eventually roommates. Also other close friends are people I share classes with. People who are awake at the random 2 am are probably studying or trying to do something productive. Yeah, there's the ocassional goofing off, yes we do procrastinate. Harvard students are not machines. There's always that house grille to go to at 1 am and drinking isn't an issue until the weekends. Rarely will I leave campus b/c honestly I see no need.

Vick

There are a lot of extracurricular activities. Social life centers usually around your roommates/people in your clubs.

Chris

If you look for good ones and put in the effort they can be sweet. If not there seems like there are too many, not true. And also the crimson rocks.

Torry

I think like 30% of guys are in a frat or final club and 15% of girls, but I could be making that up. Athletic events are not generally well attended unless it is a big game against Yale or something. Theater is pretty rampant -- generally 2-4 shows a weekend. Dorm rooms aren't generally left open, but apart from the final clubs, that is where the majority of parties take place. Dating here tends to be either casual hook-ups or "you're almost married." Friday and Saturday are the main social nights, although sometimes Thursdays can happen. There are very few wild, trash-the-house keg parties here, because no one wants to do that to someone's dorm room, and the final clubs are fairly classy, multi-million dollar establishments. For those kinds of parties, one can easily go to MIT or BU.

TJ

The IOP, Crimson, and Women in Business are probably the most well respected organizations on campus. On top of that there are clearly the varsity sports, most notably crew. Varsity sports are obviously reserved for recruits and the truly talented. However other organizations rely heavily on dedication, time commitment and creativity. The dating scene is practically non-existent, at least among freshmen. People seem to feel that once they come to Harvard a relationship will mean a huge long-term commitment, especially because so many people believe they will find their spouses here, or at least should. So either there are alot of drunken hook-ups or serious dating. Not too much in between.

Kelati

Many people participate at the Institute of Politics, the Harvard Crimson, the Harvard Lampoon, or a program at the Philip Brooks House Association. Personally I spend a lot of time at the Harvard Crimson as a part of the business board. I spend about 10 hours a week there working on marketing or ads. Athletic events aren't too popular. If I were awake on a Tuesday I would be procrastinating in our library's cafe. I have found my closest friends through various organizations and my roommates. If you don't drink on a Saturday night, you could go to a show in Boston, the movies, board games, etc. Last weekend I went out to dinner with a friend's mom and to a finals club which is almost the equivalent to a fraternity.

Alex

two things: 1) The dating scene is crap 2) I shouldn't have to kick people out of a library on Saturday night. 'nuff said.

Shelby

Harvard offers an unimaginably large roster of extracurricular activities to choose from. If your interest is not represented by one of these preexisting organizations, you can always establish your own group. In terms of social life, Harvard is working hard to promote college-wide events bringing together people who live on different parts of campus. Parties are confined mostly to the weekends; people can be happy either going to these parties or abstaining from them.

James

Most people seem to make their best social connection to Harvard through a student organization. There are hundreds of them here, and getting involved in any group is the best way to meet new people and have Friday night plans from day one. Of course, there are also plenty of other social opportunities, as well: "final clubs" (still functioning dining clubs now more interested in drinking, girls, and interesting combinations of the two), House parties and regular dances (including IncestFest, the '90s Dance, and Fête), a handful of off-campus fraternities, and odd events the university occasionally tries to sponsor. There are concerts, shows, poetry readings, and more every weekend, and the Harvard name is able to draw a fantastic list of guest speakers annually. Boston has a social scene of its own, as well. Dating, however, has been said to be elusive on campus, so students looking for college love may look elsewhere.

Bobby

Harvard has parties, unlike what some people might think. But people here work hard are studying a lot in the library.

Bevan

our social life happens in the library

Alan

I hear people partying a lot, but I prefer not to. I like to think of myself as humorous, occasionally lively, friendly, and mostly easy-going, but I prefer smaller group gatherings without alcohol. For my recreation, I like to breed LIFE (as in plants and small animals). I recently bought a pet snake, but I'm not sure if that's against school rules.

Alex

There's an exorbitant number of resume-padding clubs, particularly those related to finance and Asian issues.

Blake

Whatever you make of it.

Aaron

Sports are big, but the most popular things are the Art Museum events--they are really well attended.

Lindsey

Whether you like to drink and party the night away or you like to explore the sights and culture of Boston, ect......there is always something fun whatever your style is.

Peter

I'm pretty sure that the Harvard Crimson is the biggest student organization, with something like 700 student editors. More people than that overall participate in athletics though. Phillips Brooks House Association has about 1000 volunteers doing some kind of public service, but it's a lot less cohesive since it's done through about 70 different programs. Fraternities are not important, though the rich Harvard version of finals clubs are important to some people. That said, I've never partied there and they don't really affect me. On a Saturday night not drinking: go to the pub and play pool, see a movie, go to a play, go ice skating downtown. During the day: go to Harvard's art museums (3!), natural history museum or anthropology museum. Athletic events ("The Game" = Harvard-Yale aside) are not well attended.

John

kind of lacking

Jessie

Lots of great groups. Social life is decent, just got to know where to find it.

Ryan

I leave my doors open. I met my closest friends freshman year - we all lived in the same dorm. We are still living together. If I am awake at 2am Tuesday, I would be struggling with my thesis. I party once a week, and I drink. I got wasted last weekend.

Toby

Students do leave their doors open, and it is *in general* fine. Athletic events are only popular when it comes to H-Y Game. I met with my closest friends through class + random social gathering of friends + Anneberg.

Annetta

It's hard to say what's the most popular because there re so many things going on, but everything seems to be able to find their niche.

Shawn

The center of social life revolves around extracurriculars, athletics, and social clubs to a more limited extent.

Sean

Parties can be fun. There are clubs. Boston is certainly not the place to look for a good time. The damn city closes at 2.

Alex

I enjoy participating in different events and do not want to mention the groups since there are too many of them.

Jamie

2am on a Tuesday I would either be writing a paper, or studying for an exam the next day - because all my exams seem to fall on Wednesday. Several times I was up talking to roommates, but only because we weren't in the thick of exams. :) Most of my closest friends I know from the Christian Fellowship, my entryway, and the Internationals. I'm thankful for these particular friends, especially those in the Christian Fellowship, because it is where I can be completely real and honest - something I feel is lacking at Harvard - because of an inherent superiority complex and pride. The dating scene here (something I'm not involved in) can also be quite awkward - there are 3 main categories of dating couples; those who hook up and don't remember each other's names the next day, those who have been dating since freshman year and are, as I write, already engaged and planning their wedding, and those who are neither, who are increasingly coming to terms with their non-existent romantic lives!

Alex

So many things are there waiting for you!!!!

Jordan

Ethnic, professional, sport, hobby, art, music... basically anything you can think of, in any combination, exists. Extracurricular activities are overwhelming. There are frats and sororities, but they are not very prevalent in the social scene. The social scene changes completely when you transition from a freshman to an upperclassman. You move from the Yard to your House, where there is a lot more freedom. Moreover, you get to join "Final Clubs" which are Harvard's variety of Frats. The only difference is that they are Harvard specific, and people do not live in the Club Houses.

Andy

Extracurriculars at Harvard are a GREAT way to meet new people, get advice from upperclassmen, and build a lasting friendship. Small organizations foster a family bond through common interests or backgrounds. With hundreds of different student organizations, everyone can find a place where they can chat with friends of common interests.

Grace

Athletics aren't that big at Harvard, but some really good friendships and relationships are made on the athletic field, so it's definitely a good idea to join one. Crew is especially popular. Students don't generally leave their doors open - the administration actually frowns upon that for safety reasons. The best known extra-curricular activities are usually the big name ones: Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra, Hasty Puddings, etc. People generally party once a week, I think, if they party at all. Spring and Winter formals are pretty big, and my social life on the weekends mainly consists of going out to eat, watching a show or concert, hanging out, and occasionally going to a party.

Harper

I meet my closest friends through either my entryway or activities that I do (which are mostly cultural/religious) There are loads of guest speakers who are pretty cool/famous, and it's pretty amazing to get to go see them. I find that my social life involves dance parties and shows, mostly because I don't drink, but there are many people who go out during the week (although they are not the majority) and get drunk. Frats and sororities are not as important on campus as they are on other campuses. You can definitely have a kickass social life and not be associated with any greek organizations or finals club.

Whitney

Most popular groups: The Crimson, the Lampoon, the Advocate, the Glee Club, the UC.

Andrea

Most people tend to socialize with people from their extracurriculars/dorms. Partying is less prevalent than at most schools, although there are always lots of fun things to do on weekends and parties are not limited to just finals clubs.

Lorie

Social life is as good as one makes it. There are no frats and most parties are smaller house parties. Almost everybody lives on campus which means it is easier to find your friends.

Jessie

It is busy, but students do it for credit and to better their Resume.

Bevan

Don't ask me, my social life sucks, that's why I'm in the computer lab at 11pm on a saturday night, filling out this form. I hoped joining the crew team (a very popular team on campus) would help me make friends, but it did the opposite because it gave me no time to simultaneously take hard classes and make friends. The crew, football, hockey, and lacross teams seem to provide big drinking parties on weekends. The theatre crowd is its own community and I don't know much about them. As for dating, a remarkably large number of students here are inexperienced virgins, which can be frustrating when you're just looking for a little fun. It seems like the only way to get laid is to get drunk at a party.

Christina

We do have a social life! We party, just chill, and do everything in between.

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