Harvard College
Cambridge, MA, USA

Reviews

Harvard College
3.85 Average Rating

Cindy

a current student here
189 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
With its liberal arts focus, Harvard provides the type of education that helps you to become a better thinker. You probably won't gain as much concrete knowledge here as you would at a non-liberal arts college, but I think this has more to do with the concept of liberal arts itself so it's not really Harvard's fault...

One problem that does appear to be Harvard's own is that many of its professors are renowned for their research, which means that they're good at research but not necessarily teaching. They all know their stuff; many just have trouble teaching it. This is not to say, however, that Harvard lacks capable professors. In fact, I've had the pleasure of attending the lectures of some of the most experienced, interesting, and enthusiastic professors on campus. The point I'm trying to make is that not ALL Harvard professors are great at keeping you awake during lecture. The good thing, however, is that they are all approachable people (even if they seem intimidating). Many students go to office hours to ask questions, which is usually extremely helpful. Remember: Harvard professors might not always be the best teachers, but they ARE very smart people who are generally willing to lend a helping hand.
Am enjoying being here
Unlike many other schools, Harvard does not use a random process to determine housing arrangements for freshmen. I mean, where you live is random, but not the people you live with. The housing office staff tries their best to pair you up with people who are similar to you in terms of lifestyle but different enough to create an interesting mix. Although there are some cases of housing disasters, most people I know like their roommates and are close with others in the same dorm. Even better, you get to choose who you want to live with for the rest of your 3 years there. If that's not enough for you, there are PLENTY of clubs/organizations for you to join and meet people, and an endless amount of concerts/shows/dances/parties/other fun events throughout the year.

The work is, of course, difficult but definitely manageable if you know how to use your time wisely. Also, the fact that you're allowed to check out the classes before actually enrolling in them (known as shopping classes) definitely helps you to decide which ones to take. Basically, you get to sit in on the first lecture or two and give it a test-run before you decide whether to sign up for that class. Just when you think it can't get any better than this, there's also a very useful student evaluations website (the Q Guide) where you can read feedback from past students. If you read the Q Guide and shop the classes, the chance of you taking a class that you'll hate is substantially reduced. The real problem is having to choose from a myriad of interesting classes.
Bang for the buck
Harvard's financial aid is probably the best in the country. (I received a much bigger scholarship than I thought I would.) What's great is that the scholarships are need-based and Harvard does its absolute best to meet 100% of your need.
Tips for prospective students
Join clubs early on so that you will have a chance of securing a leadership position by the time you're an upperclassman, but only be a leader of something you are passionate about. Ensure excellent academic performance and test scores, which do NOT need to be perfect but must still be high. Show that you can contribute to the community, whether through community service or a job. Make sure to establish good relationships with people who will likely end up writing recommendation letters for you. If you can, visit Harvard's campus to get a feel of whether you'd be happy/comfortable there -- does it feel right? If it does and you're ready to apply, then start the application (early). Make sure to follow up with the admissions office to ensure that ALL parts of your application have been received. Be well-prepared for the interview.
Great for these types of students
Driven, goal-oriented, disciplined, conscientious, flexible, open-minded.
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Axel

a current student here
93 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
YES, YES, YES. You will learn tons and only from the best and the brightest. The professors are amazing and the TFs, likewise. The courses are generally designed to push you towards the limit of learning. IMO, the clubs and the student community alone make Harvard a great place to pickup knowledge, skills, and new friends.
Am enjoying being here
I absolutely enjoy being there. Wonderful students, wonderful staff. People actually care about you at Harvard.

People always ask me, Do they party at Harvard? Yes! Maybe not as crazy as some schools, but we definitely have some great parties. The Cambridge/Boston location is very exciting. The only con I've noticed is a lack of school spirit sometimes.
Bang for the buck
By and far, Harvard has the best financial aid of any college in the world. Income < $60k, you're in for free. FREE. You can't beat free. Even upper income family receive a lot of aid here.

In many cases, they'll even send you refund checks when you have a positive balance from extra outside scholarship money.
Tips for prospective students
Visit the campus, talk to a few current students or grads and you'll be able to get all the info you need. Try do something unique and creative during your high school years. Take risks, go on adventures. These kinds of things look great on apps and they make for great essays.
Great for these types of students
Great for students that tend to get along with everyone. Great for self-motivated and passionate students. Harvard is bit more laid back than what most people imagine, so both don't worry if you're not a type A person. You're still welcome here.
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Emily

a current student here
78 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
It's impossible not to learn a lot at Harvard, with such a wide range of classes taught by professors who are often experts in their field. Obviously, Harvard is known for being a prestigious research university and so the academic education students get here is outstanding. But besides classroom learning, students at Harvard are able to learn an amazing amount from their peers. The student body is economically, socially, and racially diverse, and in addition to this, most students bring unusual interests and experiences to share. Because of this, student interactions inside and outside the classroom bring each individual into contact with ideas that they otherwise would never have encountered. Finally, Harvard's sheer volume of resources, such as the extensive library system, guarantee that no student will go without the ability to learn as much as they possibly can.
Am enjoying being here
The classes at Harvard are engaging and in-depth, and I felt that I was learning things that would definitely be of use in later life, even when these classes were not directly related to my career plans. In order to do well, it is necessary to put concentrated effort into academic work, and most students spend long hours completing papers and problem sets. That being said, the type of student who comes here is usually the type that enoys academic work. However, there are hundreds of things to do besides homework, ranging from the science fiction club to acapella groups. My personal interest is music, and I am definitely kept busy with playing in different ensembles. Also, being in Cambridge allows for going into Boston to see the Red Sox, the Boston Symphony, the Museum of Fine Arts, or simply hanging out (Harvard Square itself is also a good hang-out area). Everyone on campus is always doing something interesting, and is usually caught up in the excitement of doing it.
Bang for the buck
This university is definitely worth the tuition, and I would defintiely make the decision to go here again. The current financial aid program is excellent and is much better than the aid offered by other private universities, including the other Ivy League schools.
Tips for prospective students
Besides requiring the highest standards of academic achievement, admissions tends to look for students who are either very well-rounded (which means doing wide variety of activities and doing them well) or for students who are dedicated to a specific interest. Students who better fit the specific interest category should be doing this at a very high level. I have met people who, for example, were very competitive in national high school science fairs or athletics.
Once you get here, take full advantage of shopping week. This is the first week of classes in which you can go to any class before officially registering to see if you like the syllabus and professor. Shopping ensures that you will get classes and professors that work for you, and it also allows you to judge class sizes. Some popular classes, such as those in the economics department, are gigantic, but there are also lots of small classes in other departments, like the language classes.
Great for these types of students
Harvard works best for the self-motivated, over-achieving, confident types. These people tend to feel inspired by the environment, but students who do not enjoy academic work and challenges are sometimes intimidated by the coursework.
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Jasmin

a current student here
60 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Harvard provides its students freedom. With freedom, it is a student's choice where to go, what to do, and who to surround themselves with. The environment at Harvard is indeed a learning one; not only do I learn in the classroom, but I learn in the organizations I belong to and from the incredible students I am lucky enough to share my four college years with. Learning is completely dependent on how much a student strives for that domain. Undoubtedly, Harvard gives its students amazing choices.
Harvard has an incredible selection of courses taught by the best in each field; it is an immense challenge to try to select only four courses each semester. Additionally, counselors and advisers are knowledgeable, and there are incredible opportunities with unique educational programs such as study abroad, becoming certified to become a teacher, and researching in labs.
Outside of classroom walls, Harvard has a vibrant extracurricular life. There are organizations of all sorts. These one-of-a-kind groups are made up of some of the brightest and most ambitious students in the world; these people are the reason why Harvard is so special.
Am enjoying being here
Harvard is a very challenging school; not only does it push students academically, it also pushes in other respects. Individuals are all very driven at this school, at at times there is an atmosphere of stress and anxiety, this is usually during finals period. People also tend to become involved in excessive activities and have no free time. This isn't to say though that Harvard is not fun, because on the contrary, it is. There are scenes for all types of individuals and varied definitions of fun. There are plenty of parties every single weekend! Concerts and dance recitals, art galleries and poetry readings, school attractions and museums, and more! To warn though, students are often caught in the Harvard Bubble, but Harvard is an urban campus! Cambridge and Boston are incredible cities with a lot to do.
Bang for the buck
Harvard is one of the leading institutions for comprehensive and extensive financial aid. If you get into Harvard, you will not have to worry about paying to actually go. Harvard will make sure that you are able to attend. Undoubtedly, there are many costs that are not included in one's financial aid package like airfare, but considering the uniqueness of this school, it's definitely big bang for all your buck.
Tips for prospective students
Harvard looks for individuals that are well-rounded (ah, how many times have you heard this before?), confident, and motivated students. Show Harvard that you dream big and put in as much effort as needed to reach those dreams. Show them that you really will take advantage of the school and not waste a single drop of your potential. Just show them what you've got!
When you get in, visit the school. Harvard really isn't for everyone, so come and check out the atmosphere. Don't judge a school by its name, judge by the vibe you get.
When at Harvard, explore! There's so much to see and so much to do! Don't get caught up in one single concentration or one single extracurricular group; there are so many things I'm sure you've never seen before. Don't limit yourself because you'll never have the ability to be at this place again. Take random courses and meet random people, you'll be better for it.
Great for these types of students
Harvard is great for those students who can take on a challenge and realize their full potentials.
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Linda from West Chester, OH

a current student here
44 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Yes, I learned a lot here, but really, you can learn a lot anywhere you go. Learning depends less on the college and more on the student – obviously, the more work you put into your education, the more you’ll get out of it. I’m a freshman at Harvard, so I’ve only completed a semester so far. However, I feel like I’ve learned a lot because I’ve tried my best to do so and get decent grades. I feel that this criterion (“Learn a lot”) really isn’t specific to the university. No matter where you choose to go, you decide how much you want to learn. For instance, chemistry at Harvard is like chemistry at any other university; it doesn’t matter how you spin it, a nucleus will contain protons and neutrons. You’d learn it the same way as well – memorization, practice problems, etc. You know the works. What’s unique about Harvard is definitely the resources. Since it is a large university with quite a bit of money, it’s strong in all its academic fields, not just a few. I spoke about this with a friend who attended a smaller university. Although he loved his experience there, he did mention that the research laboratories lacked some more expensive, high-tech equipment. Rest assured that you will not encounter this or similar problems at Harvard.
Am enjoying being here
I absolutely love it here. Part of Harvard’s appeal for me was the city setting. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Ohio, so Boston’s bustling atmosphere is very exciting and new for me. Harvard’s campus is mixed with the city, so I often have to walk along the streets to get where I need to go. There’s always plenty to do on Friday nights and weekends, since there are restaurants and malls within bus or subway distance. But the campus wasn’t the only reason why I chose the school, of course – I picked Harvard mainly because of the people. At Harvard, you’re surrounded by the best and the brightest from literally all over the world. My class contains students from every state in the US, as well as various countries elsewhere. It’s fascinating to meet these people randomly in the dining hall, share unique experiences, and become friends. My peers are not only from everywhere, but they are talented in so many areas. I love the opportunities I have to meet incredibly accomplished people, and to be a part of something greater than myself.
Bang for the buck
You have to acknowledge that most of your money goes to the name. As I mentioned before, you learn the same material at other universities in the same fashion. If you choose to go to Harvard or other big name universities, you have to understand that the education you receive won’t be light years better than that from other colleges. So in that sense, for all the extra money you pay, the education really is not the “bang for the buck”. However, it’s the opportunities and the atmosphere that are different. A less prestigious university may offer an education that’s close in scope to that of Harvard, but can it also offer a talented, worldly student body? Can it offer the same level of enrichment and depth to the education it gives? Can it offer quality and variety in its subjects of study? Harvard has its advantages here – not only are there the resources, but the resources are present in all its subjects of study. As a liberal arts college, Harvard focuses on breadth and opportunity, and you, as a student, reap the benefits of this focus since you can choose any field and know you’ll receive a quality education. Other universities specialize in certain studies, and are quite strong within those limited areas. However, if you choose to go there and either change your mind on your major or wish for a more broad education, you may find the opportunities lacking. To me, Harvard is worth every penny of its very expensive tuition for these reasons – it combines a superb, expansive education with endless opportunities and incredible networking.
Tips for prospective students
As a Harvard student, everyone passes through the “oh my gosh what am I doing here” stage at some point in their college career. If you go to Harvard, you will feel overwhelmed. You’ll ask yourself, “what have I done in my life that could ever be as great as what some of my peers have done?” You’ll wonder whether or not you made the right choice in coming to such a prestigious school, and you will feel as if you have under-accomplished. Do not fret—this is absolutely normal, and the stage will pass. So if you’re a prospective student who’s been accepted, but you’re afraid of going because Harvard seems like an intimidating place to be, keep in mind that most everyone here has doubted at some point as well. A person becomes wiser by surrounding him or herself with the best, so if you have the choice, choose Harvard. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort to work hard and meet people, you can’t go wrong here.
Great for these types of students
As goes without saying (but I’ll say it again anyway), Harvard is great for students who are hard working, dedicated, and self-motivated. Everyone can find a place to fit in here, but all students definitely need to be humble and grounded, and confident in their own abilities. You can’t come to Harvard and expect to be the top-dog in everything, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility. Keep in mind where you are, and don’t lose confidence even if you aren’t doing as well as you did in high school. Generally, students who get into Harvard are used to being the best or near the best in what they do, but that might not be the case when you arrive on this campus. No worries—just never lose faith in yourself and your abilities, and you will be great in this university.
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Current Sophomore

a current student here
41 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The students are great, teamwork is encouraged (I've heard from transfers that it is to a unique degree), there are a lot of ambitious people but nobody is too competitive. There are a million things to do, in terms of academics, extracurriculars, and events. It is true, however, that going to school with a bunch of smart ambitious people makes you question your abilities and it's harder to be at the top of the curve here, but I love it here nevertheless.
Academic Rigor
Science classes are pretty hard, and intro classes honestly aren't as interesting as upper level ones (in bio, at least). Social science courses are great, rigor varies from department to department.
Dorm Life
I actually really like how freshmen all eat in the same dhall, you make friends there before you move into the Houses, so you'll have friends outside of them. House life is great, Quincy HoCo hosts great events, Deb (the House Master) is crazy but really fun.
Food and Dining
Meal plan is unlimited, and dining halls double as social spaces. The freshman dining hall is cool and historical, as well as conveniently located, the food isn't as good there as the Houses, but it's not bad. The food gets better the less central the dhall. HUDS is really responsive to feedback and the workers are usually really friendly and helpful. The food, in comparison to other colleges, is mostly average (with both really good and bad days), but there is always something to eat �¢���� if not in the main options at least at the grill.
What to do for fun
There are always college-sponsored events to go to, plus plenty of parties for me at least, though if you like to party during the week you're out of luck. Harvard Square is a pretty lively place, and you can get to Boston using public transport quickly and easily. I probably go to Boston once or twice a month, though my roommate never went there (besides the airport) until sophomore year. Boston also has cool events, museums, parks, etc. There are lots of concerts in the area. Harvard also has museums and stuff if you are into that, as well as student theatre and musical/dance performances. There are a million and one extracurriculars that are great.
Bang for the buck
So, I am on practically full financial aid, so this is skewed, but I really love my experience here. Also if you are on significant financial aid, they'll help you get a winter coat, and pay for 5 event tickets a semester. There are plenty of free, fun things, and you probably won't use them for much more than formals and the occasional show, but it's great that it's there.
Clubs and Activities
I've enjoyed 90% of what I've enjoyed, and the main problem with the extracurricular scene here is that there are too many cool possibilities.
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Aus10

a current student here
40 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Harvard University is truly among the most exclusive schools to be found anywhere on the globe. Attending such a prestigious University is very humbling, because when an institution takes the most knowledge thirsty minds from around the world and puts them all in one place, not a day goes by that isn't a learning experience. The only thing that every student at this school has in common is that they applied, so don't hesitate.
Tips for prospective students
Don't let anyone tell you that the hardest part is getting in. While the acceptance rate is pretty low (lower every year, naturally), that's only the first hurdle. Harvard wouldn't be the most prestigious university in the world if it didn't hold excellence at the highest of standards. Classes are difficult, and sometimes the workload can be isolating. All of that said, I guarantee that you will never learn as much in one year as you do your freshman year at Harvard. It is nothing less than transformational to spend every minute of every day surrounded by the people of our generation who will be making the difference in the coming decades. Don't take this for granted, and don't accept an offer until you are sure that you want to be challenged on a personal level.
Academic Rigor
Compared to high school, Harvard does a pretty good job of making collegiate academia pop.
Dorm Life
I was in a suite of six guys this last year, with a size comparable to an abnormally large shoebox. No internal cooling, but there is heat for the winter. Too much most of the time in fact. Upperclassmen housing is marginally nicer, hence the two stars instead of one, but expect these dorms to be old and cramped.
Food and Dining
Most students complain loudly about the quality of food here, but they have obviously never been to public school. It's really fine, some days better than others, but it keeps you alive.
What to do for fun
Lots of stuff around Harvard Square, restaurants and such. Harvard has a trillion events going on at any one time, a ton of student organizations, all fired up and passionate about their own niche topics. Boston is just a few T stops away, but most of the time students stay on campus just because of the volume of activities to do there.
Bang for the buck
The best kept secret about Harvard: their financial aid is amazing. Honestly if it weren't for the aid, I'd be taking out $35-40000 a year in student loans, but I'm saved by their amazing alumni and their donations. I sound kind of like a sellout, but they're the reason I get to go to this amazing school, so yeah I kind of am. The classes are amazing (even if they're tough, and sometimes a little unorganized), the people you meet and the experience you have every day is something that has no price tag on it. No, not even a $70,000 debt every year would have stopped me now that I know what it's like.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The three traditions. Can't sell out, sorry.
Great for these types of students
Students who want to learn about the world around them, who want to be challenged about what they think, and how they think, and what they believe, and why they believe it. Don't come here if you can't support the lifestyle that you live and the things you believe. Especially if you're more on the conservative side of the spectrum, because this college is (shocker I know) overwhelmingly liberal.
Clubs and Activities
I got involved with the Institute of Politics, and more importantly with collegiate a cappella. This school has something for everyone, and if it doesn't have what you want, then start a club. Funding and prospective members will trickle in accordingly. But gonna plug for a cappella again, really far and away the best thing I did my freshman year.
Greek Life
Disclaimer: The current president (Drew Faust, stepping down in 2018) and Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana are trying to shut down anything that even resembles greek life or single gender organizations. Starting with the Class of 2021, if you join an "Unrecognized Single Gender Organization," you will be barred from being President of any recognized organization on campus, and the faculty aren't allowed to write letters of recommendation or support students looking toward opportunities such as Marshal or Rhodes scholars.

If you want to be supported by the administration with your activities, don't come here for Greek Life. There is rampant gender discrimination by the administration pertaining to this issue as well, with different standards for all-male and all-female organizations. The administration moving forward is handling this matter excessively poorly, so I would recommend looking somewhere else if this is on your must-do list.

That said, all of my interactions with Greek organizations have been excellent. The people are really all top notch and a lot of fun. Final Clubs are a little more sketchy/edgy, but they're also an option I suppose.
Campus Safety
Harvard University Police Department takes good care of the campus, Harvard University Health Services keeps the students healthy, and I can't think of a single time that I have felt unsafe on campus.
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Jeanie from San Diego, CA

a current student here
35 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Harvard University courses – even introductory classes – are phenomenal! You can tell that hundreds of years of experience have perfected their system - everything from how students select courses, to the way it is structured is perfect. The first week of every semester is called “Shopping Week” because students have the freedom of sitting in on as many classes as they would like without committing. This is not only a great way to ease into the rigors of each semester, but also get a good feel for the class material as well as the professor. There isn’t much competition for classes (except for the capped lotteried ones), but many classes will hire more Teaching Fellows if more students enroll than expected. I am a math and science-geared student so the majority of my classes are structured as so: a lecture (ranging from 30-600 students) by a professor a few times a week and then a section/discussion hour (10-12 students) with a Teaching Fellow/graduate student once a week, and perhaps a Laboratory class. Even though lectures can have hundreds of students, technology such as trivia-like answering buzzers have made the class very interactive. The professors usually have experience lecturing to a large crowd and have perfected how to entertain a large group. Since the discussion sections are so small, it is very intimate and all of the Teaching Fellows I have interacted with are more than willing to help you by holding extra office hours and/or answering emails extremely promptly. There is so much support from teachers as well as academic advisors that they ensure not only your academic, but also social success.

After taking six classes in high school, the four classes that Harvard mandates sounds like a breeze, but it definitely is challenging, especially on top of extra-curriculars like athletics or public service. In high school, teachers spoon-feed you knowledge, telling you what you will be tested on and what you are expected to learn. However, in ...
Am enjoying being here
My transition to Harvard was definitely the most difficult thing I faced my first semester, but this was due mainly to personal issues such as a break up with my high school boyfriend and my grandmother falling ill. I was lucky to make strong connections with my peers early on; however, I still felt uncomfortable talking about family illness with my friends at Harvard and that was when faculty advisors became much needed helping hands. I found myself not only becoming close friends with my peers in my class, but everyone in the Harvard community - whether that was upperclassmen or faculty, it just seemed that we were all connected with this common Harvard thread and this network and these interpersonal connections are what made my first semester so amazing! Leaving my best friends at home was one of the most difficult - most tear filled nights ever, but knowing that my friendships in college would quickly supplement the relationships I had back at home provided me with a lot of needed comfort. I never really did understand diversity until I came to college and met internationals from parts of the world I didn't even know existed!

Second semester, I definitely took on the most challenging courses I've ever faced but I'm still able to say that it was a beautiful semester because I struggled alongside my classmates. I know many prefrosh are concerned about the cut-throat stigma, but this definitely is a misconception. I tend to go out of my way to help others, even if this means sacrificing the few hours of sleep I normally get; but, this is common because I know a handful of my classmates have done the same for me. We generally all want each other to succeed. I guess this is because we realize we all have different contributions we offer, and together, these contributions have a synergistic effect. Harvard definitely has a competitive atmosphere, but I'm confident when I say all of my friends are competitive with themselves more so than with others - it's more ...
Bang for the buck
Several top tiered private schools advertise that their financial aid packages are amazing, but Harvard University is the only one that has supported their words with tangible proof. I received a more than generous financial aid package. They also have tons of unique financial aid programs such as a computer reimbursement program where the institution will reimburse up to $2,000 for a new computer and/or related gadgets. Depending on your financial situation, they will also give you money for winter clothes! Tons of grants are also available if you are interested in traveling/studying abroad or even if you would like to throw social events! The Office of Careers and Services, as well as other clubs on campus, will guide you along the grant application process as well!

The only downside is that they only allow you to apply $4,000 of outside scholarship money to your fees. This policy stems from their philosophy that their financial requests are very reasonable and therefore you should be able to meet their requests. Any outside scholarships you receive that exceed the $4,000 is put in Harvard’s bank to use as they see fit.
Tips for prospective students
I work closely with a few undergraduate admission officers and the application reviewing process is extremely personal. These admission officers basically “master” each applicant and present them to the admissions council, fighting like a lawyer for votes. A prospective student can make the job of an admissions officer easier by skillfully using the application to paint a detailed picture of himself/herself. Everything from writing style to activities is taken into account and the interview solidifies the perceived personality. Harvard is looking for genuinely intelligent AND kind people. I’ve heard of acceptances being rescinded because the students were rude to the office receptionist or student-host during a visit!
Great for these types of students
Harvard University is the perfect atmosphere for students truly interested in learning because it is essential for them to passionately pioneer their academic endeavors with the plethora of opportunities available.
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Cat from Cambridge, MA

a current student here
25 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Harvard is an absolutely incredible institution built on the principle of continual learning. Opportunities are endless and every day is a new experience. Worth mentioning: the professors are some of the most talented and prominent in their field.
Tips for prospective students
Find a group where you want to belong. Harvard is a big school with thousands of adventures waiting to be explored- don't try to tackle it alone.
Academic Rigor
Make sure you are ready to work as hard as possible for the entire year. There is no down time. There are no breaks. School must be the top priority.
Dorm Life
The advisers, especially freshman year, are absolutely incredible and foster an amazing sense of family. Plus, imagine living among some of the most talented and intellectually stimulating students in the world. There is never a reason to be bored
Food and Dining
Tons of Mexican food around as well as little sandwich shops. There are plenty of great places to go out for coffee and there is a wonderful mix of chain and personal owned restaurants. Basically, whatever the budget, there is a place for you.
What to do for fun
Definitely suggest going to the many shows put on by the theater department every year. They are completely student run and generally very cheap. A capella groups are an amazing experience as well. The sports games are a ton of fun. If you ever find yourself bored on the weekend and not in the mood to party, there is always a great offering of free Harvard-sponsored events
Bang for the buck
Living, learning, and sharing ideas with some of the most intellectual, famous, interesting people in the world? An unlimited meal plan? Beautiful old buildings kept in pristine condition? A wonderful location? Priceless.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Primal Scream- The friday before finals Harvard students gather to streak in a lap around Harvard yard. Very cold in the winter. Tourists gather to take pictures.

Housing Day- Hogwarts meets Harvard on the day that housing assignments are given out. Freshmen stay up all night waiting. Upperclassmen gather at the John Harvard statue in the early morning. Then when letters come out, upperclassmen burst into the rooms of the freshmen from their house, celebrating and welcoming them with paraphernalia

Peeing on the foot... you'll see.
Great for these types of students
Type A students who love to learn and are ready to try new things, but know how to manage their time and relax when necessary.
Clubs and Activities
SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES
Greek Life
Definitely part of the social scene but not the normal. We also have finals clubs, which is a similar institution to a fraternity
Campus Safety
HUPD always informs students of any wrongdoings on campus. There are always police officers on campus and blue boxes with buttons that you can press for assistance. Harvard is in the middle of a big city, so of course crime is to be expected. Just be careful and all will be well.
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Sarah from Manchester, NH

a current student here
19 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Harvard is a home for outstanding students, who love to learn for the sole purpose of personal development. Once you walk through Johnson Gate and touch John Harvard's foot for the first time, you are on a path to great things. Harvard is a lifetime institution; not merely a four year college.
Tips for prospective students
Do something nontraditional, and be confident. If you are considering Harvard, you find it easy to get an A in your high school classes. It is the time outside of those classes that determines who is accepted and who is not. A résumé a mile long typically speaks of loose involvement in many clubs for the sake of appearing well-rounded. More impressive are the students who have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to a true passion and have exceeded expectations in that field.
Academic Rigor
Harvard is all about seeking help when you need it. Your lectures will be challenging, your problem sets hard, and your exams still harder. However, there is a strong system of support in place for every class. Professors love to meet with students, and your classmates themselves are almost always willing to help. The image people have of a population of cutthroat, backstabbing library zombies is simply false.
Dorm Life
Harvard cares very strongly about dorm life, since it is an invaluable part of community building. Freshman dorms are some of the best in the country, with many students having singles attached to a large common room for desks and entertainment. Upperclassmen houses are better still, if possible. Each house has its own dining hall, library, fitness room, and special feature, which could be anything from a rock wall to a pottery studio.
Food and Dining
As an athlete, I eat LOTS of dining hall food, and am usually fully satisfied. Freshmen all eat in the same Gothic style hall, which can be very fun if you can find your friends, and rather overwhelming if you have to search the rows and rows of tables for a while to find a place to sit. The dining hall can feel a bit crowded at peak meal times, but it is generally easy to find a little corner. Upperclassmen dining halls serve the same food, but it is made in smaller portions, and therefore tastes infinitely better. The rooms are also much smaller and cozier. They strive for a family style set up.
What to do for fun
Boston is so close! Take the T to see museums, aquariums and baseball games! Harvard Square and the surrounding area are full of restaurants of all types. I would also recommend brushing up on pool, ping pong, poker and foosball. There are places to play scattered all around campus, and these are a great way to pass the time and relieve stress! There are parties of course, but mostly on Friday and Saturday. It is rare to find anyone hungover on a Tuesday morning. Sporting events, (yes, Harvard is a Division 1 school), are also a great way to show your love for your school.
Bang for the buck
Harvard is not cheap, but if your family qualifies, financial aid is very generous. It is a true investment in your future. A Harvard degree is a strong starting place for any career, which means you will probably be able to pay off any debts you incur.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Primal Scream occurs in Harvard Yard the midnight before finals period begins. Hundreds of people come to the Yard, strip down to nothing, and run a lap! It is a very exhilarating experiences. Basically everything at Harvard is steeped in tradition. We have a different name for everything, which may lead to some confusion when you tell someone that you are concentrating in HDRB, rather than majoring in it.
Great for these types of students
To survive here, you must be self-motivated and community-oriented. Additionally, the feeling of being inadequate compared to one's classmates is very common. Confidence coming into school will go a long way in ensuring you survive first semester.
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