@Family3: I'm afraid I don't remember the specific of what email I got when, and I also think they made some changes to the application process this year, so I can't help you directly. However, I would tell you to call the admissions office: 617-495-1551.
I didn't have any particular problems with my application, but I have a very good friend who had similar logistical issues to you with his teacher recommendations and they were very helpful and friendly.
@Mihalich: Well, this answer is going to sound repetitive. I attended an English-speaking international school, so I actually didn't have that problem. Like I said in above post, I would call the admissions office. Are you doing EA? Let me know if you have any more questions specific to internationals!
In one of the posts, they were talking about fitting into Harvard and any college for that matter. So that got me thinking, what's the student body of Harvard like? What are some common traits of Harvard students/traditions? And is Harvard really as great as people see it as? Also, do the tourists get annoying after a while?
Thank you for doing this
@kardelen: There are 1650 students per year so it's pretty diverse. There's a big range when it comes to social activities, academic interests, etc. but I think it's fairly easy to find people you have things in common with through the student clubs. If students have anything in common though, it's that they're very passionate about EVERYTHING. If you're the kind of person who likes to be around "chill" people, Harvard is not a chill place - people are intense about what they do, whether it's politics or arts or music or what, which I find great, but I could see how that might not be everyone's cup of tea.
So far Harvard has met all my expectations and more. I was really scared that there would be a lot of arrogant people, a lot of competition, etc. but that has really not been the case. Nobody has ever asked me about my SAT score, my GPA or anything like that. I was also scared that all those famous professors would be completely inaccessible, but that has not been true either.
The tourists take a little bit of getting used to - I thought I lived in a zoo for the first couple of weeks I remember this one lady who started calling me and my friends "selfish" and "elitist" because we wouldn't swipe her into the library. Because libraries are totally a picture taking spot, you know, not like a quiet study place or anything. Besides that one incident, though, tourists are usually quite nice and friendly, and you stop noticing them after a while.
@kardelen, I also chose Harvard for its diversity. As Sally said, it's diverse in everything but chill-ness: whether somebody has a passion for modern sculpture or physics or dance or business, they throw themselves into things. It might be nice to have more weekends when everybody was like "nah, let's not do homework, let's spontaneously create a treasure hunt in downtown Boston like this is a college movie." On the other hand, that would actually get annoying really fast. I love not being an outlier for caring.
I'm probably something of a UChicago student at heart, or maybe a Swarthmorian. However, I think I would have been unhappy at those at either of those because I don't want everybody in my college to be like me. There are lots of people here who are like me, and lots who are awesomely different. The different priorities--orphanages in rural India, classical music, spoken word poetry, pure math, food writing, political wonkitude--keep my own priorities from seeming like the Only Correct Ones. It's nice getting to meet all sorts of crazy people! Not that there's anything wrong with wanting a more homogenous student body--I did nearly choose UChicago. But in retrospect, I appreciate my choice.
@Sally, the tourists also become much less a part of your life when you move into an upperclass house. Especially if you get quadded, like me! Ain't no tour group wants to come all the way up here
Yes, ilovecollege95. That was my point. Chill. I know it's a stressful season for you and others applying. Just trying to help the OP escape the wild-eyed "how do I get into Harvard?!?!???!?!?!!!!" crowd.
@exultationsy @sallyfahrae thank you so much for taking the time to answer! I actually am a really passionate person (sometimes obsessive or even radical lol). Is there anything you want to add about the dorm life?
Dorm life is pretty good, especially as freshman as your entryway( vertical cluster of suites around a staircase) is (usually) a big part of your experience. This is supplemented by your proctor and PAFS (peer advising fellows) who are tasked with building a community. From weekly study breaks to the occasional weekend outing, the entryway truly becomes you family, if you want it to be. I personally would grab meals with my entryway mates all the time, and just hang out. Rooms laid out in suites also fosters a good community within your room as you all can chill out in the common room.
I will say that once you move into your upperclassman house, you entryway becomes a far less significant part of your life as you will by now hove gained traction in your different activities/departments friendship groups such that you spend more time with these people than your entryway. This is also exacerbated by the fact that upperclassman entryways are not organized by class and thus you have sophomores, seniors and juniors all in one entryway. That being said we still have bi weekly study breaks with our tutor so there still is some semblance of entryway community. House life/spirit on the other hand is very active.