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Dorm life at Harvard

guitars101guitars101 Posts: 2,201Registered User Senior Member
edited October 2013 in Harvard University
Does anyone have any input on Harvard dorm life? Does the school do a good job in coordinating roommates?
Post edited by guitars101 on

Replies to: Dorm life at Harvard

  • h-bomberh-bomber Posts: 427Registered User Member
    By dorm life I'm assuming you mean the freshman dorms. If so, then YES!!! Dear god yes they do an incredible job!

    First I want to commend you for actually asking this question. Most students seriously underestimate the effect that their rooming/living situation will have on their experience at the college, and don't even figure out if their school does random assignment or actually put thought into it until too late. You don't really have any space that is 'yours' as a freshman at most colleges, so ensuring that you get along with your roommates and that you all have adequate space is key. It doesn't matter how much you like the college, if you hate your room then the first and last thing you'll see every day is going to seriously put a damper on your mood.

    As far as Harvard goes, the freshman housing assignment process is awesome and consistently draws praise. The application is more intense than most schools; there are the standard multiple choice questions about smoking, tv preference, sleep schedule, music taste, etc, but then there is also an essay section about who your ideal roommate would be. A little word of advice: take this seriously. You don't have to outline the type of person exactly, but even more ethereal things like "I'd like my roommate to be open to trying new things and going to downtown Boston" are helpful. Also as a sidenote, you should probably overestimate how social you are (if you partied in HS you're a 4 or a 5 on the 5 point scale, Harvard doesn't tend to draw the hard-core partyers that would top most other school's social scales).

    The freshman housing coordinator looks over all the apps and then starts building up the yard, one room at a time, dorm by dorm (there are legends about her process getting screwed up when her cat got into the room and messed up her mock-up of the yard). Each dorm kind of gets its own flavor, and the halls/entryways are even coordinated a little. Most people find themselves discovering weird similarities between their roommates' and their backgrounds long into the school year, many times far beyond anything the coordinator could have known based on the housing app and the college app alone.

    I'm definitely not saying that everyone ends up best friends with their roommates, but there are very few people who find the situation unlivable. At the worst you'll tolerate your roommates, but more probably you'll end up blocking with some of them.
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,696Registered User Senior Member
    I asked for a roommate who had traveled, maybe spoke German or French and didn't smoke. I got someone whose Dad was from Bangladesh, whose Mother was German and who was living in Paris at the time. We got along really well and still keep in touch. They really do make an effort to give you what you ask for. My husband stayed friends with his freshmen year roomies though he ended up rooming the rest of his time with someone who lived across the hall from him.
  • guitars101guitars101 Posts: 2,201Registered User Senior Member
    h-bomber,

    Thank you so much for answering so honestly. As a parent, I am quite concerned with this aspect of college life. I know that my son is also concerned. You made us feel so much better. Harvard seems to do such a wonderful job in every respect. I have been very impressed so far.

    You are also a great representative of the college and of the students.

    Mathmom, Thank you, as well. great insight
  • gadadgadad Posts: 7,752Registered User Senior Member
    Agreed - the opinions of parents only go so far; it's great to have your input on this forum H-bomber! Another regular student contributor is xjayz, who parents might want to seek out for questions.
  • coureurcoureur Posts: 11,386Registered User Senior Member
    My daughter (now a senior) and her freshman roommate were a great match and quickly became best friends and have remained best friends and roommates throughout their four years there.
  • guitars101guitars101 Posts: 2,201Registered User Senior Member
    Sounds like Harvard does a nice job in selecting roommates. Thanks everyone!
  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me Posts: 2,244Registered User Senior Member
    Just want to agree with the other students that Harvard does a pretty incredible job of selecting freshman rooomates!
  • cheerchencheerchen Posts: 27Registered User New Member
    So I feel pretty naive asking this, but I can't find it anywhere on the college website.

    How are dorm rooms arranged at Harvard for freshmen? As in, is it dormitory style living where it's two people to one room? Or is it a suite with a common room, and then single rooms surrounding the common room? If so, how many people are assigned to one suite? Are there co-ed bathrooms for one floor? Or are bathrooms located in the dorm rooms themselves? If someone could explain how it all works and the set-up of the buildings, that'd be extremely helpful because I'm totally in the dark about the housing style of Harvard and about how many roommates I should expect to have.
  • coureurcoureur Posts: 11,386Registered User Senior Member
    ^^The dorms are so varied and in some cases so old that, with the exception of the co-ed bathrooms, pretty much every scenario you describe above exists somewhere at Harvard.
  • fauvefauve Posts: 3,252Registered User Senior Member
    You will be notified in August what your dorm room setup will be, and who your roommates are (with email addresses). Then you can begin planning on dividing up the space, and who brings what (fridge, futon,etc.)
  • ThetaCheeseThetaCheese Posts: 72Registered User Junior Member
    early august? maybe? hopefully?
  • SamihaKShanSamihaKShan Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    what is his name...i have a friend whose parents are half Bangladeshi or Bengali and Germany
  • advantageadvantage Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    Dear Coureur, My daughter started Harvard last fall toward the end of the year the community bathroom in her dorm was made co-ed. She stopped by there this year and verified that it has remained co-ed, however; someone handmade signs were posted next to some restrooms that said men or women. Remind you that this is where the students shower. This was a concern of ours before she entered, so we looked it up in the freshmen handbook and were relieved when the bathrooms were same sex. What is the new ruling on bathrooms on the rest of the campus and in other dorms with communal bathrooms.
  • JHSJHS Posts: 14,268Registered User Senior Member
    We shouldn't use a thread from April/May 2008 to discuss current bathroom arrangements, or any of the 20 or so more recent bathroom threads either. If you really feel a need to discuss this often-discussed issue again, it would make sense to start a new thread.
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