Harvard typically admits 2000+ students for an entering class of close to 1700 students. This means it expects a yield of nearly 80%. this year, the yield is 76%, hence the larger than usual number of students admitted from the waitlist.
Harvard did expand the size of its student body for a variety of reasons. 1. It wanted to diversify to a greater extent (especially by admitting more international students) without drastically reducing the number of domestic admits.
2, It together with other elite schools have been under enormous pressure to admit more students (see the posts about "deserves to get in" rejected applicants).
3. It has very limited capacity to expand the amount of housing available.
Freshman housing varies. My S was in one of the least desirable housing situation, and continues to have to bunk. But this is not the end of the world. In fact, he would be more comfortable living at home. A whole floor to himself, laundry service, etc... and he would even be closer to some of his classes than in his present House. But he is staying in his House until the last possible day. There's more to residential living than the size of one's room.
Hmmm . . . I am worried. The reports of stressed students - might that have something to do with over-crowding? Sorry. Protective mama bear here. I really am happy for the deserving students getting in off the waitlist but I also worry about overall quality of life for all the students.
If you consider the age of the buildings on the Old Yard, all have been through significant renovations and remodeling over the centuries. Accordingly, the floor plans within the original structures are in some cases not the way you'd probably lay them out if you were starting from scratch. It does afford some rather cramped doubles as well as some spacious ones. Some suites have internal baths, some share a hall bath. Within a given suite there may be rooms that are more desirable than others. It may be a good idea for the suitemates to work out a rotation system if there's one room that's particularly small. But, as they say, the three most important aspects of real estate are location, location, and location. Freshman year housing at Harvard occupies the prime location in all of American higher education.
Mammall - My D1 spent a third of her frosh year in a double so small that if you arranged the dresser across the room from the bunkbed, you couldn't open the drawers fully. (She also spent another third in a generous double, and the other third in a single.) She cried when she had to move out.
mammall - I think "overcrowded" is a very relative term. All Harvard dorm setups that I've seen are far preferable to the "typical" dorm setup most of my friends (especially at state schools have) - with two people in one room with bunk beds.
I still agree with mammall. I'm sure an institution like Harvard is not going to be "pressured" into admitting more students than is comfortable. I wonder what the real reason may be. My son is fine with the living arrangements, I am the one who is a bit more worried.
guitars - I'm totally with you on this. Just don't understand the reasoning. Also, class size at H is not as uniformly good as at some peer institutions. Just wondering what the thinking is. I'm sure it will all seem for the best in a few months but meanwhile I'm worried. My D is, too, just a bit.
Well, those who are worried about overcrowding could always attend BU. the student overflow is accommodated at the Hyatt Regency across the river. Now that is palatial digs!
When I attended college in the dark ages, my first dorm room had been meant for one. Somehow an extra bed had been found but there was no room for another desk. Eventually a double was found in another dorm. But there was no assistance in carting our stuff from one dorm to the other, up a hill.
Harvard some time ago decided to increase the size of its entering class. While some singles were converted to doubles, there is always room for the requisite number of chests, bookcases and desks.
If anything, this year, Harvard has been conservative. It is not admitting transfers; it admitted fewer students than in the past few years.
So, what's the problem? The incoming students will have the same accommodations as current students.
Should Harvard accept fewer students? Would you be happy with an admission rate of 5%?
Remember that this rate includes donors' kids, recruited athletes, faculty brats, academic stars (about 300) and so on, which probably would mean a yield of 3% for non-hooked applicants.
My post was not intended to upset anyone. My son is my first to go off to college and I'm very nervous about him moving across the country (we are in Calif). Please understand that I don't have anything but great feelings for those accepted off the waitlist. I just keep hearing from friends how the living situation is very cramped at Harvard. My son's interviewer was the first to tell us about the cramped dorms. He told him not to bring a pillow that was too big because it may not fit. I know he was just joking, but it worried me.
He should not bring a pillow. There is one for each bed. Yes, the dorm rooms are small. But they are livable. The housing situation in the UC system is even worse. I also assume that the interview happened a long time ago, plenty of time for you and your son to think about the dorm situation. It has not changed between then and now. Nor will it change by September.
A kid accepted on April 1st and a kid accepted off the waitlist have exactly equal status. They are both fully "accepted" and neither one is taking anything away that belonged to the other. In general, I'm willing to give Harvard the benefit of the doubt here - that they know what they are doing. They've been accepting kids and moving them in for nearly 400 years. I'm sure everything will work out fine.