I second Yale. The atmosphere is better, especially for undergrad. On the other hand, Harvard cannot be beat for graduate school (except Law school). But I would say Yale because it is probably the best undergrad experience around.
Visit both, and see which one feels like more of a fit to you. If that's not possible, then perhaps post a bit more about yourself and the things that are important to you in a college, and solicit opinions from people *who have actually attended* Harvard or Yale for undergrad. No matter what happens, basing your decision on the words of people (on this board and in the real world) who have no idea what they're talking about and are just repeating tired stereotypes is not a wise way to proceed.
If you have specific questions about Harvard, I'm happy to answer. Good luck with your decision!
Actually, that may not be the case. First, neither school discloses the data from which to determine who wins the cross-admit battle. The 65% datum so often cited on CC comes from a study conducted in 2005 and based on data collected before that from a group of “theoretical” cross-admits. (Participants were asked, “If School X and School Y were both to accept you, which would you choose?”) No hard evidence there.
Last year, Harvard reported that Yale had won more cross-admits than anticipated. And there is evidence in the form of a 2008 statistical model that Yale actually won the cross-admit battle last year, 56% to 44%. http://mathacle.blogspot.com/2008/06...-stanford.html
Like the 2005 Revealed Preference Study, the 2008 statistical model may or may not be accurate. But there's no certainty that 65% choose Harvard over Yale.
And for what it's worth, all of the posters from the Yale board coming here to promote Yale sort of backs up my "Elis are overdefensive" feeling. Do Harvard students/admits post similar things on the Yale board? I'd hope not... but I don't know.
You will be happier at Yale as an undergrad. This is not even a very biased opinion.. it's basically an acknowledged fact (even among Harvard students) that Yale kids have more fun and are generally happier and more accepting, down-to-earth people.
Wow this is the second time posting this link just today, but I really think it is a great article written by Harvard students (so it's not even blue-biased) to help make a Harvard-Yale decision:
Check it out, lol, although they still managed to squeeze in quite a bit of Yale-bashing.
Anyway, save Harvard for grad school, when you're more career-oriented. As of right now, when you're young and free and want to have some fun during these next few crazy years... YALE is the place to be!
P.S. I humbly acknowledge that Harvard is a very respectable establishment. So I'm not SO blindly in love with Yale that I completely disregard anything mentioned about the Crimson School. Hah! :P
That often linked Crimson article above is from 6 years ago. Entire classes have come and gone from the school in the intervening time. Even if that weren't the case, an article written by a select group of people does not in any way indicate that the idea that someone will be happier as an undergrad at Yale is "basically an acknowledged fact" among Harvard students. It isn't.
People on these boards love to rehash tired stereotypes about schools they've never attended, so my advice to the OP - again - is to speak to actual students from these schools, ask them specific questions about whatever is important to you, and to visit if possible.
Either way, just don't use that article as the only factor. It bases the opinions of a very very small group of students to characterize an entire school filled with almost 5000 total students! Talk about misrepresentation. Anyways, there are pros and cons of both; check out the preview weekends