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To transfer or not to transfer?

batgencam1batgencam1 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
I'm a rising junior at Harvard College- and I hate it here. I have for 2 years. I don't want to sound rant-y or ungrateful, as Harvard has been wonderfully financially generous to me, but I feel like I just can't stick it out anymore.

TL;DR: How bad do things have to get at Harvard before it is reasonable to transfer?

Let me explain- I have no problems socially. I am president of 3 clubs and I have some great friends. But I have trouble living here and studying here. My living situation is awful. My freshman year I was placed in an older dorm with some , a-hem, vermin problems (like rats. Inside. All winter. and then roaches. BIG roaches. All spring.) and I was assigned to an advisor who sent me an email on the first day that she had no time to be my advisor, so we would never meet, but don't worry, finding classes wasn't hard, just shop around. Anyone who has ever been to college can tell you this is awful advice. I did well academically so I can't complain about that really, but I was certainly frustrated.

I entered sophomore year with next to none of my necessary classes done (heck, I didn't even know which classes were required, I had only a vague idea of the gen ed requirements at all). So I learned through an automated email from the university that I would have to take 5 classes (most Harvard students take 4) for 4 semesters to graduate (Harvard only allows students to be on campus for 8 total semesters with no summer session, so there is no option of taking a 9th semester to even out my course load). Understandably, I was a little upset. Still worse, I learned that Harvard actually does not have what I wanted to study (I have always wanted to study theology, but Harvard has only the sociological study of religion, and would not make the exception that the DUS of religion had promised me that would allow me to study theology), so I would have to pick something else. Further, because I currently have no department I have no advisor, nor any professor to write me recommendations (I asked several, but they all said that they couldn't write one for me because I was not really in their department). So I couldn't apply for any programs or jobs this year. I hate my classes, which in addition to being boring are graded at an incredible slope. For instance, I was getting a 96 in one class up till the final, then I got a 93 on the final, which should have clinched my A in the class. But my participation grade, of all things, is apparently a B- (for NO reason, I attended every class and participated in every section) leaving me with an A-. But neither the professor nor the TF will respond to my emails, and I have no advocate so I can't protest the grade.

In addition, my housing situation got worse. We still have rats, and roaches, and now termites coming out of the bathroom wall. Further, no one would come to fix the problem, as our House (what they call a Harvard upperclassmen dorm) was being renovated in the 2017-2018 school year, so it "wasn't a wise use of university resources" (their words, not mine) to assist us with pest control. In addition, the dining hall workers went on strike, closing our dining hall for about a month (which is unavoidable, and not the university's fault), but the food never really recovered. The dining hall hours are erratic and never posted. Frequently, the dining hall for the House will just be closed with no forewarning or explanation. The food is awful, we seriously had poached cod in mushroom sauce for several dinners a few weeks ago. I have lost 17 pounds in the last 6 months not because I took up exercise but because Harvard has forced me onto a crash diet.

I am now 2 years through Harvard and have 2 semesters of 5 classes down. But I still have no advisor, no department, and no place to get lunch. Recently, applied for a transfer to Catholic U of America, and was accepted with significant scholarships (though, even with the scholarships it would still be about $11,000 more expensive than Harvard). Catholic U has a great theology program, wonderful facilities (i.e. fewer rats but more food), and a great location in Washington DC. My parents tell me that it would be stupid to take on about $20,000 dollars in debt and give up the Harvard name. But I want to go to graduate school and I don't think I can do that with no help and no recommenders. What do I do? Is transferring worth it?

Replies to: To transfer or not to transfer?

  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 4,670 Senior Member
    You're miserable. Why stay at a place that doesn't have your major, won't give you an advisor, and has you living with vermin.

    Catholic is a great school. But they're not the only game in town.

    You're a smart kid. Decide what will make you happy, then find a way to get it.
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