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How hard is Harvard?

AlexAukAlexAuk Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited April 2013 in College Search & Selection
I am an above average student, but by no means would be accepted into Harvard by academics alone. But I am getting recruited hard to play football there. Since they don't actually have scholarships for football, but can basically push your application through, if they "offer" me
should I consider Harvard or will it be too hard academically for me there? I would be a low band player if anyone comprehends that. :/ Also I plan on being in the FBI, so how important is it to be at such a prestigious school to be accepted into the FBI?
Post edited by AlexAuk on

Replies to: How hard is Harvard?

  • FlyMeToTheMoonFlyMeToTheMoon Registered User Posts: 2,587 Senior Member
    The courses will be quite challenging. The valedictorian from my D's school got her first C there freshman year.
  • cbamengelcbamengel Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    Do not pass up an opportunity to attend Harvard because of concern over course rigor. You will have access to extensive support services and resources to get you through the tougher times, and you'll be glad to have that Harvard diploma when searching for careers.
  • GeekMom63GeekMom63 Registered User Posts: 1,957 Senior Member
    Do not pass up an opportunity to attend Harvard because of concern over course rigor.
    Seconded, vigorously.

    But you don't mention money - can your family pay what Harvard expects them to pay? Harvard offers fantastic need-based aid, but if your family has high income, can they meet what Harvard expects them to pay?
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 5,943 Senior Member
    D's uber academic friends at Harvard find it easier than high school.

    They make their own pressure, but never feel like the work is overwhelming.

    Also, there are a lot of resources to help you along. I'd go with it.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,565 Senior Member
    Courses at Harvard vary considerably in rigor.

    For example, frosh math courses range from Ma-Mb (slow paced frosh calculus, like high school calculus AB) to 55a-55b (an extremely difficult triple honors course).

    Harvard Mathematics Department : Mathematics Courses
  • allcapellaallcapella - Posts: 171 Junior Member
    Harvard actually isn't known as being notoriously academically challenging. It won't be a cakewalk by any means, but its not as demanding and difficult as Uchicago, WUSTL, Cornell and MIT are known to be.

    I would go for it. There will be help available, especially for student athletes.
  • sosomenzasosomenza - Posts: 2,122 Senior Member
    Football will make it much more difficult since the sport will eat up a lot hours per week. Other than that it will depend on your natural ability to read and comprehend. It's one of those things that you won't know for sure until you're knee deep in it. BTW, the FBI will likely place great value on a Harvard education, and there will likely be a well established Harvard network in place to help your career along. I like your plan. GL
  • IvytIvyt Registered User Posts: 3,530 Senior Member
    They wouldn't accept you, even as an athletic admit, if they thought that you couldn't do the work.
  • EarthPigEarthPig . Posts: 94 Junior Member
    87% of those accepted to Harvard graduate within 4 years; 97% graduate within 6 years. Like Barrk said, they won't accept you if you can't do the work. Virtually eerybody who goes to one of the elite schools graduates.

    A word of warning: even if you are being aggressively recruited by Harvard, don't assume that you'll get in. Coaches agressively recruit a lot of kids, and drop most of them. I'd recommend that you contact the coaches at all of the schools in the Ivy League, Patriot League and any other schools that are of interest to you. The coaches are trying to get as manyy kids interested as they can, so they can choose who they want. Your only way to combat this is to get as many schools interested in you as possible.
  • bclintonkbclintonk Registered User Posts: 7,333 Senior Member
    According to GradeInflation.com, the average grade awarded in undergraduate courses at Harvard was 3.45 in 2005. Since the trend has been steadily upward for well over a century (in 1889 it was 2.46), it's probably even a bit higher than 3.45 today. That compares to 3.51 at Yale (2008), 3.55 at Stanford (2005), 3.61 at Brown (2007), 3.42 at Dartmouth (2007), 3.44 at Penn (2004), 3.42 at Columbia (2006), 3.36 at Cornell (2006), 3.28 at Princeton (2008), and 3.35 at Chicago (2006)--the latter 2 schools known for "grade deflation."

    At Michigan it was 3.27 in 2008 and at UC-Berkeley it was 3.27 in 2006. UVA was 3.21 (2006) and UNC-Chapel Hill 3.16 (2006).

    Courses can be rigorous at the Ivies, but they have their notorious "gut" courses as well, and grading tends to be more generous at elite private than at public institutions, with notable exceptions like Princeton and Chicago where the grade distribution looks more like the top publics. The grade-inflated privates justify it by saying all their students are brilliant. Be that as it may, it can't be that difficult for Harvard students to get As and Bs if the average grade is close to 3.5.
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,541 Senior Member
    Ask the people recruiting you -- I believe that the Ivy schools have strong support systems for student-athletes. Ex: many schools give athletes the first crack at classes during registration, tutors etc. I would think you can bring it up with the people who are recruiting you. And I agree, academics is a component of admissions even for athletes so they must believe you can get through the program. Ask what the graduation rate is from the football team (Looks like the graduation rate for football players is 98%). My S's friend was in a similar position as you (good not brilliant student, football player) and graduated from Penn with no issues.
  • sefagosefago Registered User Posts: 1,731 Senior Member
    Courses can be rigorous at the Ivies, but they have their notorious "gut" courses as well, and grading tends to be more generous at elite private than at public institutions, with notable exceptions like Princeton and Chicago where the grade distribution looks more like the top publics.

    Grading is not exactly generous- all the students work hard because their classmates are working hard. This is not the case at top publics which take a significant number of average and unmotivated students
  • coureurcoureur Registered User Posts: 11,386 Senior Member
    Based on the dozen or so Harvard kids I know, I'd say it's unlikely that you would flunk out. Harvard will offer a lot of support, especially to its athletes, to ensure that doesn't happen. But that said, you should be prepared to study very hard for your classes. Most of the academic stuff taught at Harvard isn't challenging in the sense of being incomprehensible, but it will almost certainly be challenging in the sense that it will be a lot of work.
  • jvtDadjvtDad Registered User Posts: 658 Member
    Heard of Jeremy Lin? Go for it, kid. :)
  • MSMDADMSMDAD Registered User Posts: 863 Member
    D1 graduated from Harvard two years ago and is now in graduate school at a non-ivy top ten school, where she has been a TA. Her take on your question is that the classes that she took at Harvard were not by any means easy and that the quality of the students who were there merited the grades that they received.
This discussion has been closed.