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What makes Harvard special?

grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 707 Member
My kid has applied and people have commented, "Why in the world did you apply there?!". Are we missing something? Why wouldn't you choose Harvard? What do you love about Harvard?
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Replies to: What makes Harvard special?

  • skieuropeskieurope 37866 replies6552 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 44,418 Super Moderator
    edited February 2018
    edited February 2018
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14636 replies974 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 15,610 Senior Member
    Why are you concerned about what others think about your son's choices. Unless your kid has a 1000 SAT and a 2.5 GPA they are probably jealous of him.
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  • grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 707 Member
    @skieurope Thanks. Missed that one. Do you go there? Are you glad that you do?
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  • grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 707 Member
    @TomSrOfBoston Not sure why the blowback. Just looking for some honest feedback on what makes Harvard special.
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  • arsenalozilarsenalozil 118 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 125 Junior Member
    My daughter was accepted in December and will wait until her RD schools' decision and Visitas before she makes a decision. However, she is definitely leaning towards Harvard as she learns more about the school. I think the primary reasons are the breadth of academic choices and unparalleled resources offered by Harvard. Daughter is undecided in terms of a concentration and wants to explore. She might end up concentrating in astrophysics, Russian language and literature, applied math, or something else. She just doesn't know yet. But Harvard seems to have extremely strong departments in all of the above and across the board. Moreover, the academic, financial, extra-curricular and career resources available at Harvard appear to be unparalleled.
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  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,774 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    @grandscheme: My daughter chose Harvard because they offered her better financial aid than any other college. In fact, the FA was so good, Harvard cost less then our flagship state school -- so the decision was a no-brainer.
    edited February 2018
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  • grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 707 Member
    @gibby That's pretty compelling!
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  • compmomcompmom 10599 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,675 Senior Member
    Harvard is a wonderful school and very supportive to its students. The financial aid is wonderful too. I have no idea why people would ask why someone would apply there.
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4320 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,331 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    I think the following make it special:
    - Outstanding academics in myriad areas/majors
    - Boston/Cambridge
    - The somewhat understated Georgian architecture -- it doesn't follow the neo-Gothic look of so many other schools.
    - The long tradition of grooming leaders
    - The largest endowment overall and the 2nd- or 3rd-largest per student (Princeton is richer per student and Yale is neck-and-neck with H). This means they can afford to spend a lot of money on buildings, salaries, and students (among other things).

    While it is true that among the tippy-top schools, Harvard has among the highest percentages of grad students, it's still a great place for many undergrads.
    edited February 2018
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  • grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 707 Member
    @compmom @prezbucky Thank you both for weighing in. DD has applied to and been admitted to some pretty outstanding schools. Waiting to hear from a few remaining Ivies and Harvard is one of them. College admissions is so unpredictable that she applied to a dozen schools. In hindsight, overkill, but couldn't have known how it would go. Family and friends have gone to Harvard and just wanted to be able to help her know more about it should she be lucky enough to have the option.
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4320 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,331 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    If she has already been accepted to some schools she likes and you can afford, then there's nothing to worry about. A Harvard acceptance would be gravy on an already tasty plate of meat loaf and mashed potatoes. :-)

    Out of curiosity, and so that we can compare/contrast them with Harvard (if you want us to...), where has she been admitted?
    edited February 2018
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  • grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 707 Member
    @prezbucky I'll PM you.
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  • compmomcompmom 10599 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,675 Senior Member
    Hopefully she can visit schools to help her decide. Most of them have accepted students days but sometimes we preferred to visit on "normal" days. Going to a class or two, hanging out in the dining hall or in the yard/on the green, and soaking in the vibe can be really helpful.

    One of my kids took a month to decide on Harvard. It wasn't an automatic decision at all. She got some incredulous comments, but too bad :)

    The financial aid certainly was a factor but in the end it truly was the best school for her. Tell your daughter to take her time with the decision if she can!
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  • grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 707 Member
    @compmom Trying to prepare for the school visits whirlwind. She attends boarding school in a remote area so getting her off campus is a challenge. She was not willing to miss any school days to explore colleges so if we didn't get there over the summer, we didn't get there and will have to between March and April. Yikes!
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  • compmomcompmom 10599 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,675 Senior Member
    Spring vacation trip to New England? :)
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