Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Honor Code Question

Just_A_GirlJust_A_Girl Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited April 2009 in Haverford College
Hey all,

I’m an admitted applicant to Haverford for the Class of 2013! :) Haverford is one of my top choices, but I have a question about the honor code (I did check through several posts, but I didn't find quite what I was looking for).

When I toured Haverford, I was very enthusiastic about the college and the honor code. It’s wonderful to have an open and trusting environment where people feel comfortable talking freely with everyone. It’s the type of college I can see myself thriving in. I think trust and honesty are extremely important and I would certainly work with, learn about, and abide by the honor code.

My only issue with the code is that I feel like that’s all I hear about. I understand that it is important and I respect that, but I’ve received several letters from Haverford just discussing the honor code at several points in the college process. Other schools have sent me letters welcoming me or talking about the great academics, etc. I certainly don't have a problem with learning about the honor code, I'd just like to hear more about the other things that make Haverford great.

I understand that the honor code is an integral part of Haverford and I respect and admire that, but I’m starting to feel like the code is being shoved in my face. I hate saying that because I think it's a really positive thing, but even positive things can be over-emphasized. It’s just starting to sound like students go around all day talking about the honor code—like that’s all they discuss. I think the code is important, but apart from when the Honor Council is meeting or something else is being discussed that is relevant to the code, I don’t see the need for long discussions about it. I feel like it should be the backdrop of the college, rather than the centerpiece, especially since Haverford has so many other wonderful things going for it. I think the code is important to recognize, but I don’t think it needs to be discussed all the time and the impression that I’m getting is that it is. My personal opinion is that you can create an environment of trust and communication without discussing that environment every day. I'm hoping that is the case at Haverford, but I'm not so sure.

I was just hoping that some students and alumni could give me their impression of the honor code. I would like to know if you ever feel like the code is overemphasized or if it is an extremely frequent topic of conversation. I think I'm misinterpreting the information I've been receiving, but that's honestly the impression I've been getting. I hope you understand that I am not bashing the honor code—not in the least—I am merely trying to get a handle on the environment at Haverford. I understand that the honor code is not for everyone, but I feel like it could be for me. The issue I discussed above is the only issue I have with Haverford. If I'm incorrect about my impression, then Haverford might very well be where I go next year, so I would be grateful for any information you can give me. :)
Post edited by Just_A_Girl on

Replies to: Honor Code Question

  • jmussajmussa Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    I am also an accepted student to the Class of 2013, and I have an idea as to why we've been getting these publications so frequently.

    Until this past week, when the information for the Accepted Students Weekend was sent out, all of the information we had been given came from the Admissions Office. I think the Honor Code is one of the top advertising hooks for Haverford to use because it is a unique part of the Haverford community and an important part of the decision to apply/attend. When we start to get packets from The Dean of Students et al., I imagine a cornucopia of information about student life to be headed our way. It is unfortunate that the Admissions Office seems to send so much Honor Code information our way... especially if you are an RD student who is trying to decide between Haverford and ________ school(s) that is giving you the information you need to make your decision.

    There is a survey that Haverford sends out to admitted students to express their opinion on the Admissions Office's ability to convey the true essence of Haverford and the extent to which they succeeded in persuading you to consider the school among your options. I think your point is valid and should be passed along to them to help prospective students in the future.
  • taberstabers Registered User Posts: 37 Junior Member
    I also have an honor code question and I don't mean for it to sound cynical. When I visited Haverford twice, the honor code was featured heavily in the admission presentation, interview, discussions with current students, etc., but I noticed all over campus bikes were locked up. When I visited other schools, Colgate and Hamilton come to mind, an honor code was mentioned but not featured and bikes were left all over campus unlocked. Shouldn't Haverford's honor code give people the confidence to leave their bikes unlocked?
  • pointoforderpointoforder Registered User Posts: 546 Member
    First, congrats! HC is an amazing place. Here's my take on your questions.

    The Honor Code is an important and unique feature of the College. It is also important for prospective students to understand the environment and culture.

    That said, I don't feel that students feel burdened or stifled or smothered by the Code, if that's what you are worried about. Quite the contrary, the Code . In fact, aside from my parents, Haverford has been the most influential institution/thing in shaping the person that I am today (and I think the Honor Code was part of that)... not my high school, not my 2 Ivy grad degrees, etc. And, it is something that I'm very grateful for... I don't think its overemphasized.

    Did you guys watch the videos on the admissions website? Haverford College Office of Admission: Admission Videos I think they capture/explain the College (including the Honor Code) really, really well. The videos also talk about many other things that make Haverford great.

    The answer to the question about the bikes is more about the adjacent neighborhoods and the fact tha the campus is open (being so close to Philly is great, but people other than HC students can easily find themselves on campus). Colgate and Hamilton are far more isolated. In other words, the locks aren't b/c HC students are worried that other HC students will take their bikes.
  • HC AlumHC Alum Registered User Posts: 604 Member
    Is it possible that HC doesn’t send out too much academic paraphernalia beyond the glossy and related admission’s stuff because it’s assumed that if you apply you already know about its academics? What more information about departments do you want to know beyond what is on the web page or in that admissions video?

    Regarding “honor code overload”, if Haverford’s honor code was just a set of dos and don’ts, I’d agree that what HC does is serious overkill. If HC’s honor code was just a bunch of “rules”, then it would be fairly simple to describe in a paragraph or passing statement on a tour. But it’s not… “Can honor be codified?” has been debated at HC for the last 100 year and perhaps much of the verbage you’re getting is due to that… it’s really hard to describe what “honor” is… and figuring this out and trying to rectify with yourself and friends expected disappointments of having perfect standards on an imperfect community is a part of the education you get at HC. You don’t learn and grow from a set of rules.

    There’s a saying that football isn’t played the same in Europe as it is in America.
    As I wrote in another post:

    Finally, I never stated HC’s honor code makes it unique. In fact, I’ve often stated that there are several schools with honor codes. Each school though conceptualizes its honor code differently and, so, are differently implemented. Davidson’s and UVA’s are based upon a sense of southern honor and chivalry; military honor for the military academies; Athenian ideals of a perfect democratic society for Wellesley and Conn College; and Haverford’s is based upon its Quaker history and value of consensus and inner light. Some schools have codes that emphasize academic/social conduct 1st… Haverford’s culture encourages kids to inner reflect and think about respect and trust, which are then manifested by the freedoms and responsibilities described in its honor code. Context gives each honor code its own character.

    You know, there are reasons why very smart and savvy alumni such as Steve Emerson (Yale MD/PhD with millions in NIH grants) or Howard Prossitz as I linked prior speak about their time at HC and its honor code as they do. If it was something simple, I don’t think it would have affected them as they describe… they’re not the type to get duped.

    Finally, if anyone thinks going to a school with an honor code, even at Haverford, will preclude students from stealing, cheating and making mistakes, then you will be disappointed. An honor code doesn’t make a college different and not having an honor code doesn’t mean anything as well in terms of cheating, stealing and making mistakes. For me, what I learned from Haverford’s honor code isn’t to “not cheat, not steal and be nice” but rather how to trust your peers, how to respectfully disagree with people and consider their perspective, and my limits with taking responsibility for my actions and those of community members. When you have community standards that you agree on and which you immerse yourself for 3-4 years, the lessons you learn about yourself when you live up to them and when you do not really help you develop a firm understanding of yourself.
This discussion has been closed.