Choosing between Harvard and MIT

<p>(I posted this in the MIT forum, but I figured I should also post it here for a more complete image.)</p>

<p>Is anyone else choosing between Harvard and MIT? Does anyone have advice/opinions/input that might help me make my decision? Tenatively, I am an (math-based) economics major, but I'm not sure if I will stay econ.</p>

<p>My daughter made this choice last year. She stayed overnight at both schools and loved them both. But she chose Harvard after looking at the course catalogs for each school. She is a science major and thought she could get a good science education at either school, but she was impressed with the richness of the Harvard course offering beyond science. She is currently very happy at Harvard.</p>

<p>Good luck with your decision.</p>

<p>My S also made a choice between Harvard and MIT. He's a prospective math major. He decided not to apply MIT EA (and eventually did not apply), although good friends there urged him to, after he went to the admission information session. The Dean of Admission emphasized the engineering aspect of the school, mentioning the motto, mens et manes. My S does not consider himself a techie and was concerned he would find himself in a minority. One of the two students who talked about their experiences--very eloquently-- rhapsodized about a couple of government courses he'd taken at Harvard, prompting my S to remark that he (my S) might as well go to Harvard.
Both Harvard and MIT are very strong in math and econ. It's a matter of the atmospherics. My S's friends at MIT who are both techies enjoy the ease of joining study groups since so many people in their dorms take the same courses. Study groups are also very popular at Harvard but take a bit more work to form since students take classes in so many different fields. He knows another math major who was admitted to both Harvard and MIT, went to the admit weekend at Harvard and decided to attend MIT (to which he had applied EA). He said he had not liked the students he met at Harvard but did not elaborate.</p>

<p>If you're not sure that you will stay in econ, what other fields do you think might spark your interest? I think that Harvard is ideal for the undecided student because of its strength across lots of different areas, but if you're undecided between, say, economics and physics, then this wouldn't be such an issue.</p>

<p>More fundamentally, are you looking for a liberal arts experience? Would you view it as a plus or a minus to be required to take classes in literature, philosophy, foreign cultures, etc.?</p>

<p>I am looking for a liberal arts education. It seems that Harvard would be better for that, however, some people also note that humanities at MIT aren't bad either. Any comments about that? Also, how much attention do the undergraduates actually get at Harvard? I think all MIT courses are taught by profs, but some Harvard courses are taught by TAs (not sure though--correct me if I'm wrong).</p>

<p>I'm not sure but I think that at Harvard, Ec 10 is taught by TAs (Larry Summers once was a TA in that course); also introductory math courses. The rest are taught by profs.</p>

<p>MIT has some stellar humanities profs. The problem is that there are not enough of them to offer breadth and depth in their fields. I once knew an MIT student who'd gone in thinking he'd major in biology, took a course in history to fulfill his HASS requirement in his freshman year, was hooked and ended up spending all his time at Harvard taking history courses and mixing with other history majors. I believe he graduated with an MIT degree, though! The Harvard students who do the reverse are those who want to be engineering majors.</p>



<p>They aren't bad, but they aren't Harvard. While you can take a lot of Harvard classes, MIT requires everyone to take its science core. Depending on your major, you may not end up with a lot of electives to use to take Harvard classes. This is a great alternative if you wanted to focus on science/engineering and just dabble in humanities, but if you want a liberal arts education, I think it makes more sense to just go to Harvard rather than having one foot in each school.</p>

<p>Doesnt Harvard have humanitites requirements for science majors. I would say if you have doubt you want to become a science or math major dont come to MIT but I also wonder why you even bothered to apply.</p>

<p>"why you even bothered to apply."
2bad4u, lol, fair question. I applied because I was at MIT this past summer for math research--I liked both the research and the MIT atmosphere. That said, I also have an interest in classics (for which I think Harvard might be better).</p>

<p>Quick q...does Harvard mail a confirmation after you've sent in your reply card?</p>

<p>yes - you'll get a postcard</p>

<p>the waitlist reply card? i never got one =/</p>

<p>No, I'm talking about the admit reply card. I sent mine in about a week ago, and I haven't gotten a postcard as of yet. Should I try emailing them, or should I wait a couple more days..</p>

<p>It took a couple weeks so don't worry. You could try calling the admissions office to confirm it but I'm sure it arrived.</p>

<p>Also, I don't know if wait list get a confirmation.</p>

<p>hey tiro,
mit econ's department is currently ranked #1. come to mit. you'll love it here.</p>

<p>My son is also a math major choosing between H and MIT (and Yale and Stanford.) In math, H is ranKed #! (for undergrad educ), S is #2 and Mit is #4 so you can hardly go wrong. The main difference between the 2 we found is the atmosphere of a tech school vs a liberal arts college. As my son is not an engineering type, he felt that the broader base of students at H would be a better fit. But he found MIT to be very exciting. Anyway, he chose Harvard (unless this weekend changes his mind, but in that case I think he will go for Yale for the same reasons.)</p>