Feedback on Haverford, others

Any status update from OP recently? DS is a HS jr and is interested in Hford, but we’re nervous about the political climate of the college. Been a longtime lurker on these threads, but never had the energy to create an account and ask the hard Q’s. Now it’s time!

This thread caught my eye since he’s interested in a STEM and humanities DM, too. His fear is that he’ll want to transfer out after 1 yr. @walesandbromley please give us an update on where you ended up.

Any Hford threads you’d recommend? Trying to get a range of perspectives here. Thx! @vpa2019 @aquapt @Bill_Marsh @twoinanddone @aunt_bea @HMom16 @milgymfam @OldbatesieDoc @JonGalt @collegemom3717 @MYOS1634 @blossom @EyeVeee @EconPop @thibault

If anyone else can weigh in on the similarities/differences between Reed and Hford it’d be much appreciated. Reed’s one of his top choices since we’re so familiar with it, but the “politics” at the school are a huge turn off.

Haverford and Reed are not similar in terms of vibe. Haverford IS attractive to bright, intellectually curious kids but it is much more of a conventional college experience. A number of kids I have known who went there were athletes. Students seem friendly and happy and open-minded. Many take advantage of things to do in Philadelphia.

This was a popular choice from DS’ high school with kids looking at NESCAC type schools. If you are looking for the East Coast equivalent of Reed, you probably want Bard.

Haverford is not equivalent to Reed. Haverford would be a mix between, perhaps, Whitman and Pitzer?
There would be a lot more prep school kids and athletes at Haverford than at Reed, but there’s a distinct philosophy (honor code, importance of debate, etc.) that make it different from, say, Hamilton or Colby. The focus on social justice is multi-faceted and ancient, linked to the Quaker faith and mission.


Are you concerned with it being a very liberal school or with things like the past strike? I’m not sure that a very conservative student would be comfortable at Haverford. If your student is liberal but doesn’t want to be involved in politics they would be fine. D22 is a freshman at Haverford and really likes it. He is planning on majoring in math. He is quite nerdy and has really enjoyed Nerd House.


Haverford isn’t a hotbed of social justice warriors and political activism. I’d say schools similar in that regard to Haverford are Bates, Colby, Bowdoin, Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, U Richmond, Muhlenberg, Lafayette, Marist, UVM, U Del, UMD, Fordham, many others.


With respect to this association, the incoming president at Bates graduated from Haverford.


DD spent 4 years at Haverford. In general, not a fan. She got what she needed academically but it wasnt a nurturing environment, despite all the warm and fuzzy talk.

Strike was divisive, she was threatened with being cancelled for arguing with the administrations second year sports ban, as it was “white privilege” to want to play sports. Made her suicidal it was so bad.

Had a terrible and marginally abusive advisor who didn’t help her with grad school or apply for an NSF grant. Told her it would be a waste of her time. She got more help from a Harvard professor who she reached out to herself. Never even offered to proofread it or look at it, got a positive from 1 reviewer and a negative from the other, a neutral from the third. We wonder what a little guidance would have done.

She also had health issues attributable to the college and its physical plant, and to give only a few details, the administration was absolutely hostile and dismissive, said they “didn’t like our attitude”.

President never answers parent emails. Never.


I PM’d the link you requested.

A friend’s child attended Reed about 10 years ago and liked it and supportive of liberal viewpoints and activism. However, they were frustrated with the large number of protests, sit ins, etc., when they became disruptive to class and campus life.

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I did an overnight there and thought it WAS a hotbed of political activism (not necessarily a bad thing). I am currently attending one of the “similar” schools you list. and I personally think it’s less that way.

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Oh wow! I never thought my post I posted two years ago would receive so many comments, get closed down and even have a new thread created separately in response.

I just randomly decided to hop on here since I checked my spam inbox a couple of weeks ago only to see so many notifications from the original thread and now this new one! It’s spring break right now, so I hope to answer some of the questions in this thread and my original one.

@PNWmama, I’m glad my original post was of some use and you gained knowledge/insight about the woke dumpster fire that is Haverford College. There are so many people online who have never attended Haverford that will tell you my time there is not an accurate portrayal of the school—they are wrong. Haverford itself has proudly memorialized the strike and is even archiving materials from the strike to further please the woke activists that dominate the student body.

Honestly, it’s crazy to me that I’m two years out from HC. I suppose that’s what hindsight can do to you, but I’m so grateful that I made the decision in Spring 2021 to transfer out of that place. Similar to what @OldbatesieDoc wrote above, the school (students, faculty and, most importantly, the administration) was hostile and dismissive to certain students; those who did not “submit” to put it one way. I was severely depressed to the point of being suicidal. While it would be unfair to solely blame HC for my mental health struggles, I would be doing a grave disservice to all prospective applicants/Fords if I did not call out the school for its gross neglect and abuse of students like me.

Haverford College does not care about its students. The school submits to intolerance, wokeism and “political” activism that honestly is less political than it is emotional and manipulative. Politics implies civil governance, an organization that encourages respectful debate; at Haverford, civility does not exist.

It is alarming to me that colleges and universities across America, as well as the world, are succumbing to this ideology and culture of intolerance, division and hatred. I am originally from the UK, and it is sad to see that it has made its way across the pond.

My hope is that parents wake up to this reality. As much as people like to say that these colleges aren’t “hotbeds of social justice warriors and political activism,” listen to past students—students who have experienced life at these colleges and are telling you that they do breed intolerance, division and hatred. When identity functions by proxy for someone’s entire self worth, for someone’s GPA and for someone’s right to belong at a college that swore to be welcoming of all backgrounds, especially as a historically Quaker institution, there is something seriously wrong happening.

Transferring colleges was the best decision I could have made for myself as a student and a person. In my original post, I wrote about wanting to transfer to a UC; I ended up leaving HC, attending community college for a year and then applying to many UCs and also some in-state and out-of-state private schools as a prospective junior transfer ('24). My choices narrowed down to these five schools: Notre Dame, Pomona College, UCSB, Rice and Cal Poly SLO. All five of these institutions were amazing choices (it came down to Pomona and UCSB), but I ended up choosing Pomona College! Honestly, everyday I am so proud of myself that I had the opportunity and courage to do so. I received a significant scholarship from a Southern California CC organization and another named award. I also wanted to stay close to home for financial reasons.

Yes, Pomona is a liberal arts college, but it is nothing like Haverford. People are inclusive here, like actually inclusive, not just in a performative sense like at Haverford. Here at Pomona, I am able to do work in different political spheres (Claremont Institute and then also the Democrats of the Claremont Colleges), something I never would have even allowed to explore at Haverford. The academic rigor at both the community college I attended and Pomona is higher than Haverford lol. I am double majoring in CS and philosophy. I chose these majors in part because of my time at HC; the lack of ethics and morals at that school made me realize that I want to help ensure ethics and morals exist everywhere. If ethics do not exist, well, we know what happens since Haverford is a perfect example.

I hope this response helps you decide whether Haverford College is the right place for your son. It makes my blood boil how the school says that it claims to love everyone with all of the Quakerism and inner light beliefs, but it’s a lie: Haverford will not care about your child if they do not “submit.”


I’m so sorry your child experienced this. Please let her know she is not alone. Haverford owes her an apology.

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I would encourage you to research the “politics” of every college your son may apply to. I wish I had done so more more diligently when I was a senior in high school.

Dropping in to share another perspective @PNWmama. If your son would like to speak with a PNW student who graduated from Haverford, dm me and I will put your son in touch with mine. I would say my son had a very positive Haverford experience. He had tremendous research opportunities and formed a close relationship with his advisor/mentor. He graduated prior to the strike.


My son also graduated in 21 and went through the strike. Although he was irritated re the strike, he had an AMAZING experience at Haverford. He was in the CS program and on the fencing team. He has a close knit group of friends who he still hangs out with. His group was very diverse and inclusive. If you need another perspective, DM me and I can put you in touch with him.