Harvard Class of 2025 — Regular Decision

My kid had a good experience at Harvard. Very caring deans, and staff in the houses. No real contact with Final Clubs. Dining halls in the houses are the place to hang out and there is a new student center. All the houses are being renovated, and many are finished, though I personally liked the historic houses as they were. The Yard is pretty and there are indeed flowers in the courtyards of the houses.

No matter where you go, you find your people.

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Agree, my student at Harvard is having the time of her life. I’m sorry to hear about Fauve’s daughter’s experience, but I have a hunch she had some bad luck in who she connected with. I’ve had a chance to get to know my kids friends, and I am in love with them all. Kind, fun, funny….literally wonderful people. I know of one who struggles with mental health, but she came in with those issues. They are studious, it’s true, but also very social. Mine is involved in the clubs, and ha ha ha the comment on the hereditary landed gentry is amusing but pretty far off-base. There’s a really diverse group of kids in the clubs, not at all the way the “rumors” depict them. Probably the most similar thing about the kids who join is that they all enjoy social events, so I’d say there’s a personality type that they have in common, but not common backgrounds. I agree, there aren’t quite enough spaces in the clubs for all who want to participant, and that stinks. But does not seem to lead to hardship for those who don’t end up in them, there’s plenty to do as mentioned, and there are also plenty of kids who aren’t interested in them anyway. I agree the food is disappointing, could be way better, but luckily that doesn’t seem to be something my child focuses on; she loves the sociability of the dining hall and that all students live on campus and on meal plan all 4 years, so that remains a social hub. There are plenty of flowers and a few gorgeous garden areas (one near Radcliffe Quad reminds me of that famous one at Princeton, actually), but agree more could be done specifically in Harvard Yard. But the campus is so beautiful, and being situated on the Charles River is amazing, and all that is offered in Harvard Square (and Boston). I think you’ll find a lot of very happy kids there.

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The persistence of exclusive social clubs that don’t have “quite enough spaces in the clubs for all who want to participate” is a shameful thing that Harvard has tried and failed to eliminate. But yes, there is plenty of social life outside of these exclusive clubs.

Hey, I’m not going to argue that it’s good/right there aren’t enough spaces…it is very, very far from how I would design it if I was given a blank slate. I think conversely Harvard could do more to actually help there be enough spaces for all interested kids rather than work fruitlessly to eliminate fun things, but not holding breath for that. Actually, there are a lot of activities/ECs that are too difficult to join for my taste. But in the end, it seems to me that because there are so many varied activities/ECs, kids will find things they love, and most kids you will meet there seem very happy. I haven’t heard that they have more kids trying to access mental health services than other colleges,and have a hard time picturing that. My public school kid has not had issues with that being valued differently than NE boarding schools, and no problem forming deep friendships. I don’t mean to jump in and sound so defensive about Fauve’s post; it’s completely legitimate for Fauve to have responded to the question of P v H sharing personal experience from within one family. But I also would hate young readers to be excessively worried based on that one personal experience, since I think kids can have a fantastic time there. I guess the best advice is for kids to talk to as many people as possible to help get a feel.