@asldfsadjhajsd, let me preface this by saying everyone has their own priorities when picking a school and my priorities may not be yours.
ALSO TO ANYONE CHOOSING BETWEEN H and Y READING THIS IN THE FUTURE (I know I read a lot of College Confidential forums in April haha) PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO MESSAGE ME, I’D LOVE TO HELP OUT WITH THE DECISION
I’ve come to think Harvard is objectively the better school, but Yale is subjectively the better school. If this choice was for grad school, it would be Harvard in a heart beat. Here are some points that I considered
- The location. Harvard’s location is probably the best out of any university in the country - Cambridge is a great sort of high hill town overlooking Boston that is hard to ignore. Boston is a huge sports city with some of my favorite teams, so this was a factor. boston’s also one of the biggest college towns (MIT, BU, Northeastern, Boston College) and there’s so much to do. if Yale and Harvard switched locations the choice wouldn’t have been close at all
1b. Harvard kids, in general, don’t seem to take advantage of Boston as much as they think they will when they are actually on campus. Yale still has New York City (I actually stayed in NYC a couple of nights before leaving for home this semester and can’t wait for more weekend trips in the future)
- The prestige. It’s important mentioning that the value everyone puts on this is different. Personally, yes, it mattered, but not to the point where it swayed me. Harvard’s prestige is objectively the best in the world and it’s known as the premier university, the symbol of higher education. This still screwed with me because the prestige was so alluring.
2b. On the flip side, I can still go there for grad school, Yale is a feeder for the top grad schools.
- The quality of the people
Harvard is where you have the highest percentage out of any American university of the world champions, the billionaires’ children, the secret superpower kids when it comes to qualifications and connections. Once you get in it becomes more and more obvious that when you decide to enroll you are about to be surrounded by the absolute most qualified students out there, the future world changers.
3b. Yale people are still stacked, there are many prominent people in my class who I know
- The community. This was probably 70% of my decision, and now that I’m actually here and having spent a few weeks here i can’t imagine my life being better at Harvard. My suitemates are people i see as close friends for life and the level of closeness everyone has here is amazing, as since we’re in residential colleges we see the same 80 freshmen everyday and i can easily converse with most of them. Point is, you can’t get these close relationships as easily as a Harvard freshman, during these COVID times. The way Yale handled covid from a social standpoint has been amazing, they don’t care about alcohol and they kept us in our res colleges for 14 days, helping us get closer with the people we’ll be seeing for 4 years. We’re pretty much a big family at this point and it’s not something you can find at Harvard, where the freshmen are all without their assigned houses (Harvard’s version of residential colleges) and spread out across campus, I mostly hear of people hanging around the same people since the campus life is very spread out in general there. Another thing, Harvard’s COVID policy for its students was much stricter - people sent home for partying, you can’t be in other people’s rooms.
Not only that but the admissions office at Yale really made an effort to connect with its students. They created a class of 2024 Instagram and TikTok to highlight why Yale and every admit got personalized letters from their area admissions officer. Harvard didn’t lift a finger and sent me a generic email saying congrats.
1b. You could argue the community is equally as good as Harvard and that I could’ve had a better experience at Harvard I just don’t know it
- The undergrad focus. Harvard is obviously the choice for grad school but Yale College is what i think to be the most well-rounded, best experience you can get as an undergraduate. Yale is definitely the highest happiest ratio out of the top 5 schools and it shows.
2b. Harvard still has a fantastic undergrad focus and the resources are out there for anyone willing to go for them
- The residential colleges. To be fair this kinda goes with community but it’s awesome that we get butteries, gyms, and cafeterias steps away from our dorms. makes everything so convenient and not only that the community in these is amazing as everyone lives around each other and gets tight quick.
3b. Harvard has their own versions of res colleges but they don’t seem to pull this off as well, the community isn’t as close and not all of them have butteries. Yale assigns people into residential colleges freshmen year, so they already have a community in their first year - Harvard does this sophomore year
- The food. The dining hall food is pretty good and when I compare it with my Harvard friends we’re definitely winning. If I didn’t eat out on the weekends I couldn’t see myself getting bored of it.
I’ve done a ton of research on the HYPSM schools because I wanted to research H vs Y as extensively as possible, and I think in general this is the advice I’d give
Harvard - go here if you want the prestige and feeling of going to the best university
Stanford - go here if you’re into tech or into interdisciplinary studies, and/or want west coast
Princeton - go here if you want to learn the material best and the strongest undergraduate focus academically, and an intellectual environment
MIT - same thing as Stanford but east coast and in Boston/near Harvard
Yale - go here if you value community
Hope this helps! Ask away if you got any more questions about my thought process.