Yale vs. Harvard

<p>I'm well aware that this is the Yale forum so the responses will be colored with Yale bias, but I'm asking in both places. So, what do you think are the differences? Perks of each? I know that Cambridge would be quite different than New Haven, and that I might be able to do directed studies at Yale, but what else? Thanks for any insight; this is a really tough decision for me.</p>

<p>Congratulations on some fine acceptances! I hope you have the chance to visit both institutions - it's really the best way to judge.</p>

<p>You mentioned Directed Studies - I'd like to just reemphasize how awesome that program can be. For my 1st semester, I had the Chair of the Comparative Lit department teaching me in a class of 18 and the former Chief of Staff of the State Department teaching me in another. So awesome. And because the DS program spans 3 subjects, DS kids develop a core of shared, cross-disciplinary knowledge that they use in discussion without sounding pretentious or talking over other kids' heads. There are some flaws to the program, to be sure, but it's as amazing an intellectual experience as I could imagine having at college.</p>

<p>Yale also has a tremendous sense of community. It's focused around your residential college, to be sure, but it extends throughout the entire College as well. Also, by having the residential college associations as soon as you step on campus, you form a quick way to bond with upperclassmen (you can do this through clubs too, of course, but it takes a while).</p>

<p>Yale is also just a happy place, and people love this school. It's funny how much a culture impacts an individual attitude, but without meaning to sound too Soviet-esque, it's just not socially acceptable to hate on Yale. People look at you weirdly if you badmouth the place. And that's because it is, objectively and truthfully, a wonderful place to go to school and people love it here. But it's also just part of the school's culture to love Yale and to be happy, and that culture sort of pleasantly sweeps you up into the cult of Old Blue.</p>

<p>Well, I've got to run to a meeting around now, but I could go on for a while about this one. Feel free to PM me if you'd like.</p>


<p>I have to make this decision as well. I think a big part of my decision will be based on Yale Bulldog Days/Harvard Prefrosh Weekend. It is hard though because there are a whole bunch of pros and cons for each school and its so hard to turn down an offer from either school. Why can't I just go to both?</p>

<p>Roy G Biv: I ended up choosing Yale. I too once thought "why can't I go to both?". And then I thought to myself that if I was going to do that, the preferred order would be Yale for undergrad and Harvard for grad school. Harvard is great, and the differences between the two are probably much smaller than we think, but Harvard to me seemed a little unwelcoming. I'm not sure they focus on good undergrad education at the same level Yale does. Yale is smaller, and that fact alone helps. And Yale students are just so much more happy and satisfied!
In my college visits, I learned whatever the college reps were most vigorous to deny must have some element of truth to it, or else no one would be talking about the supposed problem. UChicago students and staff denied that the work load was suffocating and that there was no social scene, the Yalies told us that New Haven was as good or better than Boston or NYC, and Harvard denied that there was an atmosphere of competition rather than cooperation and that undergrads get lost in the system do to a focus on graduate students and research. I don't know to what extent these are all true or false, but I pretty much guarantee that the original critique has at least some merit.</p>

<p>Oh, that's hugely exciting, drummerdude! Glad to hear you'll be with us in the fall. You will love it here. Damn near everyone does.</p>

<p>Best of luck, Roy G Biv, and hope you end up wherever you'll be happiest.</p>


<p>EXCELLENT choice. The right choice. I'm a senior at Yale going to grad school at Harvard next year, proving you can indeed do both. I seriously am not ready to leave this place though - I love it so much. ANYONE you will talk to you will tell you that they've never had a better experience in their life than coming to Yale. This place is absolutely incredible. I would choose Yale again in a heartbeat. To be quite honest, the environment here is incredibly supportive and part of the reason people are so happy. Instead of discouraging life outside of academics as happens at that other school in Cambridge, Yale supports it wholeheartedly. What this means in practice is happy hours run by your residential college, shows and master's teas where you get to see and meet fantastic performers and famous people, unparalleled opportunities to do whatever you want in whatever country or area of study you want, a true collegiality among students and faculty, and an administration that seeks to educate you not just in academics but cultivate you as an academic, intellectual, and interesting person. Can't say enough good things about this place.</p>

<p>Can't say enough good things about Yale either.
It IS an abolutely incredible place. I love it, and miss it after all these years.</p>

<p>My experience has been that students at Yale are much happier than students at any other university. I have visited hundreds of different universities and colleges, and spent a significant amount of time with students at all of them. I've posted the reasons why I think Yale students are happier in some of my other posts here, so I won't get into them again, other than to say they have to do with Yale having the best and most compact, vibrant and lively campus (functionally speaking, which contribute in part to it having a great 24/7 social scene) as well as the best undergraduate academic program (in terms of resources, class sizes etc.). </p>

<p>Congratulations on your decision!</p>

<p>I personally ended up choosing Harvard over Yale. Both are great schools and I can't help but feel that regardless of which I chose, I will always wonder if I should have gone to the other. However, my personal experience was that the students at Harvard made more of an effort to be friendly to me. I know this goes somewhat against what others have said, but its what I found on my visits. Also, I really just do not like New Haven at all. It was a hard decision, but I think I feel the most comfortable with Harvard.</p>