Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest “institution of higher learning” in America. Perhaps universities age like fine wine, because Harvard has developed a reputation as one of the best universities in the world.With its massive 32 billion dollar endowment, Harvard maintains its lofty reputation by producing and refining some of the world’s elite minds. Part of the endowment also goes to fund the 172 million dollar financial aid budget for undergraduate students. The average student who is granted a need-based scholarship pays only $12,000, about one-fifth of the full cost of $55,000.
With an acceptance rate of 5.9%, Harvard is one of the nation’s most selective schools. In an applicant pool of 34,302, only 2,032 students were fortunate enough to be offered admission. The student body population at Harvard is quite diverse; about 44% of the students accepted this year self identified as belonging to a minority race. Geographically, Harvard accepts students from across the United States and about 10% of the students are international. The school has 6,641 undergraduate students with 1,885 full-time faculty that teach undergraduate courses. This low student to faculty ratio leads to small classes, with 44% of classes having only 2-9 students.
Located right outside of Boston in neighboring Cambridge, Harvard shares a city with another famous college, MIT. Students are offered the option of cross enrolling and taking classes at MIT for no additional cost. This presents a great option for Harvard students with an engineering itch. And for those who are interested in city life in nearby Boston, a brief subway or bus trip is a great option.
Harvard sports teams, referred to as the Crimson, have recently risen in prowess. With the success of alum Jeremy Lin, Harvard’s basketball team has gained new fame with perfect timing, as just last year, Harvard qualified for the NCAA tournament. Harvard also dominated Ivy League play last year in football, going a perfect 7 – 0 to win the Ivy League. Harvard has an intense rivalry with fellow Ivy League school Yale. Every year, the two football teams participate in The Game, which culminates the season for both teams. Currently, Yale leads the historic series 65-55-8.
Harvard presents an excellent option for all prospective students. The only issue is getting accepted. But once in, students find themselves part of a legacy of successful alumni. From John Adams to John F. Kennedy, Harvard students have had a great impact on the history of America.