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Harvard University

How this student rated the school
Survey is Blank
Describes the student body as:
Arrogant, Broken Spirit, Snooty, Closeminded

Describes the faculty as:
Arrogant, Condescending, Unhelpful, Self Absorbed

Lowest Rating
Educational Quality
Highest Rating
He cares more about Campus Maintenance than the average student.
Date: Aug 19 2004
Major: Economics (This Major's Salary over time)
Harvard is such an astonishingly awful place to get an undergraduate education, it's difficult to know where exactly to begin. To summarize major, systematic problems with the school which its administration seems willing to tolerate in perpetuity:

(1) Faculty members are not attentive to undergraduates at all and are blatantly aloof, which has particularly negative consequences as students are looking for research directions for senior theses and guidance in choosing fields of post-graduate study.

(2) Within concentrations, advisors are often inept and inattentive. Students get little help choosing classes, and their interests are not discussed or examined. Harvard is not at all the place to explore a variety of academic interests, as concentration (major) requirements quickly lock one in to a chosen field of study for which previous passions may have fizzled.

(3) Virtually every aspect of student life on campus is bogged down with frivolous bureaucracy - such as arbitrary housing lotteries and room-change deadlines - which is indicative of a larger lack of concern for the welfare of undergraduates.

(4) Grading is based on personal rapport with teaching fellows, as actual distinctions based on merit of work are usually arbitrary. Teaching fellows are generally incompetent, particularly when it comes to grading.

(5) The social life is severely deficient. Many dormitories feature horizontal hallway arrangements, which stifle interaction. There are few common rooms, none on hallways in certain upperclassman houses; additionally, many of the freshman dormitory buildings have no common rooms.

This is a brief and incomplete list of indictments, which I feel do not begin to describe the misery of an undergraduate education at Harvard. With no meaningful institutional support for study abroad, post-graduate jobs or further schooling, or even mental well-being (see articles below), undergraduates are left to wallow in a hell of self-doubt, faithlessness, and insecurity. Administrators like to suggest this is all a hell of students' own making. Regardless, as a testament to the limits of individual liberation, Harvard is what British philosopher Edmund Burke described as a world of unavailing sorrow.

Prospective students must investigate the Harard experience carefully, and I encourage them to look at some of these articles from the school newspaper (, click on the archives in the upper left corner and search by date or article title).

Joseph K. Green,

Strength Through Discourse,
Op-ed in The Harvard Crimson on Friday, December 6, 2002. Green characterizes the general malaise, or at least students' perceptions of it. While he incisively argues why student perceptions may be overblown, I think he misses the point that if there is a common culture created where such perceptions fester, something is deeply, dreafully wrong.

Katharine A. Kaplan,

College Faces Mental Health Crisis,
News article in The Harvard Crimson on Monday, January 12, 2004. This is the first in a five-article expose of high incidence of depression among Harvard students. See all of the articles, appearing subsequently on January 14, 16, 21, and 23. After the series appeared, demonstrating customary Harvardian concern University Provost (and former director of the National Mental Health Institute) pouted to Newsweek that the articles, which contained data from broad random surveys of the student population and general percentages, were merely anecdotal.

Luke Smith,

How Undergraduates Get Shafted,
Editorial comment in The Harvard Crimson on Monday, April 26, 2004. This is a blunt and fair characterization of an institution that fails to live up to the prestigious image it strokes for itself. The senior survey results from 1999, which Smith cites, are astonishing and were reported by The Crimson in December 2001.

J. Hale Russell, "A Hard Sell," Editorial column in The Harvard Crimson on Monday, May 17, 2004. In its recent curricular review, Harvard apparently sacrificed focus on educating undergraduates so that it could sell its general education classes over the internet.

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