Harvard was established by the Great and General Bay Court of Massachusetts Bay County in 1636, making it the oldest institute of higher education in the United States. It was named after the institution’s first benefactor, John Harvard, an English clergyman who left half of his estate and his library (400 books!) to the university upon his death in 1638. Harvard’s library system is now home to the oldest collection in the United States and is the largest academic library in the world. In addition to being the oldest university, Harvard is also home to the oldest continuous chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which was formed in 1781.
While Harvard University does not have a formal mission statement, the mission of Harvard College is simple: “to educate the citizens and citizen leaders of our society.” With 47 nobel laureates, 32 heads of state, and 48 pulitzer prize winners, it’s safe to say that Harvard is indeed educating some of the world’s most innovative and well-respected leaders. Moreover, eight Harvard alumni went on to sign the Declaration of Independence and eight have become the President of the United States. Other notable alumni include Henry David Thoreau, Yo-Yo Ma, Hellen Keller, Bill Gates, and Natalie Portman.
Naturally, the Harvard faculty consists of world-class scholars committed to teaching and research. With a student to professor ratio of 7:1, the university is devoted to fostering close relationships between students and professors, as well as using small class sizes to build a close-knit community on campus. On average, Harvard College undergraduate classes enroll under 40 students, with 50% of the courses offered each semester enrolling as few as 10 students (or less!).
Outside of academics, Harvard’s athletic teams compete in the Ivy League, with each football season traditionally ending with “The Game” played between rivals Harvard and Yale. The urban campus is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, so students can also take advantage of the history and culture that Boston has to offer during their time there. On campus, Harvard sponsors more than 50 cultural organizations, and groups representing nearly every religious and political belief. Harvard is also a great place for students interested in visual and performing art, with seven orchestras, over 60 drama and dance productions a year, and an a cappella group that tours the world.
At $37.6 billion, Harvard boasts the largest university endowment in the United States. Though its tuition cost is on the high end of the spectrum, at $60,659 annually for tuition, fees, room and board, more than 65% of students enrolled receive scholarship aid through grants, thanks to Harvard’s “no loan” policy. The average grant for the 2015-2016 school year was $46,000, making the average cost $11,500 annually for a student with scholarship support. In fact, $0 is the amount that parents making less than $65,000 are expected to contribute.
Stephen Black, Head Mentor at Admissionado
“Whenever anyone asks me what was my favorite part of going to Harvard, my answer is always the same: the people. Coming from a public high school in New Jersey, I was grateful that my educational and personal experiences up to that point were marked by diversity, but college took it to a new level. I can remember a moment in the first week when I was chatting with a student from Zimbabwe, and as I learned about her life and interests, I realized that the four years ahead would be full of such cultural and intellectual exchanges. My friends hailed from all over — from Utica, New York to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and everywhere in between — and I learned just as much from them as I did from my professors. They were passionate about their interests, whether it was jazz or social justice issues in Latin America, and their passion was always infectious. To be in an environment like that, especially at a school like Harvard with boundless resources, is truly wonderful.”