A Harvard Education Isn’t as Advertised
This is a warning to parents and prospective college students: be careful what you wish for.
For nearly the past three years, I have been a student at Harvard, a university whose formula for undergraduate prestige has created an international reputation far beyond that of even its closest competitors. But as any undergraduate who actually attends the school knows, the Harvard education is overrated. Harvard’s traditional emblem of Veritas, in practice, is a one-dimensional search for truth that weds students more to cold facts than to their teachers or classmates.
Yet all high school seniors in America feel the allure of the nation’s most-sought-after degree, and believe it is the top prize because of the unmistakable notion that Harvard leads to superior advantages throughout life. That unmatched endowment, generous financial aid, world-class faculty—and who can forget that consistent top ranking?—guarantee it.
For three centuries, Harvard has led a masterful public relations campaign to claim the mantle of what is best in American education, even if that means less community, less intimate interaction with professors and classmates, less “we” and more “me.” In reality, more often than not, faculty here are inaccessible, students are unengaged interpersonally, and two way education is an anathema. After a recent class, I remarked to the tenured professor that I had completed more in-depth research papers in high school, where I had possessed unrivaled access to my teachers and unlimited guidance during the research process, than I had in my time in Cambridge. “That’s the problem with this place,” the professor grinned, not in the least surprised. “There is not enough contact between professors and students.”