Today I toured Harvard University, and let me tell you, it is something special.
It was everything I expected it to be and more. When I first walked onto campus, I will have to admit it was possibly the closest thing I had to that “it” feeling some people get when they tour a college. This could be completely based upon the fact that I was realizing the amount of prestige the college has, and how I could be calling this my home for the next four years. The only downside right away, TOURISTS. Now you may be saying, “But wait, aren’t you technically a tourist?”. Yes and No. Yes I am there, TOURING, but some of these people where there just to say they have walked on the grounds of Harvard. Now this is a question I should have asked my tour guide, but would there always be this many tourists on campus? Even during the school year? I sure hope not.
With that aside, my mother and I made our walk to the information sessions. Surprisingly, we were actually early for once. Bad news though, they had already started the video that was supposed to “pump you up”. I don’t think I missed much, but I sure would have like to see what I missed. But if you want to see what video I am talking about, it is on YouTube under the title “Anything Could Happen at Harvard”.
I will have to say, it kind of got me pumped up. Not in the sports kind of way, where you wanna go out there and just annihilate someone, but rather than being excited to make a difference in this world. One girl talks about how her family is so proud that she made it into Harvard, and she thinks that it has changed everyone in her families life drastically. I want that same thing for me. I’m not saying my family isn’t proud of me, but it would be really cool to just know that wherever they go, everyone from your parents to you’re extended family will be bragging about how I am going to Harvard.
Another thing that I hadn’t really thought of until we went on the tour was their truly amazing alumni at Harvard. The thought of possibly staying in the same dorm, or even same room, as billionaires Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg just blows my mind. It would really keep me focused on changing the world, because how could you not be motivated to do so when you are sitting in the exact spot that the world’s richest man or youngest billionaire also once sat?
Another thing that was also really attractive was their financial aid packages. If you read my last article, Why do Ivy Schools have the largest endowment?, I talked about the surprisingly cheap cost of Princeton. Well this seemed to be similar to Harvard, largely due to having the STRONGEST alumni network in the WORLD. From my impression of walking around, the reason for this strong network is that the make the students feel like a FAMILY. Right away they have all the freshman dorms right together, smack dab in the middle of campus. Also they have a freshman only dining hall that would definitely form some relationships. After you’re freshman year you are allowed to pick a group of seven other friends to be guaranteed into the same house as you. Then on “Housing Day”, apparently the craziest day on campus, students from the upper class dorms find the group of friends randomly selected into their house and basically throw a huge party in their little dorm. You are then in the same house for the next three years on campus. I really like that part of the experience, the sense of comradery with your fellow students.
Also I forgot to mention that you can eat AS MUCH as you want AS OFTEN as you want. That’s a pretty good feeling to know you will never get hungry, or stay hungry for very long.
My plan is to choose between Stanford and Harvard as my early action school, which in my mind will be a pretty tough decision. This Harvard tour was my last tour, and since the Common App came online a few days ago, I guess I should probably start working on that….
My plan is to apply to NINE different schools:
Stanford (Early Action?)
Harvard (Early Action?)
University of Chicago
Minnesota – Twin Cities (“Fallback Plan”)
Wisconsin – Madison (“Fallback Plan”)
So obviously I have some high ambitions, but I am confident that I have done 99% of the things I could have possibly done to create the strongest case for acceptance into all of those colleges. Eventually in the coming future, I will let you know how things go!
Please comment if you are an alumni of any of these schools, I would really like to talk to you! Also comment any of your thoughts on the colleges or my point of view on things!
PS: I have just purchased the book The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. It is largely regarded as the best investing book of all-time, so I will let you all know what I think about it eventually!