Cuthroat Competition and Proffessors that actually teach?

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Discus: Ivy League Schools: Harvard University: 2004 Archive: Cuthroat Competition and Proffessors that actually teach?
By Aterashva (Aterashva) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

I really want to go to Harvard. Can you imagine being a Harvard student in Boston. But I've also been lucky enough to be accepted at Princeton. So I wanted to know:

1. Are Harvard students really that cutthroat competitive as their reputation holds?
2. Are Harvard proffessors really tht bad, oftentimes leaving teaching jobs to TA's?


By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 11:20 pm: Edit

1. Absolutely NOT
2. Never - Profs teach all courses (except for precalc and i think some intro-languages) - Then you are broken down into discussion sections which are lead by TF's, just like Princeton etc - The professors I have had have been amazing - and my classes have been incredibly small (def check out the freshman seminar program, you, a nobel laureat and 7-8 other frosh - good deal!)

IM me at Rourke02 if you have any questions

By Mzhang23 (Mzhang23) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 12:42 am: Edit

Princeton is actually phasing out the standard one-lecture - two TA sections course structure in favor of discussions led by professors. Right now, Princeton students can get either TA's or professors to lead their dicussions. Princeton wants to make it 100% professors for many of their course offerings.

"The policy was put in place several years ago, when it emerged from "several discussions of how faculty should be spending their time. It coalesced around the idea that faculty should spend about 50 percent of their time with students."


Any more questions, IM me - my sn is in my profile.

By Flashbackfl (Flashbackfl) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 12:15 pm: Edit

I'm in the same situation, Princeton or Harvard. My big concern is the eating clubs. I'm not rich and from what I've heard the social scene can be elitist and snobby. Is that true????

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 12:43 pm: Edit

As a Harvard alum, I never found Harvard students to be cutthroat competitive. In fact, I don't remember a lot of competitiveness going on. I do remember, however, students being fiercely independent. It's not a good match for people who are into huggy feely.

Eating clubs aren't that important. Only a small percentage of the students belong to them. I am sure they enjoy each other, but people who aren't in clubs also have a great time and don't miss or envy the eating club set.

There are plenty of people at Harvard who aren't rich. Most people there aren't rich. Some even are extremely poor.

It's fairly easy to take courses from Harvard professors including some celebrity ones. Some of the courses, though, are very big. Others may be small seminar courses. You also can see professors during office hours. Still, it's not as easy to get close interaction with professors at Harvard as it would be at, for example, a small liberal arts college. That's the nature of going to a national university.

Myself, I never applied to Princeton because it doesn't have what i wanted in a college. I don't like Princeton's isolation (NY may be "just " a train ride away, but it's still not as convenient as Boston is to Harvard), and I didn't like the way Princeton reeks of privilege, and I didn't like its history of racism. It didn't accept its first black student until about 1945.

By Newyorker06 (Newyorker06) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 02:03 pm: Edit

Northstarmom, the eating clubs are actually quite central to the Princeotn social scene, with about 80% of stuents joining one.

Perhaps you were referring to the finals clubs at Harvard, where only 10% or so of undergrads claim membership.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 02:26 pm: Edit

Yes, I was referring to Harvard's finals clubs.

I know the eating clubs are central to Princeton. I think that's the case because of the lack of recreational opportunities for students in the town of Princeton. I have visited Princeton as a corporate recruiter, and students complained that there's nothing to do off campus in the evening. They also told me that because of the lack of things to do, many students entertain themselves by getting drunk.

By Coureur (Coureur) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 02:45 pm: Edit

Northstarmom -

Concerning Princeton's past record on race relations: our Princeton tour guide was from North Carolina and boasted how Princeton was the only one of the Ivies not to kick out the students from Confederate states at the outbreak of the Civil War. He said that meant a lot to him because he's from a southern state.

The thing that puzzled me was the tour guide was also African American. I kept thinking: "Hmm, is this guy PROUD that Princeton was tolerant of the Confederacy? How ironic."

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Computer garble deleted.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 02:49 pm: Edit

Check out the book "Member of the Club" by a black Princeton grad. That book and your tour guide could lead a person to conclude that it takes a very special type of African American to choose to study at Princeton.

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