Social Atmosphere

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Discus: Ivy League Schools: Harvard University: 2004 Archive: Social Atmosphere
By Inopa (Inopa) on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 01:12 pm: Edit

I've visited some higher end tech schools, harvey mudd and cal tech; i was wondering, are the ivies notably harvard filled mostly with the type of super-academic-oriented people u find at these tech schools? Or is the atmosphere typically similar to a normal HS, with the groups of slackers, partiers, nerds, hot chicks, etc?

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 02:01 am: Edit

social atmosphere at harvard...yeah right. The only top schools with normal social atmospheres are dartmouth and Penn. Both of these schools have excellent social scenes as well as a diverse social atmosphere. One of the main criticism of harvard is the lack of a normal social atmosphere. The school is filled with depressed students who only continue to go there in order to graduate with a Harvard degree.

By 08pride (08pride) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 02:14 am: Edit

"The only top schools with normal social atmospheres are dartmouth and Penn."

and stanford

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 02:22 am: Edit

true i forgot!

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 11:43 am: Edit

uh - seeing as though you dont go to H, how about you refrain from posting crap u dont know?

By Asterix (Asterix) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 12:01 pm: Edit

Yeah what a bunch of bs, I know Yale has a great social scene. But how can you know which schools have a good social atmosphere. Did you go to all of them?

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 12:20 pm: Edit


I know H has a great scene as well - but you wont believe me till u actually go there...

By 1214 (1214) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 06:44 pm: Edit

You all are going on the assumption that everyone and every school is cookie cutter. Just how academic philosophies or notoriety in sports aren't set in stone, why assume that social atmospheres are going to be the same? You make the social environment that you want. Obviously, when you apply to certain schools like CalTech or Stanford or Harvard or Chicago you are going to be met with incredibly brilliant students, students who study for the greater part of their time in college, trust fund babies, first kids to go to college, black kids and chinese kids, latinos ... etc. You're bound to find your niche and to whittle down diverse institutions like Harvard or rather concentrate on a small percentage "of depressed" kids who can't handle their black coffee is kind of ridiculous. At Brown, where I am about to start this fall, I found some amazing kids when I visited that seemed interested in what they were pursuing, and more importantly were relaxed! That was the balance I wanted in my college experience because that balance was nowhere to be found in my high school. When I visited Harvard a few years back, I remember the incredibly articulate student who was a guide mentioning that the social scene was pretty much what you made of it: sports, cultural, dance, etc. I'm sure dating is only as hard as you make it to be. The most important thing is to stay chill, don't get too wrapped up in work (cuz in the end that's not going to determine your future; I know a lot of starving valedictorians) and remain as cool as possible.

By Ubercollegeman (Ubercollegeman) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 09:00 pm: Edit

I believe somewhere in between the two extremes. Not even close to everyone is going to conform to one stereotype, but you have to admit that certain colleges do have certain atmospheres.

For example, I live within ten minutes of Caltech, and let me tell you, the social scene is not too great, especially for guys. With a <30% female population (of whom 90% are ugly, leaving 70% of the population fighting for another 3%), you won't be having too many girlfriends at Caltech.

However, any school with an incoming class of over 1,000 is bound to be diverse, and there is no way that you won't make a tight-knit group of friends.

By 1214 (1214) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 10:44 pm: Edit

lol. good point, uber.

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 10:57 pm: Edit

still there are like 2 hot chiks at harvard...and in comparison to actual hot chiks these girls are like 5s.

By Dmitrypetrovna (Dmitrypetrovna) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit

Bern700 you clearly have not spent much time at Harvard. Go to and check out what the harvard girls look like.

By Mitwannabe (Mitwannabe) on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 12:26 am: Edit

yeah, im not going to harvard, but all that about how harvard students are depressed and only go there b/c of the name is a cheap assumption and a false conclusion to draw. although it's true for some people, it definitely isn't the norm. and btw, there are some fine girls at harvard ...... can't wait to start school in cambridge ;)

By Joe124 (Joe124) on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 06:03 pm: Edit

Keep telling yourselves that. Yale has a much better balance of work/play for the undergraduate years. I, along with several others I know, was accepted to Harvard, and chose Yale over it for precisely that reason. Don't get me wrong-Harvard has some fantastic grad schools-i mean, really pretty good-but it is simply not THE place for undergrad that everyone makes it out to be.

By Caramelkisses06 (Caramelkisses06) on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 09:20 pm: Edit

But wait ... if you don't go to Harvard, then how ... ???? Yeah, let's just all ignore your totally invalid opinion and move on.
For future reference, can only people who ACTUALLY GO TO HARVARD respond to questions on what it's like to ummm ACTUALLY GO THERE?
K, thanks.

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 09:37 pm: Edit

4 out of 5 admits choose to goto H over everywhere else....

If the social atmosphere was actually the way some trolls like to portray it, they would have gone to yale, stanford, princeton etc...

Harvard is, after all, a college - sex drugs and alcohol - and genuine good times, rest within

By Mitwannabe (Mitwannabe) on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 11:31 pm: Edit

people often bad mouth a college b/c of insecurities they have with their choice of school or b/c they couldnt get into that particular school. but like i said somewhere else, who cares? if you have such a problem with the school, then show some sympathy for those poor souls that have to spend 4 years at harvard .. god forbid of all places harvard. what's it to you? just mind your own business and deal with your school and education.

By Jab93 (Jab93) on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 12:14 am: Edit

I graduated Harvard in 1993...
And I had an amazing time...
exciting city, facinating classmates,
phenomenal research opportunities, interesting classes... I made great friends, had an active social life... and was challenged mentally, physically, emotionally...

But then again... this can be true at
any number of hundreds of great universities...

Moving on...
Does anyone have anything substantive to ask, or are we going to continue to discuss idiotic stereotypes, hearsay, and innuendo...

By Joe124 (Joe124) on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 09:19 am: Edit

Your logic is astoundingly profound-
1. Wait, Joe, UMMMMMM, u don't go THERE
2. Ergo, You cannot possibly UNDERSTAND
I can see now why u are going to Harvard-u r a GREAT mind. I wish I could be around such like-minded scholars. WOW.
-You all might be right, but I recall a certain Newsweek article about a mother's son and his experience there and subsequent extreme depression-he was previously HAPPY!

By Entropicgirl (Entropicgirl) on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 12:06 pm: Edit

Joe124--that doesn't prove that Harvard did it to him, though. The kid might have become just as depressed had he gone to Yale--it's impossible to know.

By Caramelkisses06 (Caramelkisses06) on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit

You don't need profound logic - only common sense - to know that someone can't tell you anything significant about an experience they NEVER HAD. Since you go to Yale, I'm sure you know all about the social atmosphere there because that's YOUR social scene! But you really aren't qualified to discuss a social scene you've never been a part of. Not to mention the fact that I'm pretty sure the person who asked about the HARVARD social scene in the first place probably wanted an answer from, oh, I dunno, a HARVARD student, not some Yale kid who claims to "understand" the social scene at a school he doesn't go to, based on ... what exactly? If the person who started this topic wanted information from someone who DOESN'T ATTEND THE SCHOOL, they could've made it up themselves.

By Joe124 (Joe124) on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 08:04 pm: Edit

You are just wrong on so many counts that I won't dignify your response with a real answer. However, I will say that, no, I have never heard a similar tale about Yale and I have heard numerous tales about Harvard. Yale gets rave reviews in every category, and Harvard undergrads are happy to leave with a Harvard diploma, but, no, I think you are right. You are just so right. They are anxious, depressed, and miserable there and can't tell anyone that because their prompt response will be, "Be quiet, you go to Harvard, ingrate!"

By Caramelkisses06 (Caramelkisses06) on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 09:03 pm: Edit

"I have never heard a similar tale about Yale"
- I'm positive there are enough things you haven't heard to make two brand new worlds, so ... no.
But since we're telling tales we've heard numerous times, I often hear that Yale is full of nothing but arrogant, complaining Harvard rejects. Whether it's true or not, I don't go around claiming to "know" anything solely based on hearsay. I've "heard" that Dick Cheney is a robot? So what? Until you experience something for yourself you don't get the right to praise or condemn it, because you DON'T KNOW. I don't know any more about Yale than you know about Harvard. Reading or listening to the stories of a few (or even more than a few) unhappy people doesn't give you the right to comment on something you know nothing about. I'm sure anyone who goes to Yale would question me immediately if I decided to go on over to the Yale board and tell everyone there something about a place I've never been to and an experience I've never had. Why do you feel the need to come down on a school you've never even attended? I'm not gonna come out and call you insecure about your own school ... but at this point it seems like a possibility worth investigating.

Oh, and -
"They are anxious, depressed, and miserable there"
By the way, who is this mysterious "they" that told you all of these stories? Because I have my own "they" that told me that they're neither depressed nor miserable and are actually enjoying their experience at Harvard. And my evidence tells about as much as yours .... NOTHING. Everyone's experience is different, and me (or you) talking to a few people doesn't give an overall picture of what life at Harvard (or anywhere else) is like.

By Chatterjoy87 (Chatterjoy87) on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 09:44 pm: Edit

On a slightly similar note:

On the Garden State website, Zach Braff was talking about going to Harvard to meet with Natalie Portman to bond or something before filming and made a laughing comment about partying at Harvard. It seems like a really great movie!

I'm sure there are anti-social and social people there, just like anywhere else. Even though I would love to be accepted to Harvard but probably never will be, I cannot really comment on the social atmosphere with certainty, but social atmosphere is really hard to judge because it depends on who you ask or hang out with.

By Joe124 (Joe124) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 10:43 am: Edit

As a student of psychology, among other things, I have drawn subjects from a representative sample. It is simply not possible, at least within time contraints on my time or interest, for me to interview every H graduate. However, your reference to the ambiguous pronoun THEYYYYY includes current students and former students. I kind of got the same impression from both - they thought the school was alright for undergrad and would never tell anyone they would rather have gone to state u or some other school they got accepted to, because, like I said, they can't complain about Harvard without being slammed by whoever they are talking to about it. Yale is no longer by any stretch a stomping ground for Harvard rejects-I, along with many others whom I have spoken to-chose it over Harvard. Yale was simply harder to get into this year-backed by the numbers (do some reading online)-and their yield is probably higher. People love Yale because people there are down to earth and just plain friendly. You feel less there like you are on the campus of a snooty Ivy than on a campus of a genuinely enthusiastic student body and just wonderful school. And, contrary to what Harvard students will say about their peers, Yale students are down-to-earth WHILE being amazingly bright. For some, this is the important balance to strike. But for others, it may be of no consequence.

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 10:56 am: Edit

Wow Joe - Your lies are really, really annoying

I am so sorry you still feel so inept - Yales a good school man!

By Dmitrypetrovna (Dmitrypetrovna) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 11:34 am: Edit

Ok first Harvard's yield this year was 82%, Yale 69%.

Secondly, let's talk about Yale stereotypes because thats pretty much what you are basing your statements about Harvard on. Yale is full of rich, blue blooded preppies who do not associate with anyone outside of their caste. The secret societies take away from the intellectual atmosphere of the University, focusing insteas on who's who. Yalies are ridiculously annoying because they never miss the chance to attack Harvard and Princeton. They feel so insecure with Yale's "status" as 3rd behind Harvard and Princeton, they have to prove everyone else wrong. Many students are so radically left or right, that they ostracize anyone who does not adhere to their values and ideologies.

Why, Joe, do you feel so compeled to point out the flaws of Harvard with such little knowledge about the school? I actually liked Yale when I was looking at colleges; then I met Yalies and discovered CC where they absolutely are belligerant. I do not need some ultra warm, lets-have-a-group-hug, pseudo-accepting community for the next 4 years.

By Pentheselia (Pentheselia) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 11:55 am: Edit

Dmitry - that was actually an interesting post, because you made one of the few points against Yale that I'm concerned about. "Many students are so radically left or right, that they ostracize anyone who does not adhere to their values and ideologies."

But the rest aren't valid. Yale's response to comments about Harvard and Princeton is -"Harvard sucks, and Princeton doesn't matter." While obviously that's an exaggeration, Yale clearly doesn't have a "3rd" status behind Princeton. Princeton actually had to go deep into their waitlist this year, so Yale did much better stat-wise.

"Yale is full of rich, blue blooded preppies who do not associate with anyone outside of their caste." Only an ignorant person would really believe that one. That's Princeton (it's true - I've visited multiple times and know students there.) Yale is one of the most liberal Ivys, not even close to that stereotype. I know of someone who transferred from Princeton to Yale because they weren't comfortable after they came out at Princeton, and Yale was much more accepting.

"The secret societies take away from the intellectual atmosphere of the University, focusing instead on who's who." This is silly. When I went to Princeton they compared the secret societies to the eating clubs, another common misconception. The secret societies meet a few times a week for a few hours. They consist of small groups of people; I believe 15 each year are in Skull and Bones. They keep to themselves during the meetings, and if you aren't involved in the group they have NO EFFECT on you. Members still eat and participate in activities with everyone else. Princeton's eating clubs are a major part of social life. People eat in their club and most social activities are based on what club you belong to.

"I do not need some ultra warm, lets-have-a-group-hug, pseudo-accepting community for the next 4 years." Yale is a nurturing environment, and it's a personal choice if you want that in college. For me, I want a caring community for undergrad, and I don't need to be as concerned about that for grad school. You obviously don't feel that way. Yale isn't "lets-have-a-group-hug" but instead more like "we're in this together, let's help each other when we can."

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 12:01 pm: Edit

dear god, this thread has gone to ••••

none of you know what you are talking about

By Pentheselia (Pentheselia) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 12:07 pm: Edit

Ha I think I do, as all I did was talk about schools I know well. :-P

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 12:19 pm: Edit

true: But stick with talking about yale - not how it relates to Princeton (I know princeton peeps would definitely dispute about every point you made)

By Pentheselia (Pentheselia) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 12:24 pm: Edit

I know Princeton pretty well, I spent a week there visiting, talked to different students, and half of what I said came from a Princeton student.

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 12:32 pm: Edit

perhaps - but trolls could argue the same for their schools (as they have been) to promote their lies

while i agree with your statements - Joe's (and his aliases) are absolute ••••••••, altho they claim to be based on first hand experience and what harvard kids have told them

By Dmitrypetrovna (Dmitrypetrovna) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 03:02 pm: Edit


I meant that mostly as an exageration.

"Secondly, let's talk about Yale stereotypes because thats pretty much what you are basing your statements about Harvard on."

The point was, I obviously am not all that familiar with Yale, and nearly every stereotype can be refuted. Likewise, this applies to people who say: Harvard students are depressed, Harvard is no fun, Harvard sucks for undergrad.

By Joe124 (Joe124) on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 06:55 pm: Edit

I obviously should speak to you instead. I am not a troll and I have no other aliases-I don't go to that much trouble. Also, nice work on taking sides in a debate-a real gentleman and scholar can see validity in both sides of a case. Also, I don't need your consolation-I made my decision and am very pleased with it-I am simply trying to save some poor soul who is later faced with a similar decision. These students I have spoken to are not mythical, but whatever you would like to think. Luck of the Irish to ya...

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 05:19 am: Edit

Harvard is a great school academically - no one can dispute this. It's ridiculous to try to compare the top schools (i.e. HYPS) b/c everything is subjective.

However, Harvard students need to admit to themselves that they are not actually having a "normal" college experience. Yes they are surrounded by the most intelligent students in the world - however, you can't compare the social atmosphere of Harvard with that of a normal college. It will never have that type of social atmosphere. Yes there might be some parties but they will not compare in the least bit to a party at a normal party. Sorry.

I don't know have many people have seen this before but it is a joke test to see which Ivy fits you best.

Here is how the results describe Harvard:

"Harvard You're the best -- you know it, as does everyone else (except for US News and World Report every few years). You might not be hip, you might not be pretty, but you're smart as a whip and you never need to do another impressive thing in your life."

Here is how the results describe Yale:

"Yale You're second best, and you know it. Still, those riding the crimson wave may be slightly smarter, slightly more prestigious, but you know you're hipper. I mean, you're not hip -- your a nerd, for ••••'s sake -- but you're hipper."

Those are pretty accurate. See neither Harvard nor Yale are hip. Sorry to disappoint y'all.

By Newyorker06 (Newyorker06) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 09:16 am: Edit

Bern700, I won't try to argue that Harvard has a "normal" social scene. If you consider big, frat-dominated state schools as normal than that's obviously not the case. But in the context of other top schools (Princeton, Yale and certainly CalTech as the OP mentioneD) Harvard's social scene is not all that lacking.

As for Yale being hipper, I've always thought of it as being a bit preppier and conservative, which certainly do not equate to hipness.

By Pentheselia (Pentheselia) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 09:48 am: Edit

Yale's not even close to being more preppy and conservative.

By Newyorker06 (Newyorker06) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 10:11 am: Edit

Care to elaborate? Because it does have a higher percentage of students coming from prep schools. And fewer students on financial aid. And a higher percentage of white students.

By Pentheselia (Pentheselia) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 10:26 am: Edit

You have to visit the school, because the stats are misleading. I almost wish Yale was more preppy. It's super liberal, and most students there want to major in english/theater type studies. So you get lots of artsy types. Don't forget we're talking in big generalizations, but I almost wish Yale WAS more preppy. What will I do with all my Coach stuff? :-(

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

well as long as we're all throwing our own ••••••••

Yale is definitely MORE preppy and LESS of a meritocracy by far...

Look at the legacy influence for god's sake...

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 12:18 pm: Edit

lets just let this threadd die, as it has been ruined by lies and people with raging insecurities...

By Goldoro99 (Goldoro99) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 04:06 pm: Edit

but i cant get the link to the quizzila to

By Goldoro99 (Goldoro99) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 04:09 pm: Edit

oh now its working but it wont post my results...bahh...

By Goldoro99 (Goldoro99) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 04:13 pm: Edit

oh and while were on the topic, why i like yale better than harvard:

1) you dont have to type in "www." to get to the website
2) we have WAY more posts on
3) reverse alphabetical dominance, baby!

By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit


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