Havard University At Glance

Overview

Harvard University is a private institution that was founded in 1636. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,710, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 5,076 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Harvard University’s ranking in the 2018 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 2. Its tuition and fees are $48,949 (2017-18).

Located outside Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard is made up of 13 schools and institutes, including the top-ranked Business School and Medical School and the highly ranked Graduate Education School, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law School and John F. Kennedy School of Government. Harvard’s extensive library system houses the oldest collection in the U.S. and the largest private collection in the world. Beyond books, Harvard’s athletic teams compete in the Ivy League, with an annual football matchup against rival Yale. On-campus residential housing is an integral part of student life, where freshmen live at the center of campus and upperclassmen live in 12 undergraduate houses. Eight U.S. presidents graduated from Harvard, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Other notable alumni include Henry David Thoreau and Helen Keller. Harvard also has the largest endowment of any school in the world.

How was Harvard University founded? 

Harvard University was founded in 1636 colonial America by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The school was initially created to educate members of the clergy, according to the university’s archives. Harvard is named after a Puritan minister – John Harvard – who, in 1638, left his 400-book library and half of his estate to the young school. The first commencement ceremony at Harvard, held in 1642, had nine graduates.

How does Harvard compare to other Ivy League schools? 

Of the eight Ivy League schools – including Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University – Harvard is one of the most selective. It is also one of the largest, enrolling more than 20,500 students at the start of the 2017 academic year. By comparison, Dartmouth enrolled about 6,500 students during the same period. For a more robust comparison of the Ivy League schools, explore this article.

Who owns Harvard?

Since it is a private, nonprofit institution, Harvard University doesn’t have an owner like a for-profit company does. In terms of its governance structure, Harvard has two boards – the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers – that govern the university and determine its future policies and plans.

How do I apply to Harvard?

To apply to Harvard College, the university’s undergraduate program, freshman applicants can submit The Common Application, the Universal College Application or the Coalition Application. For more information about other required application materials, such as standardized test scores, visit the Applying section of the Harvard University profile page. Early action applications are due Nov. 1, while regular decision applications need to be submitted by Jan. 1.

How hard is it to get into Harvard?

Harvard’s acceptance rate for the fall 2016 freshman class was just 5 percent, according to U.S. News data, which means it’s quite difficult to get into the school. Harvard is one of the most selective institutions out of all the colleges and universities surveyed for the Best Colleges rankings. Prospective students can apply early action to Harvard, though the university’s website states that submitting an early application does not gain students an advantage in the admissions process.

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