Top 10 Things To Do When Visiting Harvard as a Prospective Student
Hello, again! First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU WHO WERE ACCEPTED INTO THE HARVARD CLASS OF 2015!!!
I still remember all too clearly the moment I received “The Most Wonderful Email in the Entire World,” and it’s a moment that you should never take for granted, even if Harvard isn’t your #1 choice. Take a moment, jump up and down, whoop and holler, and give yourself a giant pat on the back.
But now that you’re in, you might be thinking to yourself, “Golly, what do I do now?” Well, I’ll tell you what you should do: COME VISIT HARVARD!!!!
With that in mind, I give you my promised post…
THE TOP 10 THINGS TO DO WHEN VISITING HARVARD AS A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT
1.) Tour a dorm
If you can’t work it out that you can stay in a student dorm (you should always contact the Admissions Office before you visit so that they can make it possible), definitely ask to tour one. If you have a friend, a friend of a friend, a friend of a parent’s friend who’s kid goes to Harvard, etc. DEFINTELY ask them if you can just take a peak into his/her room. If you can stay in a student’s room, look at another room. In total – check out as many rooms as possible, preferably freshman dorms. How can you expect to imagine yourself going here, if you can’t even imagine where you might sleep?
2.) Go to the Observatory
At the top of the Science Center there is a small observatory open to any Harvard student who has bothered to take a 45-minute instructional class. Find one of these students and ask him/her to take you up. It is honestly one of the coolest things on campus! Even if it’s a cloudy night, there is a balcony with a BEAUTIFUL view of Harvard with the Boston skyline in the background. As a freshman, this was definitely one of my biggest “Harvard moments” – where it finally sunk it that I attend this amazing school.
3.) Widener Library Stacks
Ok, so when I suggest this, people often look at my funny. Most students will tell you that the Widener Library stacks are creepy, only because they are SO VAST, and it’s easy to feel like you might venture forth, lose your way, and die without anyone ever finding you. But as a pre-frosh, my friends and I had the BEST time running around, making the automatic lights switch on and off, and trying to find the oldest book. It amazed all of us that Harvard would entrust its students with such valuable, old books and that it had so many of them! Going into Widener opened my eyes to the incredible opportunities that Harvard offered, and made me realize that as a prospective student, I could take full advantage of them.
4.) Annenberg Dining Hall
As the second-largest collection of secular stained glass in the world, Annenberg Dining Hall provides a very “Great Hall of Hogwarts” feel to freshman dining… not to mention that it is gorgeous. The food might not be the best on campus (though I will admit that by and large I think it is delicious), but the experience cannot be matched.
5.) Adams basement tunnels
Adams House is the closest upperclassman house to the Yard. While the housing lottery is now completely random, it was not always that way, and as a result, Adams has a history of having once been the “artsy house.” This means that the tunnels under the house (yes, there are tunnels under all of the houses), are decorated with really awesome artwork that students have painted over the years! It is really cool and fun to check out!
6.) Eleganza (if you’re here over Visitas Weekend)
I like to tell people that Eleganza convinced me to go to Harvard. As a prefrosh, I was really worried that Harvard students would be ALL work, and no play. I am a social person, and the idea of attending a school where everyone sat behind a textbook all the time repulsed me. Eleganza turned all of my preconceptions upside-down. It is an AWESOME fashion/dance show that will feature just how much fun Harvard students can have. GO!
7.) Go to a few classes
Drag yourself to a class or two on a topic that interests you. Don’t just go off the list the Admissions Office gives you – ask current students what their favorite classes are. Do it, and then don’t base your decision off of it. I know that sounds like silly advice, because you are, after all, going to school to go to class. In my experience, however, when you’re a second-semester senior, and you’ve just been accepted into one of the best colleges in the world, its hard to focus and not feel bored in a college class. If you happen to find the class fascinating, that is awesome. But if you don’t, don’t freak out.
8.) If the weather is nice, sit under a tree in the Yard, pat yourself on the back for getting in, and picture yourself there.
Seriously, just take some time off from running around, being super excited, and meeting new people. Sit down, and ABSORB. Watch current students walking around (I know that sounds creepy), and watch for how people get along. See a group of students laughing at some joke, or another group cramming for some midterm and try to picture yourself as one of them.
9.) Eat a ve-ri-taffle
These are the waffles they serve on Sunday morning brunches at Harvard, and they have the VE- RI- TAS emblem on them. How much more Harvard can you get?
10.) Talk to a student about social life
If you know that there is a group of people that you generally hang out with, look up that group and spend time with them. Whether you are really into religion or politics or science or cultural groups or Greek life or you want to check out what the big deal about Final Clubs is, find out what is going on on campus (there are ALWAYS things going on) and check it out. Your social life at Harvard (even if you’re not the type of person who likes to “go out”) will be an important part of your time at Harvard. You owe it to yourself to take a look.