Facilities

Location
Cambridge, MA
Undergrads
6,652
Tuition
$42,292
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews

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4 College Freshman

Facilities: The athletic centers are new and great. Harvard has an AMAZING library system -- you can get lost in the stacks. They also have every book and movie you can imagine. If they don't have it, they'll get it for you.

7 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Facilities: Harvard has a huge endowment, and with such, the ability to fund anything and everything you can imagine. A generous donor from the 40s and his wife just donated "a generous amount" (read: a huge amount) to build our new student center. Sadly, it won't open until 2018 (after we've all left), but it'll be an amazing space.

4 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Facilities: Harvard just throws money at things, so all of our facilities are pretty great.

6 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: Academic advising is pretty strong after your first year. The social scene is...interesting: your normal college parties can be found at Final Clubs, at fraternities, or as student organization events. Campus life is really comfortable, and having Cambridge/Boston is a huge plus. School offers the best professors and connections anyone could ask for in America.

3 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: Athletic facilities are just okay, but libraries are expectedly abundant. Each house has its own library, in addition to all the campus libraries (Widener being the largest university library in the country is nothing to complain about). There are plenty of campus events and traditions, and student organizations put together a variety of activities every week. There aren't a lot of green spaces, but having Cambridge and Boston makes up for it.

3 people found this useful Report
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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 32nd
    Best Library
  • 58th
    Best Performance Venues
  • 58th
    Greenest Campuses
  • 131st
    Best Athletic Facilities
  • 1230th
    Best Student Centers

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Dominic Hood
Hometown
New Orleans, La.
Major
Psychology
View all previous student authors

Harvard’s classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and the Harvard library system is among the largest in the world. The Malkin Athletic Center has a lot of cardio equipment and space for exercise classes. Students wisely recognize these resources, and praise the University for spending its enormous endowment on the constant improvement of these existing facilities.

Harvard does lose points due to its lack of a true student center and the absence of any concrete plans to resolve the student center issue. Regardless of these complaints, Harvard receives high marks for providing top-notch facilities to aid undergraduates in pursuit of improving the life of the mind, as well as the body.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
1,019
Campus Size
4,947 acres
Student Centers
None
Campus Library?
Yes
Main Libraries
There are more than 90 collections around campus, including most residential houses. Some are open until 2 a.m., and during exam periods, some are open 24 hours a day.
Popular Places to Chill
  • Bank of the Charles River
  • Coffeehouses around campus
  • The Greenhouse
  • Harvard Yard
  • House courtyards
  • Loker Commons
Bar on Campus
Nearly a dozen sprinkled throughout Harvard Square
Bowling on Campus
None
Coffeehouse on Campus
Nearly two dozen throughout Harvard Square
Movie Theater on Campus
Loews in Harvard Square
"Green" Initiatives
By 2016, Harvard hopes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent. In 2010, the percentage reduction in greenhouse gas emissions was 10 percent.
School Slang
  • ABP: Au Bon Pain, the popular French food stop in Harvard Square, on the Mass. Avenue side of the Holyoke Center
  • Ad Board: A faculty committee charged with interpreting and enforcing the rules of the Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Af-Am: African American Studies
  • B-School: Harvard Business School
  • Concentration: Harvard's word for "major"
  • Coop: The Harvard Cooperative Society, the bookstore located at Harvard Square; pronounced as in "chicken coop"
  • The Core: A set of courses that composes approximately one-quarter of the undergraduate program; students choose seven courses from 11 broad areas of academic inquiry.
  • Crimson: The name of the student daily newspaper, the Harvard Crimson; also the nickname of any Harvard sports team
  • Crimson Cash: A declining debit account system that uses your Harvard ID. You can put cash on it electronically in order to purchase copies, food, and other sundries.
  • CUE Guide: The Harvard University Course Evaluation Guide, published by the Committee on Undergraduate Education. Though it is still printed as a book, it is also available electronically.
  • Div School: Harvard Divinity School
  • Ed School: Also known as HGSE (Harvard Graduate School of Education)
  • FAS: Faculty of Arts and Sciences, composed of Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Continuing Education.
  • GSAS: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • GSE: Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • HASCS: Harvard Arts and Sciences Computer Services
  • HBS: Harvard Business School
  • Head of the Charles: The annual October regatta held on the Charles River
  • HLS: Harvard Law School
  • HMS: Harvard Medical School
  • HOLLIS: Harvard's online library catalog, also a directory to the suite of electronic resources that the libraries make available
  • House: The residences of sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Harvard houses are modeled on the college systems of Oxford and Cambridge universities in England.
  • HUL: Harvard University Library (the entire library system)
  • HUPD: Harvard University Police Department
  • ICG: Instructional Computing Group (technical support)
  • IOP: Institute of Politics
  • K-School: Kennedy School of Government
  • KSG: Kennedy School of Government
  • Let's Go: The series of travel books written and published by Harvard students
  • MAC: Malkin Athletic Center
  • Masters: Faculty members who lead and administer each undergraduate house
  • MBTA: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (e.g., the subway and buses)
  • MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (the other university in Cambridge)
  • OCS: Office of Career Services
  • Pit: The area immediately surrounding the Harvard Square T-stop, one of the square's hubs of street entertainment
  • Proctors: Graduate students or officers of the University who live among freshmen, serve as academic advisers, and direct the events and programs of an entryway
  • QRAC: Quadrangle Recreational Activities Center
  • Quad: An area separated from the main campus by about a 15-minute walk, composed of three undergraduate houses, a library, and an athletic facility
  • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study: An interdisciplinary center offering nondegree instruction and executive education programs. The institute was created when Harvard and Radcliffe formally merged in October 1999.
  • Reading Period: The 10-day period of anxiety in which students prep for finals
  • Resident Tutors: Graduate students or faculty members who live in the houses with students and provide a range of informal advice and counsel
  • Shopping Period: The first five or so days of an academic term at Harvard, before study cards are submitted for formal enrollment in a course, when students can visit classes, sit in on lectures, and review syllabi and readings.
  • Statue of Three Lies: The John Harvard Statue (see Urban Legends)
  • The T: Short for MBTA
  • Tercentenary Theatre: The part of Harvard Yard bounded by Widener Library, University Hall, Sever Hall, and Memorial Chapel. It is the site for commencement.
  • TF: Teaching Fellow (like other colleges' TAs)
  • UHS: University Health Services
  • Veritas: The Harvard motto; Latin for "truth"
  • The Yard: Most universities have a quadrangle, but Harvard has its yard, divided into two parts. The freshman dormitories border the Old Yard; Widener Library and Memorial Church border the New Yard.
Traditions
Three Things Every Undergraduate Must Do: According to tradition, there are three things that every undergraduate must do before they graduate from the University. First, every student should run Primal Scream at least once. Primal Scream occurs at midnight before the first day of each exam period. Students streak through the Old Yard as a last hurrah before hitting the books for exams. Secondly, every student is supposed to hook up in the stacks of Widener Library. However, recent technology changes in the stacks have made this goal a bit harder to achieve—all of the aisles now have motion-detecting lights, so you can't hide in the dark anymore. Finally, every student must urinate on the John Harvard Statue found in the Old Yard.
Urban Legends
  • According to school lore, the John Harvard Statue, located outside of University Hall, is a statue of the founder of the University. In reality, the story of this statue contains three lies.
  • Lie no. 1: John Harvard didn't found Harvard (the Massachusetts Bay Colony government did).
  • Lie no. 2: Harvard started in 1636, not 1638, as the inscription reads.
  • Lie no. 3: The representation isn't even John Harvard. No one knows what he looked like, since there are no surviving portraits of the man. Daniel Chester French, the sculptor, used a 19th century undergraduate for his model.
Favorite Things To Do
Attend guest lectures at the Institute of Politics (located at the Kennedy School of Government), run or bike along the Charles River, or see the hundreds of student performances put on annually. Students have innumerable opportunities because of Harvard’s vast resources and facilities. Activities range from gyms and ballroom dancing to film screenings and scuba diving.
Student Newspaper
The Harvard Crimson
www.thecrimson.com
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
Harvard College provides undergraduates with the opportunity to join more than 150 student groups, encompassing an enormous range of interests.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Marching band
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Opera
  • Pep band
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Television station
  • Yearbook
ROTC
Air Force ROTC: Yes
Navy ROTC: Yes
Army ROTC: Yes

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 28 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 34 responses

  • 26% The student center is in need of a major renovation.
  • 15% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 32% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 26% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 30 responses

  • 7% I hate my school and have no school spirit.
  • 0% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 27% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 67% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.

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