Comparing Middlebury vs. Harvard: A Comprehensive Look 

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of college students studying in a room with a table.

Comparing Middlebury vs. Harvard: A Comprehensive Look

Choosing the right university can be a daunting decision. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which institution will best meet your academic and personal needs. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive comparison of Middlebury vs. Harvard, two highly respected schools in the United States in various important aspects.

History and Founding of Middlebury and Harvard

Middlebury College was founded in 1800 in Middlebury, Vermont, and was one of the earliest institutions of higher education to be established in the state. Harvard University, on the other hand, was founded in 1636, making it the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and named after John Harvard, who bequeathed his library and half of his estate to the university. Both schools have a long and rich history of academic excellence and have produced numerous notable alumni over the years, including politicians, artists, scientists, and business leaders.

Harvard University historic building in Cambridge at Massachusetts USA

Despite their differences in founding dates, both Middlebury and Harvard have played significant roles in shaping the landscape of higher education in the United States. Middlebury was one of the first colleges to admit women and African Americans and has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Harvard, on the other hand, has produced numerous Nobel laureates and has a reputation for being one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Both institutions continue to attract top students and faculty from around the globe and remain leaders in the field of higher education.

Location and Campus Layout between Middlebury vs. Harvard

Middlebury College is located in a picturesque New England town surrounded by mountains, lakes, and forests. The campus is spread out across several acres and features a mix of modern and historic buildings. Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is also home to other prestigious universities and research institutions. The campus is situated along the Charles River and features a mix of historic and modern buildings, including some designed by renowned architects such as Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius.

One notable feature of Middlebury College’s campus is the Bread Loaf Mountain campus, which is located about 15 miles away from the main campus. This campus is home to the Bread Loaf School of English, which offers summer graduate programs in literature and writing. The campus is situated in the Green Mountains and features stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Student Body Demographics and Diversity

Middlebury College has a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,500 students, and the student body is diverse, with students from all 50 states and over 70 countries. The college is known for its strong commitment to sustainability and environmental issues. Harvard University has a much larger student body, with over 6,500 undergraduates and over 14,000 graduate students. The student body is also diverse, with international students making up over 20% of the undergraduate population. The university is renowned for its academic and athletic excellence, as well as its commitment to public service and social justice.

At Middlebury College, the student body is not only diverse in terms of geographic origin but also in terms of socioeconomic background. The college has a need-blind admissions policy, which means that students are admitted regardless of their ability to pay. In addition, the college meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, making it possible for students from all backgrounds to attend.

Harvard University also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. The university has a number of programs and initiatives aimed at increasing access and opportunity for underrepresented groups, including the Harvard College Women’s Center and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. In addition, the university has a robust financial aid program, which ensures that all admitted students can afford to attend, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered between Middlebury vs. Harvard

Middlebury College offers over 44 majors and minors across a wide range of disciplines, including the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. The college has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies and encourages students to integrate their coursework across multiple disciplines. Harvard University offers over 50 academic departments and programs, and students can choose from a wide range of majors across the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering fields. The university is particularly well-known for its law, business, and medical schools, which are some of the best in the country.

a male phd student smiling as he writes something on his notebook

In addition to its wide range of majors and minors, Middlebury College also offers several unique academic programs, such as the Middlebury Language Schools, which provide intensive language immersion programs in 11 different languages. The college also has a strong environmental studies program, with opportunities for students to conduct research and participate in sustainability initiatives on campus and in the surrounding community.

Admissions Criteria and Selectivity Rates

Admissions into both Middlebury and Harvard are highly competitive, with acceptance rates typically below 10%. Middlebury has a holistic admissions process and considers a range of factors in its decision-making, including academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and essays. Harvard also has a holistic admissions process and considers a range of factors, including transcripts, test scores, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation.

It is important to note that while both Middlebury and Harvard have low acceptance rates, they also have different approaches to admissions. Middlebury places a strong emphasis on demonstrated interest, meaning that applicants who have visited campus, attended information sessions, or interviewed with admissions officers may have an advantage in the admissions process. On the other hand, Harvard does not consider demonstrated interest in its admissions decisions. Instead, the university places a greater emphasis on academic achievement and intellectual potential. Regardless of the approach, both Middlebury and Harvard seek to admit students who will thrive academically and contribute positively to their respective communities.

Campus Culture and Student Life Activities between Middlebury vs. Harvard

The campus culture and student life activities at both Middlebury and Harvard are diverse and vibrant. Middlebury is known for its strong sense of community and its commitment to sustainability and environmental issues. The college has over 150 student organizations, including cultural clubs, athletic teams, and community service programs. Harvard is known for its highly intellectual and competitive environment, as well as its numerous extracurricular activities and social clubs. The university has over 400 student organizations, including political clubs, sports teams, academic groups, and cultural organizations.

Additionally, both Middlebury and Harvard offer a variety of events and programs throughout the year to enhance student life. Middlebury hosts an annual Winter Carnival, where students participate in winter sports and activities, and a Spring Student Symposium, where students showcase their research and creative projects. Harvard hosts a number of speaker series, including the prestigious Harvard Lecture Series, which brings in renowned scholars and public figures to speak on a variety of topics. The university also hosts a number of cultural events, such as the annual Cultural Rhythms Festival, which celebrates the diversity of the student body through music, dance, and food.

Faculty and Class Sizes at Middlebury and Harvard

The faculty at both Middlebury and Harvard are highly regarded and respected in their respective fields. Middlebury has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, which means that students have ample opportunities to work closely with their professors and receive personalized attention. Harvard has a slightly larger student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1 but still maintains a high level of interaction between students and professors. Both offer small, discussion-based classes as well as larger lecture classes.

In addition to small discussion-based classes and larger lecture classes, both Middlebury and Harvard offer a variety of experiential learning opportunities. Middlebury has a strong focus on environmental sustainability and offers courses that incorporate fieldwork and research in the surrounding Vermont landscape. Harvard has a robust internship program that allows students to gain real-world experience in their chosen field of study.

Furthermore, both institutions have a diverse student body and offer resources and support for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Middlebury has a Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, which hosts events and provides resources for students of color. Harvard has a First Generation Program, which offers mentorship and support for students who are the first in their families to attend college.

Research Opportunities and Funding at Middlebury vs. Harvard

Both Middlebury and Harvard are highly research-oriented institutions and offer numerous opportunities for students to engage in research projects and collaborate with faculty members. Middlebury has a dedicated undergraduate research office that provides funding, mentorship, and resources for students engaging in research projects. Harvard has an extensive research infrastructure, with funding opportunities available across all fields and disciplines.

Additionally, both have partnerships with various research institutions and organizations, providing students with even more opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research. Middlebury has partnerships with organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, while Harvard has partnerships with institutions like the Broad Institute and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. These partnerships offer students the chance to work on research projects with leading experts in their fields and gain valuable experience in their chosen areas of study.

Career Services and Post-Graduation Employment Rates between Middlebury vs. Harvard

Middlebury and Harvard both have strong career services offices that provide a range of resources for students and alumni, including career counseling, job fairs, and internship programs. Middlebury has an impressive post-graduation employment rate, with over 95% of graduates finding employment within six months of graduation. Harvard graduates also have strong job prospects, with over 90% of graduates finding employment within six months of graduation.

Law internship students talking on a table.

In addition to career services, both Middlebury and Harvard offer extensive alumni networks that can be valuable resources for graduates seeking employment opportunities. Middlebury’s alumni network spans across the globe, with over 30,000 alumni in more than 90 countries. Harvard’s alumni network is similarly impressive, with over 371,000 alumni worldwide. These networks can provide graduates with valuable connections and insights into various industries, helping them to secure employment and advance their careers.

Campus Resources and Facilities Available to Students

Both Middlebury and Harvard offer a wide range of campus resources and facilities to support student learning and well-being. Middlebury has a state-of-the-art library, a student center, a fitness center, and numerous arts and performance spaces. Harvard has an extensive library system, multiple museums and galleries, a fitness center, and numerous dining and retail options.

In addition to these resources, Middlebury also has a robust career services center that offers career counseling, job and internship search assistance, and networking opportunities with alumni. Harvard has a similar career services center that provides students with access to job and internship postings, career fairs, and employer information sessions.

Both Middlebury and Harvard also have comprehensive health and wellness centers that offer medical and mental health services to students. These centers provide a range of services, including routine check-ups, vaccinations, counseling, and crisis intervention.

Athletics Programs and Campus Sports Culture

Athletics programs and campus sports culture are highly valued at both Middlebury and Harvard. Middlebury has a highly successful Division III athletics program, with 31 varsity sports teams and numerous club sports teams. Sports culture at Middlebury is a significant part of campus life, with strong attendance and support at athletic events. Harvard also has a strong athletics program, with 42 varsity sports teams and a highly competitive Division I program. Harvard’s sports culture is also significant, with high attendance and school spirit at athletic events.

Both Middlebury and Harvard offer a wide range of athletic opportunities for students, including intramural sports and fitness classes. These programs not only promote physical health but also provide opportunities for students to socialize and build community. Additionally, both schools prioritize the academic success of their student-athletes, providing resources such as tutoring and study halls to ensure that they are able to balance their athletic and academic commitments.

Study Abroad Opportunities for Middlebury vs. Harvard Students

Both Middlebury and Harvard offer a wide range of study-abroad opportunities for students. Middlebury has an extensive study abroad program, with over 40 sites around the world to choose from. The college’s focus on language and cultural immersion makes it an excellent option for students interested in studying abroad. Harvard also has numerous study abroad programs, with opportunities to study in over 50 countries around the world. The university’s extensive network of international partner institutions makes it an excellent option for students interested in global education.

Group of students smiling at the camera.

Additionally, Middlebury offers a unique program called the Middlebury School of the Environment, which allows students to study environmental issues in locations such as Brazil, China, and New Zealand. This program combines classroom learning with hands-on fieldwork, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of environmental issues around the world.

Harvard also offers a program called the Harvard Summer School, which allows students to study abroad during the summer months. This program offers a variety of courses in locations such as Paris, Tokyo, and Cape Town and is a great option for students who may not be able to study abroad during the academic year.

Alumni Networks and Engagement at Middlebury vs. Harvard

Alumni networks and engagement are highly valued at both Middlebury and Harvard. Middlebury has an active alumni network, with numerous opportunities for graduates to stay connected to the college and participate in alumni events and activities. Harvard also has a strong alumni network, with over 330,000 living alumni around the world. The university offers numerous opportunities for alumni to stay connected, including regional alumni clubs, online resources, and events on campus.

At Middlebury, the alumni network is not only a way for graduates to stay connected to the college but also a way for them to give back. The college has a strong culture of philanthropy, and many alumni choose to donate their time and resources to support the institution. This includes mentoring current students, volunteering at events, and contributing to fundraising campaigns.

Similarly, at Harvard, alumni engagement goes beyond just staying connected. The university has a robust alumni mentorship program, which pairs current students with alumni in their fields of interest. This allows students to gain valuable insights and advice from experienced professionals and helps alumni stay connected to the university community. Additionally, Harvard alumni often serve as guest speakers and panelists at events, sharing their expertise and knowledge with current students and fellow alumni.

Financial Aid Packages Offered by Each Institution

Both Middlebury and Harvard offer generous financial aid packages to qualifying students. Middlebury meets 100% of the demonstrated need for all admitted students, with over 70% of students receiving some form of financial aid. Harvard also meets 100% of the demonstrated need for all admitted students, with over 60% of students receiving some form of financial aid.

In addition to meeting demonstrated needs, Middlebury also offers merit-based scholarships to exceptional students. These scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and extracurricular involvement. Students who receive these scholarships can have their financial aid packages supplemented with additional funds.

Harvard also offers a variety of grants and scholarships to students, including those for research, travel, and summer programs. The university also has a work-study program that allows students to earn money to help cover their expenses while gaining valuable work experience.

Reputation of Middlebury vs. Harvard in Different Fields

Both Middlebury and Harvard have strong reputations in their respective fields. Middlebury is well-known for its strong liberal arts curriculum and commitment to sustainability and environmental issues. The college is also highly regarded in the natural sciences and social sciences. Harvard is known for its rigorous academic programs across a wide range of fields, including law, business, medicine, and public policy.

However, Middlebury also has a strong reputation in the arts, particularly in music and theater. The college has a renowned music department and hosts a variety of concerts and performances throughout the year. Middlebury’s theater program is also highly regarded, with many alumni going on to successful careers in the entertainment industry.

On the other hand, Harvard is known for its groundbreaking research in fields such as engineering, computer science, and biotechnology. The university has produced numerous Nobel laureates and has a strong reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship. Harvard also has a large and active alumni network, with many graduates going on to become leaders in their respective fields.

Campus Safety Measures, Policies, and Crime Statistics between Middlebury vs. Harvard

Both Middlebury and Harvard have comprehensive campus safety measures in place to ensure the well-being of their students, faculty, and staff. Middlebury has a campus-wide Public Safety department, as well as emergency phone systems and safety escort services. Harvard also has a comprehensive campus safety department, which includes police officers, security officers, and emergency management personnel. Both have low crime rates, with very few incidents of violent crime reported in recent years.

Environmental Sustainability Efforts at Both Institutions

Group of students talking to each other.

Both Middlebury and Harvard are committed to environmental sustainability and have implemented numerous initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices. Middlebury has a comprehensive sustainability plan that includes goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water and energy, and promoting sustainability in campus operations and academic programs. Harvard has implemented numerous sustainability initiatives, including sustainable buildings, renewable energy sources, and green transportation options. The university also has a robust sustainability program that includes research, outreach, and education.

Conclusion: Which is Right school for You?

Choosing the right university is an important decision that will impact your academic and personal growth. Middlebury and Harvard are both excellent institutions, but they have different strengths and offerings. Consider your academic interests, career goals, and personal preferences when deciding which university to attend. Ultimately, the decision of which university is right for you will depend on your individual needs and priorities. Regardless of your choice, attending either Middlebury or Harvard will provide you with an exceptional educational experience and numerous opportunities for success.


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