Harvard vs Boston University: Which School is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a female student typing in her laptop.

Harvard vs Boston University: Which School is Right for You?

Choosing the right college can be daunting, and with so many top-ranked institutions to choose from in Boston, the decision can be even more challenging. However, two names often come up in discussions of prestigious universities: Harvard vs Boston University.

Both institutions offer top-notch education and a wealth of resources for their students, but which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at both Harvard and Boston University and help you make an informed decision.

Location: Comparing the Campuses and Surrounding Areas of Harvard and Boston University

Harvard University is located in Cambridge, just outside of Boston. Its campus is nestled on the banks of the Charles River and is known for its beautiful architecture and picturesque surroundings.

Harvard University historic building in Cambridge at Massachusetts USA

In contrast, Boston University is in the heart of Boston, with its main campus along Commonwealth Avenue. While Boston University’s campus may be more urban, it’s still lovely, offering a mix of historic and modern buildings.

Regarding surrounding areas, both schools have a lot to offer students. Harvard is located near an array of charming shops, restaurants, and cafes in Cambridge and close to some of Boston’s most popular attractions, such as Fenway Park and the Museum of Fine Arts.

In comparison, Boston University offers easy access to all the amenities of downtown Boston, including world-class shopping, dining, and cultural attractions.

Another advantage of Harvard’s location is its proximity to other prestigious universities in the area, such as MIT and Tufts. This allows for easy collaboration and networking opportunities between students and faculty from different institutions.

Additionally, Cambridge is known for its vibrant arts and music scene, with numerous theaters and concert venues in the area.

On the other hand, Boston University’s location in the heart of Boston provides students with unparalleled access to internships and job opportunities in various industries. The city is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, startups, and non-profits, making it an ideal location for students looking to gain real-world experience and build their professional networks.

Academics: Analyzing the Degree Programs, Faculty, and Curriculum at Harvard and Boston University

Regarding academics, both Harvard and Boston University offer a wide range of degree programs and fields of study. Harvard is known for its strong focus on the liberal arts and sciences and its world-renowned graduate schools in law, business, and medicine.

Boston University, on the other hand, has a more pre-professional focus, with strong programs in business, communications, and health sciences.

Both schools boast excellent faculty, with renowned experts in their respective fields. Harvard, in particular, is known for its highly selective admissions process and has one of the most competitive undergraduate programs in the country.

While also competitive, Boston University has a slightly higher acceptance rate, making it a more accessible option for many students.

Both Harvard and Boston University have rigorous and challenging curriculum that prepare students for success in their chosen fields. Harvard’s curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and interdisciplinary learning, while Boston University’s curriculum focuses on practical skills and hands-on experience.

Both schools also offer a variety of opportunities for students to engage in research, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities, allowing them to apply their knowledge in real-world settings.

Exploring the Admission Requirements, Acceptance Rates, and Application Processes at Harvard vs Boston University

As mentioned, Harvard is known for its highly selective admissions process, with an acceptance rate of around 4%. The school receives over 40,000 applications each year, making it one of the most challenging schools to gain admission to in the country.

Students applying to Harvard must submit SAT or ACT scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation.

While still very competitive, Boston University has a slightly higher acceptance rate of around 19%. The school looks for a well-rounded applicant with strong academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and a passion for learning.

Students applying to Boston University must submit SAT or ACT scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation.

a young muslim woman wearing a hijab and typing unto her laptop

It is essential to note the difference between Harvard vs Boston University in terms of acceptance rates and admission requirements, and both schools prioritize diversity and inclusivity in their student bodies.

Harvard has implemented a need-blind admissions policy, meaning that a student’s financial situation is not considered during the admissions process. Similarly, Boston University commits to providing financial aid and scholarships to students from diverse backgrounds.

Both schools also have resources and support systems for first-generation college students and students from underrepresented communities.

Student Life: Comparing Student Organizations, Housing Options, and Campus Culture at Harvard and Boston University

Both Harvard and Boston University offer a wide range of student organizations and activities, ensuring that all students can find something they’re interested in. Harvard is known for its strong athletics program and prestigious social clubs, which are exclusive and highly sought after.

Boston University, on the other hand, offers a variety of student organizations focused on art, community service, and cultural activities.

Both schools offer a range of housing options, including dormitories, apartments, and on-campus houses. Harvard’s housing options are slightly more varied, with a mix of historic and modern buildings. Boston University’s housing is generally more modern and apartment-style.

The comparison between the Harvard vs Boston University campus cultures reveals their distinct differences. Harvard is known for its traditional and prestigious atmosphere, focusing on academic excellence and intellectual pursuits. The campus is steeped in history and tradition, with many buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Boston University, on the other hand, has a more modern and diverse campus culture with a focus on innovation and creativity. The campus is in the heart of Boston, a vibrant and bustling city with a rich cultural scene.

Boston University signage

Athletics: Analyzing the Sports Teams and Facilities at Harvard vs Boston University

Both Harvard and Boston University have strong athletics programs, with various intercollegiate sports teams for students to participate in.

Harvard, in particular, is known for its strong rowing program and rivalry with Yale in multiple sports. Boston University also has a great ice hockey program, with many alumni going on to play professionally.

Both schools offer excellent athletic facilities for their students, including top-notch gyms, fields, and tracks.

Harvard also has a successful football program, with a long-standing rivalry against Yale in the annual Harvard-Yale game. The Harvard football team has won 17 Ivy League championships and has produced notable NFL players such as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Birk.

Boston University has a strong women’s soccer program, consistently ranking in the top 25 nationally. The team has produced several professional players, including Stephanie McCaffrey, who played for the Boston Breakers in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Career Opportunities: Evaluating Career Services, Networking Opportunities, and Job Prospects for Graduates

Both Harvard and Boston University offer excellent career services, focusing on networking opportunities and job placements for their graduates.

Harvard’s career services include everything from job fairs to alumni mentorship programs, while Boston University offers similar resources tailored to specific fields of study. Both schools have a strong network of alumni, which can be incredibly valuable in securing job opportunities after graduation.

However, there are some differences in the job prospects for graduates of Harvard vs Boston University.

Harvard graduates have higher starting salaries and are more likely to land jobs in prestigious companies or organizations. On the other hand, Boston University graduates have a higher rate of employment in their chosen field of study and are more likely to have a job offer before graduation.

Considering your career goals and priorities is important when choosing between these two universities.

Tuition and Financial Aid: The Cost of Attendance, Scholarships, Grants, and Loans at Harvard vs. Boston University

As with many top-ranked universities, both Harvard and Boston University have a high cost of attendance. Harvard’s total tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year is around $54,002, while Boston University’s is around $55,056.

However, both schools offer a variety of scholarships, grants, and loans to help offset the cost. Harvard, in particular, is known for its generous financial aid program, which ensures that students from all backgrounds can attend school regardless of their financial situation.

Regarding scholarships, Harvard offers a range of merit-based and need-based options. The school’s prestigious Harvard College Scholarship is awarded to students based on academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and personal qualities.

Boston University also offers merit-based scholarships, such as the Trustee Scholarship, which covers full four-year tuition for a select group of students.

Both schools also provide work-study programs, which allow students to earn money while gaining valuable work experience. Harvard’s program offers a variety of on-campus and off-campus jobs, while Boston University’s program provides opportunities for students to work in research labs, community service organizations, and more.

Alumni Network: Examining the Strength of Alumni Networks at Both Institutions

Both Harvard and Boston University have strong alumni networks, with graduates pursuing successful careers in various fields.

Harvard’s alumni community is particularly prestigious, with notable alumni including U.S. Presidents, Nobel laureates, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Boston University’s alumni network is also notable, with alumni in entertainment, journalism, and business.

Harvard’s alumni network is not only prestigious but also extensive. With over 371,000 alumni worldwide, Harvard graduates can access a vast network of professionals in various industries. The university also offers numerous resources and events to help alumni connect and collaborate.

Boston University’s alumni network, on the other hand, is known for its diversity. The university has a large international student population translates to a global alumni network. BU alumni can be found in various countries, making it easier for graduates to connect with professionals worldwide.

Multiracial students talking while walking.

The university’s alumni association also offers career services and networking events to help graduates advance.

Faculty Research: Analyzing the Scope and Impact of Faculty Research at Both Universities

Both Harvard and Boston University have faculty members who are world-renowned experts in their fields, producing groundbreaking research and collaborating on innovative projects.

Harvard, in particular, is known for its groundbreaking research in fields such as medicine, law, and public policy. Boston University also has a strong research focus, particularly on health sciences, education, and technology.

Harvard’s faculty members have made significant contributions to the field of medicine, with research on topics such as cancer treatment, genetics, and infectious diseases. In addition, Harvard’s law faculty has been at the forefront of legal scholarship, producing influential research on topics such as constitutional law, human rights, and intellectual property.

Boston University’s faculty members have also significantly contributed to their respective fields. The Health Sciences faculty at Boston University has researched mental health, addiction, and chronic diseases. The education faculty has produced research on topics such as educational policy, curriculum development, and teacher training.

Finally, the technology faculty has been involved in cutting-edge research on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data analytics.

Resources for International Students at Harvard vs Boston University

Both Harvard and Boston University offer a range of resources for international students, ensuring they receive the support they need to adjust to life in the United States. Both schools have international student offices, which assist with visas, housing, and cultural adjustment.

Harvard also has a comprehensive English Language Program for non-native English speakers, while Boston University offers international students a range of English language courses.

In addition to the resources mentioned above, Harvard and Boston University also offer international student clubs and organizations, which provide opportunities for students to connect with others from their home countries and cultures.

These clubs often organize cultural events, language exchanges, and social gatherings, helping international students to feel more at home in their new environment.

Both schools also have career centers that offer specialized services for international students, such as workshops on navigating the job market in the United States and networking events with alumni with international experience.

Examining the Diversity of Student Body & Faculty and Inclusion Policies on Both Campuses

Both Harvard and Boston University pride themselves on their commitment to diversity and inclusion and have a range of policies and resources to ensure that all students feel welcome and supported on campus.

Both schools have diverse student bodies, with students from all over the world and socioeconomic backgrounds. Both schools also have vibrant diversity and inclusion initiatives to promote understanding and acceptance across cultures and identities.

Harvard also has a diverse faculty, with professors from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. The university also has several programs and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion among faculty members, such as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee.

Boston University has also implemented some policies to promote inclusion, such as the Bias Incident Response Team, which provides support and resources to students who have experienced bias or discrimination on campus.

The university also has several student-led organizations that promote diversity and inclusion, such as the Black Student Union and the Asian Student Union.

Student Success Rate: Analyzing Graduation Rates and Post-graduation Outcomes of Students From Both Schools

Harvard and Boston University have high graduation rates, with most students completing their degree programs on time. In addition, both schools have high job placement rates for graduates, with many going on to successful careers in various fields.

However, a recent study found that Harvard graduates tend to earn higher salaries than Boston University graduates in the first few years after graduation. The study also found that Harvard graduates are more likely to pursue advanced degrees, such as a master’s or a Ph.D., leading to even higher earning potential in the long run.

Despite the difference between Harvard vs Boston University, both schools provide excellent opportunities for students to succeed academically and professionally.

Campus Safety & Security: Examining Safety Measures in Place on Campus for Students of Both Universities

Both Harvard and Boston University have comprehensive safety measures in place to ensure the well-being of their students. Both schools have police departments on campus, emergency phone lines, and security escorts available to students after hours.

In addition, both schools have active bystander intervention programs to prevent assault and violence on campus.

One unique safety measure Harvard has in place is the CrimsonEMS program, which provides emergency medical services to students on campus. This program is run entirely by student volunteers trained as emergency medical technicians.

Boston University, on the other hand, has a comprehensive mental health program that includes counseling services, support groups, and crisis intervention services for students in need.

Unidentified expert talking to a client.

It’s important to note that while both schools have strong safety measures in place, it’s essential for students to take responsibility for their own safety. Students must be aware of their surroundings, travel in groups, and report any suspicious activity to campus security.

By working together, students and campus officials can create a safe and secure environment for everyone on campus.

Both Harvard and Boston University are excellent institutions, offering top-notch education and a range of resources for their students.

When deciding which one to attend, between Harvard vs Boston University, it’s essential to consider factors such as location, academic focus, and cost of attendance.

AdmissionSight is pivotal in helping students navigate the decision between Harvard and Boston University.

Our team of experts help students weigh the distinctive advantages of Harvard’s prestigious reputation and intellectual rigor against the vibrant urban environment and diverse opportunities offered by Boston University.

Additionally, AdmissionSight’s expertise in college admissions equips students with the strategies and support needed to navigate the competitive application processes for both universities, increasing their chances of securing admission.

With AdmissionSight’s assistance, students can confidently make informed decisions and embark on a transformative educational journey at the institution that best aligns with their aspirations.



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