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Comparing Washington University in St. Louis vs Harvard

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Male man attending an online class

Comparing Washington University in St. Louis vs Harvard

As two of the most prestigious universities in the United States, Washington University in St. Louis and Harvard University both offer a world-class education and a wealth of opportunities for students. In this article, we will compare these Washington University in St. Louis vs Harvard in terms of their locations and campuses, admission criteria, faculty and student ratio, extracurricular activities, academic programs and majors offered, research opportunities, tuition fees and financial aid, graduate program placement and alumni network, career services, student life and housing options, diversity and inclusion policies, athletics programs and facilities, and reputation and rankings.

Female teacher giving instructions to four students in a library.

Location and Campus Comparison

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis offers a suburban campus that covers 169 acres and is just a few miles away from the city’s downtown area. Harvard, on the other hand, is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and occupies a total of 209 acres. It’s important to note that the two universities have distinctive campus settings, with Harvard’s campus being more centralized than that of Washington University in St. Louis.

Despite the differences in campus size and location, both universities offer a variety of amenities to their students. Washington University in St. Louis has state-of-the-art facilities, including a newly renovated student center, a world-class library, and a top-ranked medical center. Harvard, on the other hand, boasts a rich history and a diverse range of academic programs, including the prestigious Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.

Another notable difference between the two universities is their student population. Washington University in St. Louis has a total enrollment of around 15,000 students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. Harvard, on the other hand, has a smaller student population of around 6,700 students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1 as well. Despite the difference in size, both universities offer a personalized and rigorous academic experience to their students.

Admission Criteria: SAT/ACT Scores and GPA Comparison

Both universities have selective admission processes, with acceptance rates below 10%. In terms of SAT/ACT scores and GPA, Harvard boasts higher averages than Washington University in St. Louis, with a reported median SAT score of 1520 and a median GPA of 4.18, compared to Washington University in St. Louis’s median score of 1500 and median GPA of 3.93.

However, it is important to note that SAT/ACT scores and GPA are not the only factors considered in the admissions process. Both universities also take into account extracurricular activities, essays, letters of recommendation, and other achievements. Additionally, Harvard and Washington University in St. Louis have different approaches to holistic admissions, with Harvard placing a greater emphasis on leadership and community involvement, while Washington University in St. Louis values intellectual curiosity and academic passion.

Faculty and Student Ratio Comparison between Washington University in St. Louis vs Harvard University 

Both universities have a distinguished faculty that includes Nobel laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Harvard’s student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1, while the ratio at Washington University in St. Louis is 8:1.

However, it is important to note that the student-to-faculty ratio does not always accurately reflect the quality of education. At Washington University in St. Louis, the university has implemented a program called “First Year Center” which provides first-year students with a dedicated advisor and mentor to help them navigate their academic and personal lives. This program has been highly successful in improving student retention rates and overall academic success, despite the slightly higher student-to-faculty ratio.

Extracurricular Activities Comparison

Both universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including student organizations, clubs, and sports teams. Harvard’s campus boasts more than 400 academic, cultural, religious, and interest-based student organizations, while Washington University in St. Louis has over 300. Athletics are also a significant part of both institutions, with Harvard being a member of the Ivy League and Washington University in St. Louis belonging to the University Athletic Association.

Happy asians walking in the campus.

 

In addition to the numerous student organizations and sports teams, both universities also offer opportunities for students to participate in community service and volunteer work. Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House Association is one of the oldest student-run organizations in the country, providing students with a variety of service opportunities in the local community. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a strong commitment to community engagement, with programs such as the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement offering students the chance to get involved in service projects and social justice initiatives.

Academic Programs and Majors offered Comparison

Both universities are known for their excellent academic programs, with a wealth of majors and interdisciplinary studies available. Harvard offers 50 academic concentrations, with over 4,000 courses across the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Meanwhile, Washington University in St. Louis has more than 90 undergraduate programs across the arts, sciences, and humanities.

Harvard’s academic programs are highly regarded and have produced many notable alumni, including eight U.S. presidents, over 150 Nobel laureates, and numerous foreign heads of state. The university is particularly well-known for its programs in law, business, medicine, and public policy.

Washington University in St. Louis is also recognized for its strong academic programs, with a focus on interdisciplinary studies and research. The university has a number of unique programs, such as its PNP (Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology) major, which combines philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology to explore the nature of the mind and behavior.

Research Opportunities Comparison

Both Harvard and Washington University in St. Louis are recognized for their commitment to research and innovative scholarship. Harvard’s research centers and institutes cover a wide range of fields, including biology, economics, education, public health, and technology. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has over 30 interdisciplinary research centers and institutes across fields such as medicine, physics, engineering, and social policy.

However, there are some differences in the research opportunities offered by these two universities. Harvard has a larger research budget and more funding opportunities for graduate students, which allows for more extensive and in-depth research projects. On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis has a strong emphasis on collaborative research, with many opportunities for interdisciplinary projects and partnerships with industry and government organizations.

Tuition Fees and Financial Aid Comparison between

between Washington University in St. Louis vs Harvard University

Both universities have high tuition fees, with Harvard’s annual tuition and fees being $54,002, while Washington University in St. Louis’s are $55,292. However, both institutions have generous financial aid policies, with Harvard’s undergraduate financial aid program providing need-based scholarships, and Washington University in St. Louis offering need-based aid as well as merit-based scholarships.

It is important to note that while the tuition fees may seem high, both universities have a strong commitment to making education accessible to all students, regardless of their financial background. In addition to need-based and merit-based scholarships, both institutions also offer work-study programs and student loan options to help students cover the cost of attendance. It is recommended that students explore all available financial aid options and speak with a financial aid advisor to determine the best plan for their individual needs.

Graduate Program Placement and Alumni Network Comparison

Both universities have an impressive record of placing graduates into top graduate programs and job opportunities. According to data from U.S. News & World Report, Harvard graduates have gone on to attend top law, business, and medical schools around the world. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a strong alumni network, with its graduates being employed across fields such as finance, business, law, healthcare, and academia.

Chinese students studying in a library.

Additionally, both universities offer extensive resources and support for their alumni. Harvard has a vast alumni network, with over 371,000 alumni worldwide, and offers career services, networking events, and mentorship programs. Washington University in St. Louis also provides career services and networking opportunities, as well as access to its extensive library resources and research facilities. Both universities prioritize the success and continued growth of their graduates, making them excellent choices for those seeking a strong support system post-graduation.

Career Services Offered by Universities Comparison 

Both institutions have robust career services departments that provide students with career guidance, support, and resources. Harvard’s Office of Career Services offers a wide range of services, including career counseling, interview preparation, job and internship listings, and networking opportunities. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis’s Career Center offers individual career counseling, career fairs, interview workshops, and online job and internship listings.

In addition to the services mentioned above, Harvard’s Office of Career Services also offers specialized career advising for students interested in specific industries, such as finance, consulting, and technology. They also provide access to alumni networks and career treks, where students can visit companies and organizations to learn more about potential career paths.

Washington University in St. Louis’s Career Center also offers unique programs, such as the Career Interest Communities, which provide students with opportunities to connect with alumni and professionals in their desired fields. They also have a strong focus on entrepreneurship, offering resources and support for students interested in starting their own businesses.

Student Life and Housing Options Comparison

Both Harvard and Washington University in St. Louis offer a vibrant student life. Harvard’s social scene includes everything from parties and concerts to lectures and seminars. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis offers a wide range of student activities, including cultural events, sports, and outdoor activities. Housing options are plentiful at both institutions, with Harvard offering a variety of dormitories, apartments, and houses, and Washington University in St. Louis offering traditional residence halls, apartment-style living, and a variety of themed housing options.

Harvard also has a strong emphasis on community service and encourages students to get involved in volunteer work. The university has partnerships with local organizations and non-profits, providing students with opportunities to make a positive impact in the surrounding community. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a strong commitment to community engagement and offers a variety of service-learning courses and volunteer programs.

When it comes to dining options, both universities have a wide range of choices. Harvard has several dining halls, cafes, and restaurants on campus, offering a variety of cuisines and dietary options. Washington University in St. Louis also has multiple dining options, including a food court, cafes, and a convenience store. Additionally, both universities have sustainability initiatives in place, with Harvard sourcing food locally and Washington University in St. Louis implementing composting and recycling programs.

Diversity and Inclusion Policies of Universities Comparison

Both universities have taken steps to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on their campuses. Harvard has established a number of initiatives and programs for diversity and inclusion, including The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging and The Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has implemented numerous initiatives to promote diversity, including the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Veterans Center, and the Women’s Society of Washington University.

Harvard has also implemented a program called the Harvard College Women’s Center, which provides resources and support for women on campus. Additionally, the university has a Diversity Peer Educator program, where students can become trained to facilitate discussions and workshops on diversity and inclusion topics.

Washington University in St. Louis has also established a program called the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which provides resources and support for underrepresented students on campus. The university has also implemented a Bias Report and Support System, where students can report incidents of bias and receive support from the university.

Athletics Programs and Facilities Comparison

between Washington University in St. Louis vs Harvard

Both universities have exceptional athletic programs and facilities. Harvard boasts 42 varsity sports teams, with its football team having won 18 national championships. Washington University in St. Louis has 19 varsity sports teams, with its men’s basketball team having won two national championships. Both universities have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including gyms, fields, pools, and tracks. In addition to their varsity sports teams, both universities also offer a wide range of intramural and club sports for students to participate in. Harvard has over 50 club sports teams, including ultimate frisbee, fencing, and sailing. Washington University in St. Louis has over 30 club sports teams, including rugby, ice hockey, and equestrian.

male and female tennis players playing in the court

 

Furthermore, both universities prioritize the health and wellness of their student-athletes. Harvard has a dedicated sports medicine department, providing medical care and rehabilitation services to its athletes. Washington University in St. Louis has a comprehensive wellness program, offering nutrition counseling, mental health services, and stress management workshops to its athletes.

Study Abroad Programs Offered by Universities Comparison

Both universities offer numerous study abroad opportunities that allow students to gain a global perspective and broaden their horizons. Harvard’s Office of International Education offers over 170 study abroad programs in more than 50 countries, while Washington University in St. Louis offers over 100 programs in more than 40 countries.

In addition to the number of programs offered, Harvard also has a unique program called the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Program. This program allows students to take courses at one of Harvard’s international centers, which are located in cities such as Paris, Berlin, and Tokyo. The program also includes cultural activities and excursions to enhance the students’ experience.

On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis offers a program called the Global Leadership Program. This program is designed for students who are interested in developing their leadership skills while studying abroad. The program includes leadership workshops, mentorship opportunities, and a capstone project that allows students to apply their leadership skills in a real-world setting.

Reputation and Rankings of Universities Comparison

Both universities are widely recognized as being among the best in the world. According to the 2021 QS World University Rankings, Harvard is ranked first in the world, while Washington University in St. Louis is ranked 98th. Similarly, according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings, Harvard is ranked first in the United States, while Washington University in St. Louis is ranked 16th.

In conclusion, both Washington University in St. Louis and Harvard University are exceptional institutions that provide students with a top-quality education and numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. While there are some differences between the two universities in terms of location, admission criteria, and other factors, they share a commitment to academic excellence, research, diversity, and inclusion.

It is worth noting that both universities have a strong reputation in different fields of study. Harvard is particularly renowned for its programs in law, business, and medicine, while Washington University in St. Louis is known for its strengths in engineering, social sciences, and humanities. This means that students who have a clear idea of their academic interests may want to consider the specific strengths of each institution when making their decision.

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