What is Harvard Known for?

October 15, 2022
By AdmissionSight

What is Harvard Known for?

Why Is Harvard So Prestigious?

What is Harvard known for? The first higher education facility to be founded in the new world was Harvard University. Due to its status as the country’s first university, it had a reputation as the only institution where one could earn a degree. So, why is Harvard so prestigious? At that time, only the wealthiest members of society could afford to enroll in college. Therefore, its reputation as a prestigious university has persisted to this day.

Harvard University ranked third place among 443 national universities in the US. Schools are ranked based on how well they perform against several generally recognized indicators of quality.

Harvard mostly draws the best students due to the excellent education it provides. Harvard’s professors are very talented academics.  The elite Ivy League school boasts connections to 48 Pulitzer Prize winners, over 30 heads of state, and more than 45 Nobel Laureates.

Taking a closer look at its campus, what is Harvard known for? On its 5,000-acre campus, which is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is home to 12 degree-granting colleges, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, two theaters, and five museums. With 20.4 million volumes, 180,000 serial titles, 400 million manuscript items, 10 million pictures, 124 million preserved web pages, and 5.4 terabytes of born-digital archives and manuscripts, it also houses the largest academic library in the entire globe.

View of Harvard Campus at day time.

Harvard hence offers options for all student interests. Harvard is a leader in practically all academic subjects, and the university possesses the largest endowment of any university in the world. These enormous outside resources make it possible to afford the best tools, libraries, and infrastructure. They can use the money they earn to fund excellent research. Harvard thus draws students who wish to learn using the newest technologies. In a similar vein, the university’s campus and buildings are among the most gorgeous of all American universities.

As a result, Harvard University education offers not only a chance for life-changing learning but also a very enjoyable experience. These are a few of the factors that attract the best students in the world to enroll in undergraduate or graduate programs at Harvard.

Who Is the Most Famous Person from Harvard?

The answer to “What is Harvard known for?” includes the famous alumni the institution had for more than 300 years and counting. More than 323,000 of its alumni are still alive, including more than 271,000 in the US and around 52,000 in 201 other nations. You might be curious “Who is the most famous person from Harvard?” Learn more as we will not just get to know one but several notable alumni of Harvard University.

Aerial view of Harvard University.

John F. Kennedy

From 1961 until his murder towards the end of his third year in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, an American politician, was the 35th President of the United States. He proceeded to Harvard University to pursue a degree in international relations and government.

Barack Obama

As the first black president of the Harvard Law Review in 1990, Obama made history before becoming a U.S. president, a Nobel Prize winner, or even a U.S. Representative.

He earned a magna cum laude degree in 1991, a year later than his peers since he worked as a community organizer in Chicago for a year before enrolling. His attendance at the school has developed into a family custom. In the fall of 2017, daughter Malia will enroll at Harvard.

Al Gore

Gore only applied to one university, Harvard, and was accepted as he was about to graduate from high school.

The former vice president and environmental activist initially intended to major in English, but he finally chose government and graduated with honors in June 1969. His interest in global warming was initially piqued at the school, where he took a class with oceanographer and theoretician Roger Revelle.

Gore, who later served in the Clinton administration, shared a dorm with future Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones while attending the university.

George W. Bush

Bush became the first president of the United States to hold an MBA thanks to his time at Harvard Business School, from which he graduated in 1975.

Although he wasn’t a standout student, he was known for being a quick study, having a laid-back attitude, and having a healthy ego (which is not uncommon at Harvard). He appeared to have maintained ties with his peers, too. According to reports, thirty of them attended his inauguration in 2000.

Henry Kissinger

The American diplomat’s academic journey did not begin in Cambridge. He first attended City College of New York. He returned to Harvard in 1950 and earned a bachelor of arts degree summa cum laude after being drafted into the American Army. He remained on campus for the master’s and doctoral programs as well.

He was a member of the Harvard faculty from 1954 until 1969, after which he was chosen to serve as the Nixon administration’s national security adviser. A few years later, he was appointed the 56th Secretary of State. Later, in 1973, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

The world’s most well-known astrophysicist (and cultural icon) graduated from Harvard in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in physics.

Although Tyson is recognized for his love of science and his efforts to make often complex subjects understandable to the general public through TV and podcasts, he was also somewhat of a jock in school. He had a significant impact on the wrestling team and spent his first year on the crew team.

He is currently the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York and has won honors from the National Academy of Sciences and NASA.

Steve Ballmer

The former CEO of Microsoft may not be the most well-known former Microsoft worker with connections to Harvard, but he does have a degree to show for it, earning a BA in applied mathematics and economics in 1977 with honors.

He managed the Harvard football team while he was a student, and he also contributed to the Harvard Advocate and The Harvard Crimson newspapers. He is the ideal candidate for any alumni role, having given more than $50 million in 2014 to expand the school’s department of computer sciences. He currently also owns the Los Angeles Clippers.

John Roberts

In addition to being the first student from his Indiana high school to enter Harvard, the chief justice of the United States breezed through the program, earning a summa cum laude diploma in just three years.

He entered law school after completing his undergraduate studies and served as managing editor of the Harvard Law Review before earning his degree in 1979. However, things may have easily turned out otherwise. Roberts revealed to his college roommates that he intended to become a history professor while still a student there.

Ted Cruz

Cruz attended Harvard Law School where he received a magna cum laude diploma in 1995 before becoming a senator from Texas and a Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

He also served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review and Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy during this time. The Harvard Latino Law Review was also started by him. Alan Dershowitz, one of his teachers, described Cruz as “off-the-charts smart.”

Sheryl Sandberg

Long before her future employer set foot on the Harvard campus, the chief operations officer of Facebook enrolled there in 1987. She received a degree in economics from Summa Cum laude in 1991 and was the recipient of the John H. Williams Prize, which is presented to the highest graduating student in that subject. (Larry Summers, a future Treasury Secretary, served as her thesis advisor.)

She enrolled in Harvard Business School two years later, and in 1995, she graduated with the highest distinction with an MBA. Recently, she visited her alma mater and delivered an inspirational lecture about overcoming sorrow.

She held the position of vice president at Google before joining Facebook. She founded the Lean In Foundation and is now a billionaire.

Mark Zuckerberg

Famously, the creator of Facebook left Harvard during his senior year to concentrate on the rapidly expanding social network he created at Kirkland House room H33.

When he was on campus in 2005, he made his decision public in an interview with The Harvard Crimson to get other students to join his business. Priscilla Chan, his future wife, was one of them, and he gave her the job as she passed him while he was speaking with the newspaper’s reporter.

The market value of Facebook was $368 billion as of publication.

Bill Gates

It is simple to understand why Gates has been dubbed “Harvard’s most successful dropout” by The Harvard Crimson.

After only two years, the Microsoft creator left Harvard in 1975. However, during his brief time at the university, he developed a significant connection with Steve Ballmer, who in 1980 would work alongside Gates and Allen at the software startup.

Harvard recognized its most famous dropout in 2007 by awarding him an honorary law degree. He now serves as the chief technology officer for Microsoft, Satya Nadella, as well as a global philanthropist and co-director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

What Is Harvard Known for Academically?

Academics are the root of all of Harvard’s successes and honors. Even among this esteemed group, there are a few of Harvard’s many programs that stand out. All of them are great however, let’s find out what is Harvard known for academically.

The Harvard School of Divinity is regarded as the top program in the world for studying theology, going back to the school’s beginnings as a seminary. The school’s divinity program encourages students to situate their studies within the context of other religions by fusing theological inquiry with practical application. Faculty members like Dean David N. Hempton, the author of several works on religious history, have been at the forefront of this strategy.

Unidentified person holding her books.

Harvard Medical School is widely regarded as the greatest in the nation outside of the humanities. In addition to being ranked as the best medical school overall by reputable rating agency U.S. News & World Report, several of Harvard’s programs—including internal medicine, pediatrics, and anesthesiology—also come in at number two in their respective areas. These accomplishments are a result of the resources at their disposal as well as the excellent teachers and alumni of the school.

In order to tackle some of the most important scientific challenges, the Center for Connected Health at Harvard Medical School uses a collaborative approach, bringing together medical students and professionals from other disciplines.

The school’s dermatology department receives approximately $9 million in funding annually, which enables them to benefit from collaborations with nearby hospitals and run research clinics.

This dedication to ground-breaking research is shared by Harvard’s psychology department. Steven Pinker is a member of the faculty in the psychology department.

In addition to running Harvard’s Cognition, Brain, and Behavior Group, Pinker is the author of numerous best-selling books like How the Mind Works. People will learn more about the capacities and functions of the brain as a result of the Group’s activities.

Harvard offers about 3,900 courses in 49 undergraduate departments, so there are many options for classes. You might wonder what is Harvard known for in terms of majors. Political science and government, economics, social sciences, evolutionary biology, and psychology are the majors that depict

Both men and women tend to gravitate toward certain academic disciplines, but more men are found in the subjects of physics, math, computer science, the natural sciences, and statistics. In contrast, there are more women in the fields of English Language and Literature, German Language and Literature, Art History, Criticism, and Conservation, and Anthropology.

What Are Some Traditions at Harvard University?

What are some traditions at Harvard University? “The Game” is the name of one of the longest-running if you would ask what is Harvard known for when it comes to traditions. The annual gridiron game between Harvard and Yale, which has taken place every year since 1875, is a highlight of the calendar year. Yale currently holds the series advantage with a score of 68-61-8.

Group of students leaning near a window.

Harvard University organizes Yardfest, an annual festival, to foster ties among its students. Only Harvard students are permitted to attend Yardfest, a huge barbeque and dance celebration. Students may enjoy the best music from their campus in addition to the food because the musicians are all champions of the school’s battle of the bands competition.

Harvard artists are given their moment to shine during the four-day ArtsFirst Festival. The festival mixes community building with self-expression in the visual arts, including painting and sculpture as well as performance art, resulting in a rich cultural experience.

What Are the Extracurricular Activities at Harvard?

To get a clearer picture of “What is Harvard known for?” Harvard is perhaps known for its Ivy-covered walls and shabby hallways filled with learned intellectuals. But the truth is that Harvard can be a fun place to study because there are so many clubs and extracurricular activities available. Now, what are the extracurricular activities at Harvard?

The first-year social committee at the school is one of the most significant. As you might have guessed, the FYSC seeks to connect students who are new to Harvard and give them a sense of belonging.

Students from outside of Boston might find some solace by living with a local family through the FYSC’s Host Family Program. Students are matched with a Harvard community family as part of the program and are then free to go from there. To ensure that new students never feel lost or ignored, activities might range from meals and holidays to simple check-ups.

Two students smiling while walking.

Working at the Harvard Lampoon is an additional noteworthy extracurricular activity. Conan O’Brien and Greg Daniels, the creator of The Office, were both comedians who got their start in the illustrious comedy magazine. The Lampoon continues to be a significant cultural institution, read and enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.

The renowned Ivy League, to which Harvard belongs, is an athletic organization that oversees the football and basketball games played by the colleges in its league. More than any other school in the league, the Harvard Crimson competes in 42 NCAA Division I sports. Since 1873, Harvard has fielded a football team and won ten national titles during that time.

More crucially, what is Harvard known for in terms of athletics? The Harvard football squad was a key contributor to the development of the forward pass, a strategy that is now used exclusively in modern football.

One of the oldest intercollegiate teams in the nation is the university’s men’s ice hockey team. The squad has won the ECAC championship ten times, most recently in 2017, and the NCAA championship once in its nearly 125-year history. Despite being much younger, the women’s ice hockey team has seen success of its own, taking home the national title in 1999 and four ECAC championships.

The Harvard and Yale rivalry between its men’s rowing teams, which continues to be played out each year on the Thames river, took place before The Game.

Now that we have learned what is Harvard known for, you might wonder what is Harvard’s acceptance rate. Harvard is currently the hardest institution to get into, with a record-low acceptance rate of just 3.19% for the Class of 2026.

Harvard evaluates each applicant as a whole person, taking into account both intellectual potential and character. The school takes a conscious effort to carefully review each application to thoroughly comprehend each applicant’s academic interests, personal history, and extracurricular skills. Getting into Harvard would be a tough process but AdmissionSight will guide you throughout your admission journey.

At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. Book an initial consultation to further discuss your application.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.