Thursday, August 25, 2022

Harvard Veritas: interview with a recent graduate (anonymous) — Manifold Episode #18


The guest for this episode is a recent graduate of Harvard College, now pursuing a STEM PhD at another elite university. We have withheld his identity so that he can speak candidly. 

Steve and his guest discuss: 

0:00 Anonymous student’s academic background and admission to Harvard 
21:37 Intellectual curiosity at Harvard 
29:36 Academic rigor at Harvard and the difference between classes in STEM and the humanities 
46:47 Access to tenured professors at Harvard 
50:08 The benefits of the Harvard connection and wider pool of opportunities 
58:46 Competing with off-scale students 
1:00:48 Ideological climate on campus, wokeism, and controversial public speakers 
1:23:11 Dating at Harvard 
1:26:52 Z-scores and other metrics to add to the admissions process 

Harvard Admissions and Meritocracy: 

From first link above, The Chosen by J. Karabel.

Typology used for all applicants, at least as late as 1988: 

1. S First-rate scholar in Harvard departmental terms. 

2. D Candidate's primary strength is his academic strength, but it doesn't look strong enough to quality as an S (above). 

3. A All-Amercan‚ healthy, uncomplicated athletic strengths and style, perhaps some extracurricular participation, but not combined with top academic credentials. 

4. W Mr. School‚ significant extracurricular and perhaps (but not necessarily) athletic participation plus excellent academic record. 

5. X Cross-country style‚ steady man who plugs and plugs and plugs, won't quit when most others would. Gets results largely through stamina and consistent effort. 

6. P PBH [Phillips Brooks House] style: in activities and personal concerns. 

7. C Creative in music, art, writing. 

8. B Boondocker‚ unsophisticated rural background. 

9. T Taconic, culturally depressed background, low income. 

10. K Krunch‚ main strength is athletic, prospective varsity athlete. [ Sometimes also "H Horse" :-) ] 

11. L Lineage‚ candidate probably couldn't be admitted without the extra plus of being a Harvard son, a faculty son, or a local boy with ties to the university community. 

12. O Other‚ use when none of the above are applicable.

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