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:
Harvard Affirmative Action Lawsuit:
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.