Harvard's Hidden Secrets

Harvard's Hidden Secrets

Why you should care

Because of course this Ivy League school has a history — but you might not be familiar with these tidbits.

The Best Way to Get Into Harvard

So, you’d like to know how fah they’ll lower the bah to let someone into Hahvahd Yahd? Being valedictorian with a perfect score on the SAT helps. So does having a parent or grandparent — preferably both — who wore crimson. And so does starring in The Karate Kid, as Elisabeth Shue did before she transferred to Harvard in 1985. But perhaps the best thing you can do to tip the admissions scales in your favor is to get on the school’s list of recruited athletes. Harvard has 42 varsity sports teams, more than any other university. But take note: If you want to go the sporty route, there’s a catch. Read the story here.

From Public College to Private Corporation

Few realize that during its first two centuries in existence, Harvard was a publicly funded and run institution, and the “college corn” it received in its early years is but a fraction of the public assistance it benefitted from during its lengthy rise to prominence. Harvard was once both deeply rooted in its local Cambridge community and dependent upon that community, and its sparkling transformation from “the college of Massachusetts” to a global institution explains a lot about the broader trajectory of the business of higher education in America. Here’s why Harvard’s metamorphosis matters. Read the story here.

Harvard’s Secret Computers — aka Women

When astronomer Edward Pickering began his tenure as director of the Harvard College Observatory in 1881, technological advances brought him closer to his dream of mapping the night sky by making it easier than ever to image stars. But there was so much data and not enough staff members to catalog it all. So Pickering turned to computers — but in this case the “computers” were women. More than 80 women, including Pickering’s maid, cataloged stars — considered “secretarial” women’s work and paid at half the men’s rate. Although banned from using the observatory telescopes, many made discoveries and important contributions and continue to inspire groundbreaking discoveries today. Read the story here.

Record Number of Foreign Students

U.S. universities enrolled almost 820,000 international students last year. This is a historic record and represents a 7.2 percent increase from the previous year. Much of this growth is fueled by students from China, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. With international students pumping an estimated $24 billion into the U.S. economy overall, they could be a golden goose for many universities struggling financially after severe cuts in federal funding and research grants. Even top-tier schools like Harvard might want to increase their international admissions to help offset their $34 million deficit. Read the story here.

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