Academics and Extracurriculars at Harvard and Yale

By Caroline S. Engelmayer and William L. Wang

As the College moves to keep freshmen from joining final clubs, fraternities, and sororities, the Harvard Class of 2021 is still more interested in participating in such social organizations than their Yale counterparts.

  • 27.6 percent of respondents to The Crimson’s annual freshman survey reported that they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in participating in a final club or Greek organization on campus, while one in five respondents to the Yale Daily News’s freshman survey said the same.
  • The number of students who said they were “not at all interested” in joining social clubs, however, was roughly equivalent at Harvard (41.0 percent) and Yale (40 percent).

Once again, a higher percentage of Yale freshman respondents admitted to having cheated in an academic context. About 19 percent of Harvard respondents admitted to cheating compared to 29 percent of Yale respondents.

The newest Harvard students tend to gravitate towards the social sciences more than their Yale counterparts, the survey results showed: 38.5 percent of Harvard freshmen said they planned to study the social sciences, compared to 26 percent at Yale. 11.2 percent of Harvard respondents and 12 percent of Yalies said they plan to concentrate in the arts and humanities, while prospective STEM students comprise 50.1 percent and 44 percent of Harvard and Yale respondents, respectively.

10.1 percent of Harvard and 8.9 percent of Yale respondents indicated that they had been recruited for a varsity sport.

While Yalies were less likely to report having a relative who also attended Yale, a slightly higher percentage of Yale respondents attended private school—38.6 percent versus 35.8 percent of Harvard respondents.

More Harvard than Yale freshmen said that they took a gap year before matriculating, with 9.2 percent of Harvard respondents and 4.1 percent of Yale students reporting that they took time off.