This week, the Harvard College Class of 2017 will enter a world still divided over November’s presidential election and, overwhelmingly, begin their post-graduate lives deeply pessimistic about the direction the country is headed.
They graduate on the heels of a particularly contentious year on campus and across the nation. Since last spring, the class has debated unprecedented penalties against members of final clubs and Greek life, a policy the majority of seniors do not endorse. They saw hundreds of dining hall workers walk off the job in a strike, which overall won their support. They witnessed the unexpected ascendance of a presidential candidate once thought to be a long shot, and many changed their career plans as a result.
A recent Crimson survey of graduating seniors paints a portrait of where the class is headed next, how they spent their time at Harvard, and what opinions about campus and the country they hold. The survey garnered 790 responses, representing close to half the class, though not all respondents answered each question. The survey, emailed to each senior, was open from May 1 to May 12 and was anonymous. The Crimson did not adjust the data for possible self-selection bias.
While seniors were skeptical about some policies and experiences they have had at Harvard, they did not regret their college decision. Indeed, even though, in the midst of the chaos following the Boston Marathon bombing the College didn’t hold Visitas to welcome the Class of 2017 to campus four years ago, nearly all respondents would choose Harvard again.
Compare this year's results to the Class of 2016.