When the Class of 2022 first stepped foot on campus, Harvard had just welcomed two new administrators: University President Lawrence S. Bacow and Faculty of Arts of Sciences Dean Claudine Gay. Single-gender social organizations were disappearing one by one after Harvard announced sanctions on these groups in 2016. The Students for Fair Admissions lawsuit against Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policies was soon to go to trial at John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston. The long-anticipated Smith Campus Center had just opened its doors.
Since this class’s freshman year, however, single-gender social organizations have returned after Harvard lifted the sanctions. The SFFA lawsuit has winded its way up to the Supreme Court. The University divested its endowment from the fossil fuel industry after decades of student activism. Students overwhelmingly voted to dissolve the 40-year-old Undergraduate Council. And less than two years after its opening, the Smith Campus Center — like the rest of campus — shut its doors indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Outside of campus, the Class of 2022 has also witnessed a new presidential administration, nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism, and one million deaths from the coronavirus.
Around half of surveyed seniors said they felt the country is “off on the wrong track.” Roughly half view President Joe Biden favorably, a drop from 2021, when two-thirds viewed him favorably. At the same time, seniors’ views on University administrators including Bacow, Gay, and Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana improved significantly from last year.
Support for affirmative action remains prevalent among the senior class, with 68 percent of survey respondents reporting a favorable opinion. Seventy-four percent said they approved of the University’s decision to divest from fossil fuels, an increase from last year. Thirty percent of respondents belong to campus social organizations, up from 25 percent in 2021.
Each year, The Crimson conducts a survey of Harvard’s graduating class of seniors, collecting data about where the class is headed next, how they spent their time at Harvard, and what they think of the College and the nation. This year’s edition drew 493 responses, representing roughly 39 percent of the class. The survey, emailed to each senior, remained open from May 3 to May 15 and was anonymous. The Crimson adjusted the results by ethnicity and gender to account for non-response bias (see “Methodology” section for more).
Despite an unconventional four years weathered on campus and off, the vast majority of surveyed seniors were satisfied with their college experience. Given the chance, 92 percent of the respondents said that they would choose Harvard again.
Compare this year’s results to the Class of 2021.
The Crimson distributed the survey by email to 1,269 members of the Class of 2022 through emails sourced in May 2022 from Harvard directory information. Participants accessed the survey form via anonymous, individualized links from May 3 until May 15, 2022, when the survey closed. During that period, The Crimson collected 493 completed surveys, representing a response rate of 39 percent.
Twenty-six percent of respondents matriculated earlier than 2018, meaning they took leaves of absence from Harvard and later re-classed as members of Class of 2022.
To check for potential response bias, The Crimson compared respondent demographics with publicly available information on student demographics provided by the University — information regarding gender and race and ethnicity. Overall, the respondents to the survey were in line with the demographics of the broader student body.