The Graduating
Class of


by the numbers

by Cara J. Chang, Brandon L. Kingdollar, Leah J. Teichholtz, Meimei Xu, Ariel H. Kim, Vivian Zhao, Vivi E. Lu, Eric Yan, and Sarah Girma
produced by Kevin Luo and Justin Y. Ye

As graduating seniors look back on Harvard, perhaps only one thing is certain: The Class of 2024's college careers have been shaped by crisis after crisis.

From the Covid-19 pandemic overtaking our freshman year to the fall of affirmative action in the summer after our junior year to the resignation of Claudine Gay and campus protests sweeping the nation our senior spring, we have had a more tumultuous college experience than most would want. Once we walk out of Dexter Gate, we will enter an even more tumultuous world, wracked by elections and wars.

The Class of 2024 is set to gather in Harvard Yard for their Commencement where just a week before, student activists camped in tents to demand the University divest from Israel. The Harvard Crimson's annual senior survey shows a class sharply divided over the pro-Palestine protests that have rocked campus since Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel.

Half of surveyed seniors said they disapproved of the encampment, while a little over a third voiced support for it. Similarly, 48 percent of respondents opposed a student government referendum that would demand the University divest from institutions supporting “Israel's occupation of Palestine,” while 34 percent were in favor. A plurality of 48 percent said they oppose U.S. aid to Israel amid the war in Gaza.

This survey of the senior class also reflected broader polling revealing difficulties ahead for President Joe Biden with young voters in his reelection bid. Roughly 39 percent of the graduating class reported an unfavorable opinion of Biden, compared to 49 percent who favor him. Still, 62 percent indicated that they plan to vote for Biden in 2024, while 6 percent indicated support for Trump and 13 percent said they would vote third-party.

The Class of 2024 will likely be best remembered, though, as the freshmen who began their college careers at the height of the pandemic, attending their very first classes on Zoom rather than in Harvard's historic lecture halls. It was an isolating way to begin our undergraduate years — on average, respondents reported having just four close friends at Harvard in fall 2020. Far from the traditional first year in the Yard, more than a quarter of surveyed seniors said they were never on campus while classes were remote.

But after four years, the Class of 2024 is finally getting an in-person graduation — a Yard packed with smiling seniors and their families that would have been unthinkable our freshman year. Despite all that seniors have weathered, 93 percent of respondents would choose Harvard again.


The Crimson distributed the survey by email to 2,026 graduating seniors and members of the social Class of 2024 through emails sourced in summer 2020 and May 2024 from Harvard directory information. Participants accessed the survey form via anonymous, individualized links from May 1 until May 13, 2024, when the survey closed. During that period, The Crimson collected 1,209 surveys, representing a response rate of 59.7 percent of those who received the survey.

The data includes academic and social seniors. Eighteen percent indicated they matriculated earlier than 2020, meaning they took leaves of absence from Harvard and later re-classed as members of the Class of 2024. Meanwhile, 4 percent indicated that they will graduate in December of 2024 or later, meaning they affiliate as “Social Seniors” but will not graduate with the majority of their class this May. Overall, 21 percent took time off from Harvard.

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, race, and ethnicity. Overall, the respondents to the survey were in line with the demographics of the broader student body. The data was not otherwise adjusted for response biases.

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