Here is a fact that will likely blow your mind; anyone can go to Harvard. I don’t mean that anyone can work real hard, practically killing themselves to earn a perfect SAT score, get a 4.0 through high school, and of course have a ton of popular (but yet esoteric) extracurriculars. I mean anyone, right now, can enroll in Harvard University.
Harvard University has a school called, the Harvard Extension School. According to Harvard, the purpose of the Harvard Extension School is to “bring Harvard academics to the public through evening and online courses, and part-time programs”.
The admissions to the Harvard Extension School are simple, anyone over the age of 11 can attend. Admissions into the degree program are a little different; you must have taken at least 3 classes at Harvard, and have earned no less than a B-. That means no SAT scores, and no overly competitive admissions process.
For those who think this is a lower point of entry to Harvard, and therefore lowering the standards for the school, I would say they are missing the point of the admission standards. The point of high admission standards is to admit only those students who have shown an ability to handle the level of work they will be given at Harvard University. It’s hard to argue that a student who can earn a minimum of a B- in a Harvard class cannot handle classes at Harvard.
Of curse people can also attend simply to satisfy their own thirst for knowledge, which is what I currently do. At this point of my life, I’m not really concerned about earning a graduate degree. But I do see the need to always be learning, and I don’t think there is any place better to further my studies.
I learned about this program a little over a year ago. To my surprise, this is not a new program. The Harvard Extension School is celebrating its 100 year anniversary, out aging many colleges in this country.
In doing some research I found some great discussions on the topic. All the people I could find who have taken classes at HES had nothing but good things to say about the school. They all described how challenging the courses were, but also how great the professors are.
I also found some heated discussions centered around the idea that for some reason the Harvard Extension School is not as good as any other school at Harvard University. I can understand the animosity of some of the students. After all, they sacrificed a good amount of their life for the sake of getting into the school of their dreams. They are paying an average of $50k per year to attend. And for a fraction of the cost, someone who partied in high school, never even showed up for the SAT, and never had to go through the nail biting admissions process, is able to list a degree from Harvard University on their resume.