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Types of Students at Harvard from the Perspective of a Senior


One question I commonly get from prospective students is “What is the typical Harvard student like?” The general response I give is that there really is no such thing as a ‘typical’ Harvard student. However, in this blog post I will relay to you one perspective I’ve had throughout my four years at Harvard on the different types of students I see here.

(Disclaimer: this is a personal perspective and there are far more ‘types’ of Harvard students than described in this post.)

The Ambitious Type

This is a fairly obvious type of Harvard student. At some point you will meet a student who says they will be the one to cure cancers or end world hunger. It won’t be uncommon to see these individuals joining 23 different extracurricular organizations and attempting to take five classes.

The Tired Type

These people can be summed up as when they are not in class or finishing an assignment last minute, they are most probably sleeping. Often they will look onto those ambitious types and wonder, “Why would you even want to have that much on your plate? You must be crazy.”

The Efficient Type

Now these are the individuals who can manage to go to class, office hours, and study groups, and still manage to have time to lead extracurriculars, attend social events, and still get a decent night sleep. You can refer to these people as magicians because you have no idea how they manage to get this done and be happy at the end of the day.

The “Legit” Type

These people look like they’ve got their lives together. They act as though they have everything figured out such as where they are going to do internships, graduate schools, and sometimes even a 7-year plan of how they are going to take over Goldman Sachs. You could refer to these people as “con-men” (or women…con-people if you will). On the outside they look like they’re going places when in all actuality, they have no idea what is going on. Commonly seen in pre-meds.


I said there are many different types of students at Harvard, so why did I choose these four? Well, I have at one point or another identified myself as one of these types. Freshmen year I was overly ambitious and attempted to join everything while taking on a course load far greater than I could handle. That resulted in having a very tired sophomore year with some great struggles for me. Junior year I figured out how to balance things in my life and became very efficient at life. Now as a senior (as well as pre-med), I definitely identify as a “legit” type of student because I am very much acting like I know what my life will look like come May, however I know inside that I am incredibly scared. All in all, I am incredibly grateful for Harvard and the opportunities I have had to grow as a student and person.

About the author

Boozhoo! (Hello!) My name is McKayla and I’m currently a senior concentrating in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I’m what can be described as a nerd. I absolutely love everything about... View full profile

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