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Haverford College

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Could not have chosenMath
Could not have chosen a better undergrad college. Because of the education I received at Haverford I was accepted to Harvard where I earned my masters degree.High schoolers.. take all the AP classes that your school offers.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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After a year at Haverford, it's safe toQuite BrightPolitical Science
After a year at Haverford, it's safe to say that it's time for me to move on. It took me a while to figure out, but it is my honest belief that the 97% return rate has little to do with the overall satisfaction of the student body, and a lot to do with the fact that you become entrenched in a cultish environment, and foster a dependence on the friends and foes you see 4-5 times a day. There is no doubt in my mind that there is no place like Haverford that exists, even amongst liberal arts colleges. Its culture is so particular, so flawed and so all-encompassing that few are able to psychologically leave, even when given the option to. I have heard more students than I can count, self-profess that they have a 'love-hate' relationship with Haverford. So do I. If you are dissatisfied with Haverford, you will find it incredibly difficult to leave, because you fall in love with its students, faculty members, and the physical nature of the campus itself.

My biggest problem with Haverford is its pervasive, detrimental social structure. The Customs programme; the veritable beacon of shining light in admissions brochures, ultimately thoroughly thrusts you into a friend group consisting of 15-16 people, from which, try as you might, you can ever break away from. Because you spend so much time with these people, you foster a certain amount of trust with them - simultaneously, other Customs groups on campus do the same thing, rendering the possibility of spontaneous friendships occurring impossible. Ultimately, the social circles one sees around Haverford primarily consist of athletic groups (pay heed to the warnings of the athlete/ non-athlete divide - I cannot overstate this enough), subsets of Customs groups, as well as ethnic groups. Ultimately, the community is entirely fragmented by arbitrary racial lines, athletics and randomly-selected housing groups. It's ridiculous.

Prior to attending Haverford, I considered myself quite a liberal-minded individual. After Haverford, I am beginning to realize the merits of more conservative modes of thought. EVERYONE here buys into pervasive social-justice theory and political correctness. This has the result of creating an atmosphere in which somehow everyone feels oppressed, slighted and discriminated against despite the fact that everyone is receiving a quality education in the same serene, idyllic environment. To say this is intellectually stultifying is a massive understatement.

As an international student, I felt incredibly let down by the lack of diversity on campus. I'm not necessarily talking about skin colour or country of origin - I'm talking about the lack of a heterogeneous mentality and the lack of debate or conversation. Despite originating from thousands of miles away, I received little to no support, and was expected to immediately assimilate into the Haverford 'groupthink': a.k.a. white, middle-class citizens bemoaning their whiteness and their complicity in cisheteropatriarchal structures. Simply put, there is a lot of talk and a lot of false action at Haverford. Nothing gets done - not by the student body, and least of all by the administration.

If you are attracted to Haverford because of the Honor Code and self-governance, think about the fact that this is not Deep Springs College, and you are paying upwards of $70k a year in order to meditate on useless motions that do nothing to tangibly improve the state of the college, and ultimately reflect on the apathy and uselessness of the administration, to whom your tuition dollars are largely going. Committees on campus are LARGELY run by 'nepotism' and largely accomplish next to nothing, whilst simultaneously remaining incredibly bureaucratic.

I chose to attend Haverford because of the liberal arts ideal, but I have discovered that what lies in its place is a system that is beyond broken. The aim of a liberal arts education is intellectual exploration, but the lengthy graduation requirements (e.g. language, quantitative, physical ed.) result in most students scrambling to decide upon a major in their second year based on a single course they've taken (with the exception of STEM majors). There are also an absurd amount of people who are attempting to 'game' the system: that is, to choose a class that is notoriously easy, or a professor that is notoriously lenient. There is also a 90% chance that you will not get into the classes you want to get into, due to limited enrollment. You become complicit in the bullshit that the institution ultimately runs itself on.

Maintenance and campus safety standards are simply unacceptable. If you accidentally lock yourself out of your room (which you will), you will have to wait up to half an hour for a disgruntled staff member to show up and charge you $10 to open your door. If you lose your key, it's $150. Being on this campus honestly feels like subtle extortion sometimes. Dorms (especially Gummere) as well as the North Dorms are in an abysmal state of disrepair - whilst Haverford isn't loaded like some other elite liberal arts institutions, it's spending its money on propaganda and pipe dreams, as opposed to improving the quality of life of its students. The medical centre is in disrepute - the doctor is essentially never there, the nurse practitioner is hard to get a hold of, and nurses prioritize paperwork over caring for patients. They are also incredibly incompetent - if you have a stomachache, you will be prescribed Gatorade, if you have a rash, you will be told it is poison ivy, or a symptom of strep throat. The whole system is borderline farcical. Counseling and psychological services likes to boast that at least 2/3 of the student body has visited them one or more times, and most go on a continual basis. I for one, find this to be less of an accomplishment, and more of a disturbing fact. They are also notoriously hard to book an appointment with (at least 14 days prior notice), which is frankly unacceptable.

Basically, much of Haverford's endearing charm lies in its perpetual state of bumbling disarray.
If I were attending Haverford at less than half the cost, I would perhaps consider remaining - there is no doubt that I have met inspiring, interesting individuals here whom are incredibly bright - but it's not worth the emotional trauma, the parochial, jaded student body,the administrative incompetency and disconnect, and the truly empty dreams that the institution professes to sell. If I graduated from here, I know that I would feel completely unprepared to take on the real world, completely uninspired and completely extorted.

1st Year Female -- Class 2019
Perceived Campus Safety: A, Campus Maintenance: F
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Quite BrightMath
Outstanding school with top quality professors that are ALWAYS available. Very demanding academics.
4th Year Male -- Class 2016
Education Quality: A+, Surrounding City: A-
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