Haverford College - Comments and Student Experiences|
Although a Haverford education is nearly unmatched, I do have many issues with the school regarding its social scene, support system, and culture. Haverford is a very tiny school. Even when including Bryn Mawr's student body, the student population feels very small as you do not see many students. Students at the school even refer to this group as the "Phantom 500," meaning that 500 out of the 1200 people in the school are ghosts because you never see them. This leads to seeing the same few people at every party, in the dining hall, on the quad, etc. etc.. If you are someone that is very outgoing and willing to befriend all of these people, this may not be an issue. But, given the type of person that Haverford attracts (people that are very to themselves) there is a cliquey atmosphere reminiscent of high school. All in all, you cannot really meet many new people.
The support system at Haverford was not what I was expecting from a school so small. Although I thankfully did not need to seek the use of the counseling services on campus, it is well known throughout the campus that there is a long wait list to be able to use this service. That's just unacceptable for a school so small and also points out something about the mental state of the student body. I have heard that the counseling service does do a good job. However, there obviously needs to be more put into that service. Although mental health is not really taken into consideration at this school, the academic services provided are pretty helpful, especially so at the library.
The culture of the school is best described as divided, apathetic, and liberal. All liberal arts colleges are going to be liberal to some extent, so that should not come as news to anyone reading this. However, the apathy of the students on campus kind of gives the campus a depressing feel. Although there are many students fighting for social causes or political movements, pretty much every student on campus has the personality of a piece of cardboard and when they engage in conversation it is very clear that they are trying to be as politically correct as possible. The other word I used to describe the campus was "divided." About 40% of the students are athletes. Many of the athletes give off an air that makes it seem as if they think the whole world revolves around them (this is coming from an athlete at the school). The word NARP (non-athletic regular person) is used to describe everyone else, and isn't used in the most polite of tones. Much of the student body that comprises everyone else has a very patronizing view of the athletes in their own way. Many stating that they probably did not have the qualifications to get into the school, and casting them as "dumb-jocks," or "dumb-jock wannabes" since it's only a division three school. This leads to a division between the student body that almost cuts the amount of people who you could easily befriend in half. Although I have my qualms about Haverford, I do not regret choosing to go there. I grew out of Haverford after my sophomore year and started going to other schools or into the city (NYC or Philadelphia) every weekend with a few friends. Although the social scene was not for me, the quality of the education I received outweighed all of the negative aspects of the school in my view. I am thankfully employed for my first year out of college, and I do believe that my Haverford education prepared me well for the workforce and possibly for grad school later on. Haverford is a school for people that are incredibly serious about their academics. It is not a party school and does not have a "ra ra" type of environment as some bigger universities may have. I cannot count the amount of conversations I have had over philosophical, political, and economic issues in my four years at the school outside of class. Obviously, people talk about other things too, but these are not atypical conversations by any means. If you fit this type of mold and think that you would like, not not mind but like, the social aspects of the school, then Haverford is a great place for you.