When we figured out that Harvard, the Harvard, was only one stop away, the first time we rode the Red Line on the T in Boston, Massachusetts, we knew it was time for our kids first college visit! We were planning on visiting Harvard University while we were in Boston, but seeing the name in print, on the subway sign, made us decide to go right then!
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Cambridge, MA 02138
Average SAT score: 750+
Price: Big Money
Harvard University really didn’t turn out to be what we expected. The campus is quite demure with no large identifying plaques or bold emblazoned letters flashing with arrows. Without any fanfare, there are beautiful adorned gates, celebrating quite simply the entrances to the campus. Harvard reminded me of my Alma Mater Portland State University, in that it is located in the center of a bustling city, but retains it’s own presence and stature. One huge difference is that there are quite a few hundred more hippies strolling about dazed and confused in Portland.
The portion of Harvard University we walked through, including the outdoor courtyard is composed of many beautiful old buildings that make up student halls, dorms, and there are even a few old churches on the school grounds. We saw adolescent youth milling about, reading, studying, and giving tours, along with many other curious passerby’s.
We stopped by the John Harvard statue and rubbed his left foot for good luck. Even though, we came to find out, the statue is actually the likeness of Sherman Hoar who stood in as a model, since no one knows what the lucrative John Harvard looked like. It’s also interesting to note, that as the school’s benefactor, John Harvard is often given the claim of founding the school, though he had nothing to do with the school, the founding, or the curriculum other than willing gads of money to it upon his death.
There is an unmistakable feeling of authority here, whether that be the aurora of a rich successorship, or our own imposition of what we deem Harvard to be. Nonetheless, many relevant and prominent figures of American culture and history have attended school here. Harvard University is known for churning out Olympic athletes, United States Presidents, Nobel Laureates, and various scholars.
No one can deny that the greatest mind Harvard University has ever molded is that of Walter Bishop, who conducted so many of his famous fringe science experiments in the basement of the Kresge building. As one of our personal heroes, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see where so much discovery was explored.
► For Kids: This was our kids first college visit! Though we didn’t get a tour, and we didn’t get to visit the largest library and collection of books in the world, and we didn’t sit in on any lectures, it was still pretty impressive to walk the paths and view the campus. We definitely wished we had planned ahead a little better for this trip in hindsight. We did converse with our kids about the importance of learning all that we can, at every opportunity we can, as we always do, but having this very discussion on the grounds of the oldest university in America was hallowed. As Gabe is a college professor, this is an institution they could appreciate for their understanding of it, and connection to it.
Have you been to Harvard University? Like we said, this was our first college visit! And it was a great way to kick off the tour that we plan on lasting several years. We also walked around Northwestern, MIT and Tufts University. As cool and prestigious as these famous old colleges are, power to books and reading and self serving on the wheel of personal empowerment! Amiright?
► Nap-Time Version: Our family tour of Harvard University!
Check out what else we found at Harvard Square: The World’s Only Curious George Toy Store! Widmore was obsessed with Curious George from two to three years old! We also snatched up some cupcakes at Sweet Bakery and had a family field trip at the Museum of Fine Arts.