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Harvard College vs Harvard University: What's the Difference?

Yocket Editorial Team

Harvard College? Harvard University? Isn’t it just … Harvard? Why are there two? What is the difference between college and university? Where do I start? What is happening? Many students get confused when it comes to Harvard College and Harvard University. Fear not! We will help you clear all the differences between them to help you make an informed decision. Read the blog till the end to know the difference between Harvard College and Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Harvard College vs Harvard University: Overview

Harvard, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, renowned for its prestigious academic standing and membership in the esteemed Ivy League. While the name "Harvard" is often used interchangeably, it's crucial to distinguish between Harvard College and Harvard University, as they represent two related yet distinct entities.

Harvard Campus

Harvard College vs Harvard University

Harvard College serves as an undergraduate division within the broader Harvard University system. Harvard College offers a four-year undergraduate, liberal arts program for students seeking their first degree. There are about 6,600 undergraduates at the College, with nearly equal numbers of men and women.

On the other hand, Harvard University encompasses not only Harvard College but also 12 graduate and professional schools. These schools operate independently, maintaining separate admissions processes, teaching facilities, and administrative structures. Students admitted to these schools have already obtained an undergraduate degree and are pursuing advanced studies leading to master's or doctoral degrees in their respective fields.

The primary distinction lies in the level of education offered. Harvard College caters to undergraduate students, while Harvard University's graduate and professional schools focus on postgraduate studies and specialized training for those seeking higher academic or professional qualifications.

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What is Harvard College?

Harvard College is the largest of Harvard University’s schools and is nearly 400 years old. According to CBS, Harvard College boasts the most competitive admissions process among colleges, with a low acceptance rate of 3.4%. While Harvard College offers Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees, the BA program dominates the academic landscape. Between November 2019 and May 2020, the college conferred 1,493 Bachelor of Arts degrees, significantly outnumbering the 49 Bachelor of Science degrees awarded during the same period. Harvard College provides more than 3,700 courses across 50 undergraduate fields of study, termed "concentrations." These concentrations span four main areas of interest: Arts and Humanities, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Sciences, and Social Sciences.

At the core of all Harvard College's programs lies a strong emphasis on liberal arts education. One-third of the undergraduate coursework fulfills the school's requirements in General Education, Distribution, Quantitative Reasoning with Data, Expository Writing, and Language. Harvard College firmly believes that through the liberal arts, students develop critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and clear communication skills – foundational competencies essential for success in any field.

What is Harvard University?

Harvard University is amongst the top universities not only in the United States but also in the world. Harvard is known for its world-class faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and high-quality research output. Harvard University encompasses 12 graduate and professional schools.

  • Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Harvard Business School
  • Harvard Divinity School
  • Harvard Law School
  • Harvard Kennedy School
  • Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard Extension School
  • Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Harvard University caters to students seeking advanced degrees, with over 13,000 individuals pursuing postgraduate studies across its various schools and programs. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is the largest division, reflecting the university's commitment to scholarly excellence. In 2020, this school received an impressive 18,723 applications, ultimately enrolling 4,824 students – a substantial cohort comprising 4,599 doctoral candidates and 225 master's students.

Admission Requirements: Harvard College vs Harvard University

Harvard College

Harvard University

  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended
  • Standardized Scores like GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT. Submit TOEFL and IELTS scores to demonstrate English proficiency.
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation from academic or professional references.
  • Detailed resume or curriculum vitae highlighting relevant academic and work experience.
  • Statement of Purpose essay outlining the student's academic and professional goals and how the program aligns with them.
  • Application Fee

Tuition Fees: Harvard College vs. Harvard University

Harvard College Tuition Fees

Harvard University Tuition Fees

USD 46,000 (INR 38,44,000)

USD 63,000 (INR 52,64,610)

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Programs: Harvard College vs Harvard University

Harvard College

Harvard University

  • African and African American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Art, Film, and Visual Studies
  • Astrophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biology
  • Applied Computation
  • Business Economics
  • Business Administration
  • Biostatistics
  • Dental Medicine
  • Design Engineering
  • Education Policy and Analysis

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What makes a Successful Harvard application?

Harvard University embraces a holistic approach to evaluating prospective students and nurturing its current student body. The institution takes pride in producing academically excellent graduates and cultivating well-rounded, diverse, and forward-thinking individuals who will contribute to the betterment of society at large.

When assessing applicants, Harvard seeks high intellectual capability, as evidenced by outstanding academic performance in grade point averages and standardized test scores. However, the university also values intellectual curiosity, dedication, uniqueness, and the applicant's past and potential contributions toward societal improvement. In this regard, demonstrating the application of one's intelligence across various disciplines, including the humanities, arts, social sciences, or STEM fields, is crucial in capturing Harvard's interest. The university values individuals who can apply their intellectual abilities to address real-world challenges and drive positive change.

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The 4 Harvard Admission Factors

Harvard University considers four key factors when evaluating applicants:

  • Academic Achievements: This includes the applicant's academic record, GPA, awards, and future educational pursuits. Notably, standardized testing is now optional for Harvard applicants.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Harvard values activities that demonstrate a strong purpose of serving humanity and making a positive impact.
  • Personal Qualities: Harvard seeks unique individuals with strong core values who can contribute to a diverse and dynamic student body. Applicants should highlight their personalities and individuality through essays and supplemental writing.
  • Life Experiences: As a globally-focused institution, Harvard values diverse life experiences that shape an applicant's worldview. Essays should highlight formative experiences that have influenced personal growth and the ability to contribute to the world's future.

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From the Desk of Yocket

Harvard College and Harvard University often confuse students. By understanding the distinctions between Harvard College and Harvard University, prospective students can make an informed decision that aligns with their academic goals and aspirations. With its holistic admissions approach, Harvard seeks intellectually curious individuals who can contribute to a better world. 

Once you have been offered the admission letter, you will need help with your visa application, and Yocket can help you. Not only this! Yocket experts can help you with anything and everything. Be it SOP, LOR, resume building, shortlisting university, visa application, etc. They have helped over 10,000 premium aspirants like yourself fulfill their dreams of studying at their desired university. Book A 15-minute Consultation Call Today!

Frequently Asked Questions About Harvard College vs Harvard University

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