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Haverford is way way too small. Halfway through your freshman year, you will be fully entrenched in your social circle. You will stop meeting new people entirely. You will recognize everyone but most will be too awkward to ever start a conversation. Think high school but with a higher percentage of weird kids. Maybe with another 500 kids the normal percentage could rise to a comfortable number. As is, it isn't even close. Haverford would be great if it weren't for the people.
When I tell a lot of people I go to Haverford, they tend to shrug their shoulders and go "where's that?" even though it actually is a good, competitive school. Or the other reaction is "Woah! Harvard!", at which point I have to let them know I don't actually attend an Ivy League. The thing is though, I love the atmosphere here and wouldn't ever trade it for an Ivy League. I'm sure that our classes push us in the way classes at an Ivy League do, but people are here to learn from the toughness and not to beat out the person next to them. I don't know any of my friends grades in their classes and I don't want to. We work for ourselves and I love that. I love that everyone is openly or secretly nerdy. I love that the honor code allows us to take our exams whenever, wherever we want. I love the libraries (believe it or not). I love that it's a small school, that I see people I know whenever I leave the dorm, the fact that there may be at least on familiar face in one of my classes. I love that I can meet people in places like the Math Help Center and become friends.
The small size is great in many ways, the personal attention and close connection you have with students, faculty, staff and administration is fantastic. It allows for you to really personalize your college experience and have a lot of say in your overall education throughout your time at Haverford, which will probably be four years due to the incredibly high graduation rate, though this might not seem like such a great thing after four years. You might not want to leave college, but there are plenty who will. Some do feel the size gets to them but these just aren't small college types. Size is definitely an important factor when choosing your college. The school is very much student run and the administration works very closely to make sure the students get everything they need. The staff for the most part works hard, but it gets frustrating when things don't get done after you put in 50 requests. Though, certain things just take priority and unfortunately you might just not be one of them at that moment. This would never apply to academics, healthy or safety issues on the college's part but does often apply to maintenance and financial matters. Another big factor is location. For me Haverford has a great location, the main line is a fun spot with a lot of other colleges around the area and the campus is just a short train ride away from Philly. The regional rail also allows you to easily get to NY or other cities. In addition, the campus life is extremely active especially on weekends. This is definitely not a suit-case school with 99% of students living on campus, as well as, 60% or so of the faculty.
The one word you will hear over and over again at Haverford is "community." Haverford is a very close-knit supportive community that takes its quaker roots seriously. We are the only school with a working, completely student-run honor code that covers every aspect of student life. Our tests are unproctored, some are even take-home and the teacher will trust you not to open your book while taking the test, and the best part is, you won't. The school takes this so seriously that unlike most institutions, there is no fee to hold your spot once you say you are coming. They take you at your word. The professors, other students, staff and administration are all incredibly helpful and supportive. You can go to anyone with questions from your suitemates to the college president. In order to make this work, Haverford is a very small school, less than 1200 students. Some people find it too small, but there are tons of colleges in the area: Bryn Mawr, Villanova, UPenn, St. Joe's, Drexel and Swarthmore, where you can go hang out. Also, there is no college town, but Philadelphia is just 20 minutes away and is really accessible with the SEPTA regional rail line. Unfortunately, because of its size if you tell somebody that you go to Haverford one of two things is likely to happen: 1. No recognition/blank stare and "Where?" or "Ohh?" 2. "You go to HARVARD?!?" So if you want name recognition, this probably is not for you. The people who know it are always impressed, it's just that nobody knows it. In Summary: really close community with lots of support, no name recognition, close to Philly, HONOR CODE
Haverford, a small liberal arts school, is located in the town of Haverford, a tiny town resting amidst the highly wealthy residential suburbs of Philly, known as the "Main Line." Haverford as a town is almost non-existent-- it is made up of a few boutiques and a bunch of pretty houses. However, the neighboring towns, Bryn Mawr and Ardmore both house a lovely selection of places to go out to eat and shop, and are walking distance, which is highly convenient. The first thing I noticed about Haverford College, is how cozy it feels. It's a small, tightly-knit community, filled with friendly, warm people. I felt immediately welcome, even as a new student. It's a community focused on comfort-- people wear comfortable clothes, and make a lot of effort to make each other feel comfortable. Starting with "Customs," freshman orientation, Haverford does a great job of providing comfort, and truly nurturing its freshmen. Each hall group participates in fun bonding activities (everything from light-hearted ice breakers to intense dialogues about controversial issues) led by upperclassmen chosen to work with freshmen. This provided me with social opportunities with fellow freshmen, as well as support from older students and helped me feel really comfortable right away. However, in the years that I attended Haverford, I got frustrated with the focus on comfort. People at Haverford are so afraid to make anyone feel uncomfortable that they avoid talking about controversial topics completely, except behind closed doors. People skirt around issues and don't address topics directly. As a result, issues like race and class get buried, and only come up when there is a specific forum addressing these issues-- usually as a result of an incident that upsets a lot of people. Basically, unless people feel like it's necessary to address these more "uncomfortable" issues, they get avoided, until people get angry enough and some sort of confrontation occurs. That is my one major complaint. I wish people would engage in dialogue more, and be willing to talk about issues with which they are uncomfortable. Nothing changes without dialogue! A lot of other aspects of Haverford are great. People are considerate of each other, and really make an effort to follow the Honor Code. Professors really trust students, and there is a great sense of trust in the community as a whole. We have don't have proctors for exams, and take-home tests. On the weekends, as long as we follow the Honor Code, we have a lot of freedom socially. There is a sense that as long as we are responsible and "follow the Code," then we can do pretty much whatever we want. This is wonderful and provides for a great sense of freedom and responsibility, and adds to the sense of community. In general, we, the students, have a lot of say in the way things work at Haverford. This can also be positive and negative, however, as sometimes students are forced to take on way more of a load of responsibility since the administration is not as supportive of the students and activities as they could be. Also, being a closely-knit community, Haverford can sometimes feel stifling. Everyone knows each other, and gossip travels very quickly. However, Haverford has a great study abroad program, and after traveling to Italy for the semester, I felt a lot more appreciative of the smallness of Haverford. Also, Philly is only a train-ride away, and can serve for some freedom from Haverford. I played on the frisbee team, and this community also provided an outlet for me, as we traveled constantly, playing teams all over the country. That's another thing: Haverford offers clubs catering to interests across the board, and if you don't see your interest addressed in a club, you can start your own club. Haverford allows people to be proactive and take charge. I only wish there was more funding, and more support from the adiministration. Overall, though, it's an inspiring place-- so many motivated, talented people, working hard and managing to balance that with doing a whole array of activities that many times relate to saving the world in some way.
My favorite thing about Haverford is the community. There are only 1,200 students at the college, and no grad students, so it is very easy to get involved and meet great people. The school isn't so big that I feel like just another face in the crowd. When I first arrived on campus for orientation, called Customs Week, I felt so welcomed and comfortable, which is more than others can say about their first days at college. I lived on a hall with 12 other freshmen. Our group of 12 had nine upperclassmen who were chosen and trained to help us get used to all aspects college life, from dorm life to academics, from the Honor Code to multicultural issues. It was in this group, my Customs Group, that I made my best friends at Haverford. Even better--they all lived near me! Another big part of Haverford is the Honor Code. Student written and revised, the Code is our manner of self-government. It asks us to uphold certain principals and police ourselves. Under the Code, we must have trust, concern, and respect for ourselves, our schoolwork, and each other in terms of academics and social life. For instance, if I'm having a problem with another student, it is my responsibility to talk to him or her in order to gain mutual understanding and resolve our problem. In class, the Honor Code is most evident in our testing. Professors give take-home exams that we take on our own outside of class. For example, my calculus professor would give us all an exam at the end of the class on Wednesday. We were not to open the exam until we were ready to take it, and we couldn't use the text or any other resource. There was no collaboration alone. I would usually go to my room (a single) or to the library, take a look at my watch, and begin the exam as if I was in a proctored setting. When three hours passed, I put down my pencil and closed the exam. At the next class on Friday morning, I turned in the exam and all the scratch paper. Done. When I tell this to people. most of them laugh, thinking this would never work. But at Haverford, it does! It is my responsibility to not cheat, and my responsibility to not turn a blind eye if I know someone else is cheating. I feel like the students who come to Haverford take their studies so seriously that we know that cheating only hurts us in the end. Know that if you come to Haverford, few people outside of academia will know where you are going. Many will think you are going to Harvard. We're not Harvard, but our Princeton Review rating for academics is as high as Harvard's. When I'm at college, I spend most of my time on campus. Haverford is on a 200 acre arboretum along the Mainline in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I think the campus is absolutely gorgeous, and I don't have to look too far for what I need. Nearly all Fords (Haverford students) live on campus so there is always plenty to do outside of class. There are study spaces for all types as well as a diverse array of possibilities in terms of the social scene.
Lauren JuniorReviews provided by: Unigo