- Class: Junior
- Major: English
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
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.
Haverford's classes are challenging without being intimidating. Most of the classes are small, especially above the intro level. All of my professors know my name and face. In order to keep classes small, there is a limited enrollment, which means that it takes a little effort to get into classes. The stress of the class lottery system, however, is worth it. It is easier for small classes (especially in the humanities and social sciences) to be discussion-based instead of lecture-based. To know that my comments and input into class are an important part of the class is very empowering, and encourage me to participate. Fords are generally driven to succeed. Nearly all the students in a given class actually want to be there because all the general distribution requirements are broad enough to find something enjoyable that will fulfill the requirement. Students have to take three classes in each of the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. There is also a social justice requirement, which requires students to take one class that examines inequality and prejudice. Examples of social justice classes include "Critical Issues in Education," "Modern Irish Literature," "Introduction to Anthropology," and "Native American Music and Belief." Freshmen need to take one semester of a writing seminar, and all students need to show proficiency in a foreign language or take a year of foreign language. Academics do not end once class is over. I've spent many a meal in the dining center hearing a friend enthusiastically describing what he did in organic chemistry lab or debating over philosophical views of the world. I can sincerely say that I learn something new every day, even on a Saturday.
I don't like to make generalizations but I'm going to do it to describe, if possible, if we averaged all Haverford students into one person. This one person would be slightly more female than male and be mostly white, but one third of color. The amalgam student would probably be moderately liberal in terms of political views. Haverperson would be confused about religion, but most of the time would be atheist or agnostic but with serious respect for the Quakers. Haverperson would wear jeans and a t-shirt to class and only really dress up on the weekend. For this reason, you're going to have a hard time telling Haverperson's socio-economic class. He/She would be involved in two or three clubs and probably still get emails from a club that he or she signed up for but has no time to attend. He or she would probably chose to party every other weekend, but the Haverperson knows that he or she will be respected if he or she choses to drink or not to drink, as long as he or she doesn't go overboard. I hope that this is understandable and helpful!
The Best Things
The best thing is the community. I feel safe, involved, and important at Haverford. I know my education will take me far.
The Worst Things
The worst thing is that I can only stay four years. I love Haverford!