Harvard vs Stanford

21K School · Feb 9, 2023 · 4 min read

Harvard and stanford logo

Stanford and Harvard are two of the country’s most renowned and competitive universities. Although both institutions provide top-notch academics, the apparent differences in their locations result in quite distinct student experiences. Here’s what one needs to know about the curriculum, extracurriculars, accommodation, food, and other aspects of Stanford and Harvard if one chooses between them.

Stanford vs Harvard: A Quick Glance

Climate and Place

Boston is only a few miles from Cambridge, where Harvard is situated. The city’s famous attractions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Faneuil Hall, and a variety of eateries, are accessible to students. Additionally, they can take advantage of Cambridge’s top attractions, such as Harvard Square and the adjacent Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The city’s metro system, known as the T by locals, makes getting about simple. Boston Logan Airport is easily accessible from Greater Boston via public transportation for those travelling from further away.

The heart of New England, where Cambridge is located, has chilly, snowy winters but generally warm summers. One should anticipate some windy weather since Harvard is close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Charles River.


Harvard boasts 20,700 graduate students compared to Stanford’s 16,384 students, despite both universities having undergraduate student bodies of under 7,000. While 72% of Harvard classrooms have less than 20 people, approximately 69% of Stanford classes do. Stanford has a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1, while Harvard has a balance of 6:1.


Furthermore, the university offers majors spanning various subjects, such as aeronautics and astronautics, art practice, Native American studies, theatre, and performance studies. Stanford is particularly well-known for tech majors, including engineering and computer science.

Students must complete general education requirements in a variety of subjects, such as:

• Writing and Rhetoric, and Language

• Thinking Matters

• Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing

Before entering their junior year, Stanford students must declare their majors.

There are 50 majors (sometimes known as “concentrations”) available at Harvard, including well-liked fields like psychology, computer science, history, and economics. Students must meet the following general education criteria:

• Science and technology in society

• Aesthetics and Culture

• Ethics and civics

• Histories, societies, and people

Most Harvard students announce their specialisations during the second year’s fall semester, albeit one-third of them ultimately change their minds.

Both colleges allow students to create their majors or concentrations with assistance and approval.

Financial Assistance

Despite having a quoted price of over $70,000, many students receive financial assistance to attend Stanford or Harvard. About 70% of Stanford students get financial aid of some kind, with 58% receiving assistance from the institution itself. Financial help is given to Harvard students at a 50% rate.

Merit-based aid is not available at Stanford or Harvard. While being need-blind and loan-free, both universities are dedicated to addressing all of their students’ financial needs.

Games and Extracurricular Activities

The Stanford Cardinals are outstanding in the classroom and sports. With 123 victories under its belt, the NCAA Division I school holds the record for most titles. The institution provides a diverse range of extracurricular activities and groups in addition to athletic teams and club sports, including ballet, political and religious organisations, publications, community work, and much more. Stanford University officially recognises 30 fraternities and sororities, and about 30% of its students participate in Greek life.

Around 50% of Stanford students go abroad to study. Bing Overseas Studies Program is offered by the university, with locations in Berlin, Florence, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Santiago, and other cities. Students may also participate in outside programs provided by other schools and organisations. Financial help will continue to be available to students while studying overseas.

Harvard competes in the Ivy League and NCAA Division I. Club sports are also available, with 43 varsity teams. Extracurricular activities abound and include theatre, a cappella, theatre, political organisations, community service, the media, and more. The university does not formally recognise fraternities or sororities, even though certain Greek groups operate off-campus.

About 60% of Harvard students participate in programs abroad while studying there. Harvard guarantees that tuition costs won’t be higher for students who choose to study overseas than at the university and that financial help will follow them wherever they go.

Student Results

Harvard and Stanford graduates may anticipate successful careers with a typical beginning income of about $70,000. The average wage for Harvard and Stanford alums ten years from now is $136,700 and $122,900, respectively.


Both universities will undoubtedly give you a top-notch education and a bright future. For many students, the decision boils down to geography: Would anyone instead go to school in a place where it’s always warm, like the West Coast, or would anyone prefer seasons and an environment like the East Coast and New England?

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