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Studying at Harvard

The second best university in the world

Karl Källenius has only been in the USA for a few weeks and yet you get the feeling that he is already part of the inner circle of Elite students at the famous Harvard University, which has already produced big names like Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. The university has only just been ranked for second best university in the world elected.

When walking around the campus with the almost 400 year old brick buildings and spacious lawns on which the students sit in the sun, he greets them here and there. He stops briefly in front of a large building. "This library is open 24 hours a day," he says, "it is mainly the 'freshmen' who study there, that is, those who have just started their studies."

How do you get to Harvard as a German?

Of around 37,000 applicants, Harvard only accepted 1,990 for this academic year - that's less than five percent. How does a 19-year-old from Stuttgart get here? "I always wanted to study in the USA," says Karl. "I like the idea that you don't have to commit to a course straight away, but that you have to do it in the first three semesters up to five different subjects can prove. "

Karl has signed up for politics, Philosophy and French decided. There is also a math course that is compulsory for every new student. His enthusiasm for the USA also stems from the fact that he lived there with his family for a few years as a child. At the age of 16, he also spent a school year in California. English therefore speaks the son of a German and a Swede fluently. But it is not very good language skills that determine whether someone gets a place at Harvard. They have to be excellent, no question about it, as well as the school grades and the results of the so-called SAT, one Study aptitude test, the multiple choice among other things mathematics, critical reading and creative writing.

But all of that is not enough: "Harvard also tests the personality, you don't want students who only want good grades because they can benefit from it for their professional life, but those who are intellectually committed and really interested in the topics The university is therefore looking for people who to be passionate about something "That can be anything: from playing basketball to art, from writing to synchronized swimming. Prospective students have to prove this enthusiasm in an essay and later, if they have piqued the interest of the selection committee, in a personal interview.

A place of longing for a good education

The tour of the campus leads to Karl's dormitory. All freshmen live in these 'dorms'. The German shares a small apartment with two American students. You can also eat together in a large dining room that looks like you have landed in a "Harry Potter" novel. "The university wants all newcomers to spend as much time together as possible so that they not only learn through events at the university, but also from each other. The living groups are deliberately mixed: Different religions meet different nationalities, people with very different skills and interests exchange ideas like that. "

Karl's fellow students come from all over the world: from Lebanon and Lithuania, from Serbia and Argentina, and there are also a few other Germans among them. Many of them havePrepared for the exams for years, worked towards it all of her school days. Worldwide, Harvard is a place of longing for those looking for the best training strive The demanding lessons, the exciting lectures by well-known personalities, which are offered almost every day - all of that makes it Education especially.

"We all work a lot here. If you want, you can even get a snack in the dining room at 10 pm, so you can go back to the library afterwards," says Karl. He, too, sometimes works late into the night. "But I don't do it because I feel compelled, but because I enjoy it. I'm tired after a day like this, but happy because I've immersed myself in something that really interests me. Everything here is somehow more intense than I am used to - and I enjoy that. "

Nerds who are nothing more than Books and Learn Karl’s fellow students are still not in their head. In the pubs of Cambridge, the borough of Boston where the university is located, you will meet Harvard students everywhere. "Our lecturers even encourage us to just leave the books behind," tells Karl. After all, he and the others have already taken the most important step: They have arrived at one of the best universities in the world.


More about Harvard:

  • Harvard is one of eight "Ivy League Universities", which means the most prestigious universities in the United States. This also includes Princeton and Yale.
  • The tuition fees are just under $ 60,000 a year including room and meals.
  • Over 70 percent of the students get financial support, the amount of which depends on the parents' income. Students from families who earn less than $ 65,000 a year do not pay any fees.
  • You can find Harvard online at www.harvard.edu