Yale vs. Harvard (Undergrad)

Hi everyone, I'm a high school senior stuck in choosing where I'll be going next year. I got into Yale's Ethics, Politics, and Economics program (no interview or anything...straight acceptance), but I got a waitlist offer from Harvard too. Harvard is my top choice, but the fact that they waitlisted me makes me think that maybe I am not a good fit even though I personally think I am. I don't really have any contacts in the finance world, but I am pretty set on a career in finance, so I wanted to hear what everyone's thoughts are regarding my dilemma. Also, any insights on differences between campus life, culture, etc. that would help me make my decision are greatly appreciated.

-Since Harvard waitlisted me, does that mean I'm not a good fit for the school? I know I would thrive more where I fit in, so I don't want to shoehorn myself into a school with marginally better opportunities for fear of the fact that I might be miserable there and not live up to my full potential.

-Does Harvard provide any real opportunities that Yale doesn't? I.E. would any doors be open to me at Harvard that wouldn't be open to me at Yale?

-Does Harvard give me a better chance of landing a PE/HF gig straight out of undergrad?

-If I do end up going for an MBA, I would like to go to HBS (ideally). Does it reflect poorly upon me if I go to the same undergrad and grad school?

Lastly, to those who will say "worry about it when you have acceptances from both" I only have 48 hours to decide if I get taken off the Harvard waitlist, so I want to be prepared. Thanks for the help everyone :)

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Comments (12)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 28, 2021 - 6:25pm

If you get into Harvard, go. If not, Yale still very solid and will set you up nicely. The difference between you landing an offer or not is not going to come down to whether you went to Harvard or Yale (which, I would think, someone contemplating these schools could realize on their own). So stupid to waste time thinking about this when you haven't even gotten in. If it's really running you around, consult the plethora of similar (if not identical) threads that have been made over the last couple months. 

Apr 29, 2021 - 6:40pm

the differences between the 2 schools have been explored many times all over the internet, so i'd suggest doing some googling

out of the "HYPSW" designation of top target schools, HYP have the most similar student bodies. honestly, your getting waitlisted at H is much more likely due to chance than whether or not you'd fit in at H. 

i'm also not sure how you got this idea that Y somehow has fewer opportunities than H. they are held in the same regard. there are a huge # of alumni from both all over finance and consulting. 

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Apr 29, 2021 - 6:46pm

Thanks for the reply! I've lurked every single thread on this site comparing HYPSW, but I was more so concerned about fitting in because of the WL offer. And honestly everything I've heard about recruiting has been hearsay since I don't really have many connections in finance and everyone says H and W have more opportunities than Y. Thanks for addressing all my concerns.

Apr 29, 2021 - 7:30pm

Looking at the numbers themselves, yes fewer students from Y or P end up in traditional finance gigs. But that's mostly due to the fact that fewer students at those schools are interested in those careers to begin with. Even at H, the #s have shifted a fair bit in the past decade to favor tech and consulting over banking. What matters is that you will never be at a disadvantage because you went to Y over H. There is not a single org in this world that would refuse to interview you because you went to Y and not H. And you wouldn't want to work there anyway if they actually did. 

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