6 Students Reveal How Even Ivy League Universities Can Be A Letdown

March 10, 2016

Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Columbia, UPenn, Dartmouth, Cornell - there’s so much prestige surrounding these names. Getting in can feel like winning the lottery. But the happiness students experience upon acceptance often wanes by winter break. Six students share what they dislike about their universities.

crazyhinduboy (Harvard ‘18): Funding is not as easy to get as you think. You have to compete for it, and Harvard just keeps all of it for themselves just to say that they have the largest endowment. Also, you have to apply to get into clubs which can get quite annoying because that becomes competitive as well, so you kind of have to be good at the things you apply to, which makes it hard to try different extra curricular activities.


emily.h.vo: I would love to open the discussions about mental health and how people tend to curate their lives more at Penn. My friends from different schools don’t seem to fall into that habit of trying to see larger than life on Facebook, but at Penn, everyone wants to seem like their having the BEST time, the BEST food, and the BEST education. I know that it’s a criticism most people have of social media in general, but the desire to be perfect at Penn (not just smart and getting good grades, but social and likeable, attractive and personable) is more prevalent than any other college I get to take a look at.

MK97 (Yale ‘19): Increased scrutiny into whether or not a compulsory student contribution should be required at Yale in the face of the rising acceptance of first-gen, low-income students.The compulsory requirement is taking away from time where students can be obtaining internships or furthering their knowledge in another academic class. True, the requirement encourages occupation growth and career knowledge, but at what cost? I would not want to make coffee for a summer instead of participating in an unpaid internship at CERN because of financial constraints from the very university that is encouraging to broaden my horizons!

Whartongrad15 (UPenn ‘15): I think the housing system deserves a change. There is zero sense of housing community following freshman year. Take a look at Yale or Harvard, for example. There is such a sense of pride and belonging for their residential colleges. Penn’s RCs are a complete joke… you need to learn to make friends elsewhere after freshman year.

Riya957: I would make sure sidewalks that lead to main buildings (or buildings students most frequently go to) are cleared of snow. Snow can reach up to 1 or more feet at Cornell! The incoming freshmen are the last ones to enroll in courses while the upperclassmen have the privilege of enrolling earlier. the downside for us new freshies is that the classes we want to enroll or need to enroll get almost booked up (so there’s more competition among us to quickly remain grab the remaining spots…it’s first come first serve). I would have freshmen enroll in classes the same time as other upperclassmen so that they can get their desired courses (and perhaps have seniors enroll in earlier so that they can enroll in classes that are need to graduate).

RuhyPatel (UPenn’19): If there were a few things I had to change about my school as a student body president, it would be alumni community feeling. At a few other schools I was considering there were alumni receptions after the student had been accepted but before they committed that excited the prospective student for the family that they could be a part of. At Penn I found that lacking, there was little interaction with alumni or family of Penn students. It provided a far less family feeling for the future. If I were student body president, I would work to set up a stronger alumni network so that the Penn family could stay a family even after they graduate.

Choosing where to go to college is an incredibly important decision. Make an informed choice by talking to current students via AdmitSee’s mentorship platform. Access 60,000+ successful college application files uploaded by college students (they get paid when you view them). AdmitSee is a community of students helping students. Our goal is to bring much-needed transparency to higher ed. 


About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.


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Dartmouth ‘23

Accepted to Dartmouth, UBC

Hi! I'm Joanne and I'm from Hong Kong. I'm deeply passionate about volunteering and global development, but I also love sports and baking in my free time!
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Accepted to Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Georgetown, Davidson, Santa Clara, UVA

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Accepted to Yale, Stanford, Harvard, Brown, UC Berkeley, UCSD, UC Irvine, USC, Pomona

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Accepted to UPenn, Cornell, Northwestern, WashU, NYU, Northeastern, Rutgers

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