Harvard undergraduates are more likely than students at other elite private institutions to be unhappy with their life on campus, according to an analysis of a recent survey of student satisfaction.
An internal memo from Harvard staff researchers to the university’s academic deans, which was leaked to the Boston Globe, provides confidential data documenting student disenchantment with faculty availability, quality of advising and social life on campus, the Globe reported yesterday. On a five-point scale, Harvard students’ overall satisfaction is 3.95, compared to an average of 4.16 from the 30 other schools surveyed by the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, which includes all eight Ivies, along with top research institutions and small liberal arts schools.
Yale College Dean Peter Salovey declined to comment on survey results at Harvard or at Yale. Member institutions are privy to the data with the understanding that it is for their personal use and not for public release, Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky said.
“That is done for the universities, not done for attribution,” Klasky said.
Only four schools scored lower than Harvard in the data, which comes mostly from surveys of graduating seniors in 2002, according to the Boston Globe.
Harvard spokesman Robert Mitchell said in an e-mail that in the three years since the survey was conducted Harvard has increased its range of social activities for students and now offers activities such as a freshmen Luau, a dodgeball tournament and a speed-dating party.
“The dean of Harvard College and his staff have been working very hard to address student concerns, including adding a staff member who is directly responsible for working with students to plan and organize social programming,” Mitchell said.
Harvard sophomore Lina Tetelbaum said she has had a positive experience during her nearly two years in Cambridge.
“I’m not going to say there has never been a single night that I couldn’t find something to do, but I would say that on any weekend there is plenty to do,” Tetelbaum said. “I’m sure there are things [at Harvard] on an institutional level that can be done to make things better, but I think that’s true for all colleges.”