Harvard and Yale: the Babe Ruths of American academia. The Sultans of Swat. The Kings of Crash. The Colossuses of Clout. Both colleges possess so much history, so much intellectual power, and, frankly, so much money that it’s unlikely either will ever be displaced from the top two spots in university rankings. Blasphemy be damned, it’s almost pointless ranking them. Yet these two giants helped cultivate the very American spirit that makes it our duty to hammer out a verdict, no matter how stubborn or impractical. Who is the rightful king? There’s no teetering back and forth here: check out the accompanying infographic and read on to see who goes home victorious.
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A Factual Breakdown
Harvard alumni would be wise to put their faith in the facts. If numbers were all that mattered, this wouldn’t even be a competition. Harvard is the oldest school in America, founded 96 years before George Washington first opened his eyes to the New World. It also happens to be the alma mater of all ten Congressionalist ministers who founded Yale (the truth hurts, Yaleies). It has more students and more faculty (useful if this becomes an actual war) and an absolutely staggering $32.3 billion endowment. That’s a full $11.5 billion more than Yale. Why do they need all that money? Who cares. This is America, and Harvard wins.
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Quality Of Life And Death
It gets worse for the Elis (that’s a nickname for Yale students). According to FBI data, New Haven, CT is the fourth most dangerous city in the country. That might earn them street cred, but Harvard’s home of Cambridge was ranked the #1 city in all of New England by Go Local and the #1 Dream Town in Massachusetts by Boston.com (that’s right, Boston.com ranked Cambridge #1). If you’re going to die young, at least die happy. Advantage: Harvard
Something About Academics
Lest we forget, people spend their entire youths trying to make themselves attractive candidates for matriculation, and months trying to assemble the perfect application (sound like you? get expert advice from this five-star college application course). But once accepted, which school has the most important top programs? It definitely depends on what you study, but I’m giving this advantage to Yale. Sure, Harvard has top programs in business, economics, education, math, physics, English and political science, but I can’t give my blessing to this excess of tradition.
Yale, on the other hand, boasts top programs in the fine arts, graphic design, photography, psychology, law, nursing, history and even paleontology (who knew?). Yale is investing in progressive ideas, and if there was ever a time America needed more of those, it’s now.
Scream Yourself Hoarse
Forget academics; let’s settle this on the playing field. And here is where things start to get interesting. For starters, Yale manages an outright victory with their mascot, the Handsome Dan Bulldog. This college classic would never swindle you out of millions of dollars, but I can’t say the same about the Crimson’s “John Harvard,” the creepiest 17th century pilgrim a human hand ever put to paper.
Harvard might be dominating The Regatta, the rowing rivalry between the two schools that dates back to 1852, but that just reinforces the fact that Harvard is as “old school” as it is old. Rowing is like cricket; it’s British and I might find it interesting on novelty alone, but it’s not going to make me paint my chest blue in zero degree weather.
And that brings me to The Game. The Game is the oldest football rivalry in college football, which makes it about as American as a Jackie-O apple pie. And Yale leads The Game’s series 65-57-8. You might attribute their success to the fact that they take The Game more seriously than Harvard, as evidenced by the greatest quote in The Game’s history, coined in 1916 by legendary Yale coach T.A.D. Jones: “Gentlemen, you are now going to play football against Harvard. Never again in your whole life will you do anything so important.” That sends chills down my spine. Go Handsome Dan!
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Fruits Of Its Labors
You might say that the best way to measure a school’s success is by the people it produces. I was giving Harvard a hard time for being stuck in the stone ages, but look at a few of its alumni: Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama are undoubtedly forward-thinking people, and Matt Damon and Natalie Portman are exceptionally beautiful (that’s got to be worth something, right?). But as neither Zuckerberg nor Damon ever graduated, I have to withhold judgment a while longer.
One thing our handy infographic doesn’t demonstrate is the fact that Harvard produced six U.S. presidents and four vice presidents. That’s double Yale’s numbers in both categories. Yale might be able to claim Bill Clinton (an enormous coup), but it also has to claim George W. Bush (hey, you win some, you lose some). In reality, both schools have extensive lists of notable alumni, but there’s something truly awesome and American about “the Harvard drop-out,” so I’m going with the Crimson on this one.
Winner Take All
If I’m shelling out $40,000+ a year to be educated, I would be foolish not to make education my top priority (and I would definitely invest in this financial aid guide to making college more affordable). A large endowment is impressive, but the difference between $20 billion and $30 billion is something only a swindling John Harvard loses sleep over. Notable alumni? Founders bragging rights? Those are things of the past. I might miss idyllic Cambridge, but if it were me, I’d be headed to New Haven for a progressive education and never look back. See you at The Game, John.