How Prestige Is Harvard Extension?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sshuang, Mar 3, 2009.

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  1. Arch23

    Arch23 New Member

    I don't disgree with you at all that students use prestige, legacy, networks, etc. in their school selection choice and neither am I saying that just because Harvard Extension's degree is a Harvard degree that it carries the prestige that Harvard College does. The analogy wasn't good because you utilized materially different objects (Toyota and Ferrari) to represent the situation between materially similar objects (Harvard degrees) as a take-off point for the social construct.

    If you had used, among many possible examples for instance, the Camry vs the Tercel (both factually Toyota cars) in light of the Harvard College vs Harvard Extension (both factually Harvard degrees), the resulting social construct (the former being more prestigious than the latter) would have been consistent and the take-off point for arguing would have been clearer and much more pronounced. At this point, the analogy is not congruent, and no amount of philosophical fussing changes that. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2009
  2. bmills072200

    bmills072200 New Member

    Now it is not everyday that I read about an analogy not being conguent and about differing amounts of philisophical fussing...that is why I love this board...

    To put my 2 cents in... I would mostly agree with an earlier post that states that in the "real" world (outside degreeinfo) no one would ever know the difference between a HEX degree and a Harvard degree...

    So, if you can afford it and want a flashy impact on your resume, I say go for it!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2009
  3. Arch23

    Arch23 New Member

    I'm willing to bet the same $$$...
  4. Arch23

    Arch23 New Member

    Okay, I'll shut my mouth for now, he he :)
  5. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Harvard (9% acceptance rate) and UCLA (26%) are highly selective. They are similar in that respect and both can be likened to high performance sportscars. Harvard might be the more expensive Italian model, but sportscars nevertheless.

    San Jose State and Harvard Extension are significantly less selective. (I think that SJSU might be more selective than HEX since it only accepts 65% of its freshman applicants.) Both see a large part of their function as extending higher education opportunity to the broader community, as opposed to restricting it to a carefully chosen elite cadre.

    These are different kinds of vehicles. A Prius is far more fuel efficient than a Ferrari but it isn't likely to turn babes' heads or win races.
  6. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Same here. My own little story- when I signed up for my HES course last fall, as I explained it to people in my circle, the first words out of my mouth were always "Harvard has an open enrollment option through their continuing education department...and I'm planning on taking a class ..." etc. The reaction I received was always very positive!
    For what it's worth, my Dean (boss) thought it was a wonderful program, and encouraged my participation.

    I'm always a little cynical about people who go out of their way to tell you why they would never do such and such, and so you should never do such and such....
  7. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    You should be. The world is filled with people who do not do and thus, give the same advice. I'm positive that there isn't one Harvard Extension graduate who is worrying about how their degree is being portrayed on the, much less whether it fits the definition of a Ferrari-badged Prius. They're out there doing, not giving advice not to do.

    The only analysis that should matter regarding HEX is whether it satisfies your cost/benefit analysis and whether it's right for you.
  8. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Well said!
  9. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    For what it's worth, one of my sisters-in-law is a double Harvard graduate (A.B. & M.B.A.), and I asked her about HEX. She didn't seem to know too much about it, other than she thought it was the continuing ed branch of Harvard, so there probably isn't much bias within the Harvard community itself. I know that HEX graduates can join the Harvard Club, which is pretty damn cool if you ask me.
  10. HikaruBr

    HikaruBr Member

    Some people in this board have some strange conceptions about Hrvard and Harvard Extension.

    First, Harvard Extension is NOT Open Admission - you need to pass three classes with B or more grades. That's VERY different from Open Admission policy. Yes, it is a different admission process, maybe easier (I'm not sure about that...) but it's still not open admission.

    Second, some people seem to think that Harvard has prestige only because is selective - actually, is the other way around. It is so selective because it can be thanks to its prestige.

    The prestige comes from the outstanding research, teaching and overall education from the University. Not because is tough to get in,

    And guess what? You would have the same education quality in the Extension School.
  11. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Harvard describes its extension classes as 'open enrollment' classes that are 'open to the public'.

    Every college requires that its students maintain a suitable grade-point average in order to remain enrolled. What HEX seems to be doing is admitting pretty much everyone into individual classes, then admitting those who still remain after three classes to the degree programs. I'm guessing that they postpone admission to the degree programs in order to weed out students who aren't serious or who aren't prepared for university level work.

    Nobody has said that Harvard is prestigious only because it's highly selective.

    But it does seem to be implicit in this thread's prestige theme that Harvard students are somehow special, superior to students in other schools and programs. The fact that Harvard students are perceived as being so highly selected is a big part of what makes them seem so elite.

    Some of the professors that Harvard Extension has teaching its classes are impressive.

    But regarding research, are HEX students included in the laboratories and research projects being conducted in other Harvard schools? Harvard is obviously a world research leader and that's another big source of its prestige. But how much contact do HEX students have with any of that?

    Some relatively pedestrian schools get their masters level students involved in fascinating and in a few cases internationally prominnt work.

    I should say that I don't have any objection to Harvard Extension. I positively like it. It's great, very cool, a fine choice for many students.

    My only disagreement is with those who want to insist that Harvard Extension graduates are an elite, better somehow than graduates of other programs and deserving of special priority consideration from employers and the public. It's the failure to bend a knee and kiss the ring, the determination to treat HEX as a peer of "lesser" programs, that's being treated as if were an insult and an affront.
  12. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    But regarding research, are HEX students included in the laboratories and research projects being conducted in other Harvard schools? Harvard is obviously a world research leader and that's another big source of its prestige. But how much contact do HEX students have with any of that? >>

    Depends if you are on campus or at a distance, and the term. In psych, our research participation was limited to being a subject- but was required. I participated in 8 hours as a subject in 5 studies, 1 per month. I got to choose the projects I wanted. If I were on campus, that number could have been higher, but you are limited to what you can do at a distance. Also, there are lab assistantships open to HES students, but again, you have to be on campus. So, for distance students, that means summer session only. Beyond that- designing and conducting research is a requirement for the thesis portion (starts after your 6th class) or if you graduate and start a PhD.

    In our class, the TAs often posted lab openings- there were at least 3 that I can remember- open to anyone in our class who wanted to apply. Had I attended summer session, I would have been working on at least research project without question. (and would not yet have been a degree-seeking student). Harvard professors work in a variety of settings, including hospitals in the area, so placement in research postitions is actually pretty easy.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2009
  13. telefax

    telefax New Member

    Not a Harvard man, but...

    Forsaking the discussion of snob appeal for prestige based on accomplishment, I'd recommend the program to anyone interested in the liberal arts. Based on the second-hand information I have received about the Extension classes, it sounds like they're just as rigorous as the "full-caffeine" Harvard. It's hard to compare two different disciplines, but I've had some conversations with folks in the ALM program, and thought that their classes sounded comparable to my Fall course at Harvard's Divinity School.

    Bear in mind, this is coming from a CSU grad who is a big fan of the similarly-themed HUX program at CSU - Dominguez Hills.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2009
  14. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator

    I had to take the "Garmond" font off of that.

    For a brief minute there, I almost had a bonding moment with my in-laws who have their computers set up to view everything in a large font.
  15. HikaruBr

    HikaruBr Member

    Here you go - the classes are open admission, not the degree programs.
    To say the programs are open admission is a mistake, plain simple. They are not.

    Yeah, the process is different, but if that's the problem most of the Univesities in the world should be considered open admission because they have different admission processes (the admission process in the USA is very peculiar and basically not followed anywhere else.)

    About the research, Jennifer post answered that.

    But I'd like to point another thing that people forget about he Extension School:

    Some of the programs are ONLY offered in the Extension School. If you wanna take one of those subjects for your Master at Harvard you will have to go to the Extension School. No other option.

    Actually that's how I got to know HES.

    I was looking for a Master in Communications or something related (either Journalism or Advertising) and a Master in Computer Animation, Digital Art or something related.

    I've discovered that Harvard does have such programs - but only in the Extension School. The ALM in Journalism and the ALM in IT - Digital Arts and Science tracks.

    So, if I decide to enroll in one of those programs I'm trying to "exploit" the Harvard name and get in the "easy way"? How come if they are only offered at HES?

    But as the main point of the thread is about the prestige, let me add a second point as a foreigner student in the USA: outside Uncle Sam, a Harvard degree is a Harvard degree and everyone will go WOW.

    People are not even aware that Harvard has different "Colleges", much less aware of this prestige fight.
  16. telefax

    telefax New Member

    Yeah, I saw the notification eail, went back and said, "Huh. I can't read it either." Back to standard formatting!
  17. mirage41b

    mirage41b New Member

    Wonderful Program

    Hello everyone....
    I just graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in the spring of 2008. I had excellent grades and was consistently on the Dean's List. My only set back is standardized tests and I asked a close professor for advice. My professor and chancellor (well-known congressman Marty Meehan) recommended the program and had nothing but good things to say about the school. Marty Meehan even told me that he has taken courses at the Extension school previously. I registered for the program and started less than a week after graduation. I am know accepted into the program and absolutely love the quality of learning. I have learned so much and am proud to say that I attend the Extension school. We do the same Harvard Business case studies in all my classes and it really brings out the “real world” scenarios opposed to just strictly studying a text book. All of my teachers so far are Harvard graduates and/or owners of multi-million dollar businesses so I can say that I am learning from the best.
    Starting next semester, the Extension school is raising their overall requirements for the program. I know this because I recently received a letter from the University saying that changes will be made but not into specifics. I know the min GPA requirement is increasing along with other changes. I think a lot of people are finding out about the program and that it is the best deal in the Boston area. I well kept secret. I would advise everyone who wants a challenge and works full-time and can take courses in the evening to strongly consider this program.
  18. addision

    addision Member


    In addition, when you graduate from HEX don't you get the benefit of being a graduate like using the career center, going to their career fairs and alumni functions?

    If you work these correctly you can make some good contacts and possibly a good job.
  19. assist2009

    assist2009 New Member

    Went to Harvard, never heard of this

    This is an interesting thread that caught my eye so I thought I would add my thoughts. The debate seems to be a little off the original topic question was whether the person's child who can not get into Harvard College should go to Harvard Extension instead. The debate here also delves into whether the Extension school is prestigious. I earned a graduate degree from the university; not from the Extension school. Take what I say as just my own opinion.

    First of all, the original poster should try to get their high school graduate to get into the best school that he or she is capable of getting into. Harvard Extension is in no way "an alternative" to Harvard college. In fact they are amazingly different in experience (Extension students don't dine in the halls or reside in the halls, etc.) and prestige, which may or may not matter for the student. Clearly this student is not destined for Harvard or Stanford or MIT or the like, and hence we are in this case considering the Extension school. I would think the best undergraduate school for someone is a traditional undergraduate program and not the Extension school.

    Secondly, in terms of the general program prestige and if it is a big joke. The Harvard website states that the program is designed mostly for people in their late 30s, where clearly their career path is already set and the Harvard Extension school will not help much. All of us do continuing professional courses through our life, doing them at the Extension school isn't any better or worse. But again, going to the Extension school in your 20s does look odd, because it is an odd choice to begin with for that age. One can spin this to appear as though they went to one of the more competitive schools within Harvard, though for the most elite employers it will make no difference. That's because they will see the transcript or not care about an arts and science degree, which either way won't help the student anyway.
  20. frankschwartz

    frankschwartz New Member

    What is more reputed? MS general management at harvard extension or part time MBA at Boston university?
    What is more reputed? MS general management at harvard extension or part time MBA at Boston university? I wanted to know in regard of its prestige, alumni network, job prospective and the quality of education? thanks
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