How Prestige Is Harvard Extension?

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

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  1. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    The answer to that is pretty easy, no. A HES degree is not held in the same esteem as an HC degree. Esteem is based on the opinions of others, and I do not believe that the majority of other people who no about HES and HC hold the degrees in the same esteem. Note that this is not a statement on the objective rigor of the schools or quality of the education. This is merely a statement regarding people's opinions. My bet is that one could very well create a program of study at HES that is just as rigorous (if not identical) to an HC student. They don't HAVE to do this, but they could.

    However, a HUGE part of HC's prestige has to do with the competitiveness of their admissions. IIRC, they admitted only 6% of their applicants this year. My bet is that AT LEAST 3 times as many applicants could have done well at HC. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the majority of students at top 25 schools could do well at HC. They might not do as well as the average HC student, but they would certainly pass. Part of what an HC degree says is not just "I'm smart enough to graduate Harvard College." It also says "I was smart enough to GET INTO Harvard College." The later group is MUCH smaller than the former.

    This image of selectivity is a huge part of the overall Harvard brand. However, it is by no means uniform across the 12 degree granting schools. You have HMS, which admits ~4% per year. HC admitted ~6% last year. HLS and HBS both admit ~12%. HKS admits ~20%, HGSE is ~55%. Some of the PhD programs are even more competitive Than any of the other schools within the university. IIRC, the PhD in English has an acceptance rate of ~ 2%. And then you have HES, which doesn't use a metric comparable to any of this.

    With all of that info, is a HGSE degree held in the same esteem as a HBS degree? Is a HBS degree held in the same esteem as an HMS degree? Where does the dental school fit in all of this? Would a bachelors degree in Computer Science from HC/SEAS be held in the same esteem as a Masters degree in Computer Science at GSAS/SEAS? On one hand, HC is more difficult to get into than the masters program at GSAS. On the other hand, the masters clearly deals with more advanced material than the bachelors degree, and from the same instructors. At the end of the day, if you think too hard about this stuff it will make your head explode. Instead, focus on what your goals are and which degree will help you accomplish those goals.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  2. Wow, this thread just won't die lol. Honestly, I don't think it matters that much. True, if a person were knowledgeable enough of HES, HC, HBS, etc. then it would probably make a difference. The fact of the matter is that MOST people DON'T really know.

    If you ask your average employer "What's the difference between HES and HC?"...I seriously doubt that the majority of them would be able to give you a true difference. That's not saying that there isn’t a difference, it's just that most people don't generally even do the "homework" to find out.

    Some names hold weight on their own. If you say, "I have a degree from Harvard University" (I think this would be correct to say if you graduated from HES), chances are the next question won’t be "Oh, was that from HES or HC?” As stated earlier the esteem is primarily based on opinions of others.
    My squadron commander in the Air Force attended HES. "Everyone" thought he was "God's gift to the Air Force". Granted he was/is a very smart person. Everyone one stated he attended "Harvard University". He was picked for the CSAF Scholar Masters Fellowships at Harvard U, which is a big deal for most people. While it was great, at his departing ceremony it was noted several times that he already had attended Harvard. We aren't talking apples and oranges but we are basically discussing the size of the orange slices.

    We live in a vacuum on this forum. We assume that most people have the knowledge that we do. In reality we are probably way more knowledgeable about things of this matter than the strong majority of people.
  3. scottae316

    scottae316 New Member

    :iagree: This is really the truth of the matter, 90+% of people would not know [or care probably] the difference.
  4. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Very true words.
  5. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Hi guys -

    1. "90% of the people in the world don't care about the difference between degrees"

    Of course this is true. However, we're discussing stuff on this forum and 90% of the world isn't here. Within the culture of this forum community we do know the differences, and anyone coming to this forum and asking questions in threads discussing quality of programs should expect this sort of conversation to be had. At best it's only useful to bring this up to diffuse angst.

    Can't say this with enough zeal: The people who routinely hire Harvard graduates into the types of jobs you'd want to go to Harvard to get.. know the difference between a Harvard College grad and a HES grad and will ask. More importantly, the career resources available to HC and other Harvard schools are not available to HES. So while the HES degree does differentiate in the 90% of those that don't know, you're at best differentiating yourself for jobs you could get with a degree from lesser known schools if you interviewed well enough to offset the name brand.

    2. Difference between HES and HC or other Harvard schools exists and it's more pronounced than differences at other schools with continuing ed options.

    So I totally get the whole argument of "Is an online degree really different within one school" and throwing UMass, Penn State and other schools out there. The thing is, we're discussing Harvard with this thread. Anyone that has any experience dealing with Harvard will tell you that there's a difference. Harvard College administration will tell you there's a difference. Faculty will tell you there's a difference. The only people stumping the lack of differences are the HES marketing teams and Shinagel. Heck, talk to HES admissions at depth and they'll advise of the differences, and if you get far enough into the program that you experience the culture of the entire school, you'll know the differences.

    3. There are plenty of good students at HES that could be going to the other Harvard schools if their lives had gone a bit differently.

    This is the best thing I've seen in the entire thread. It's entirely true, and it is possible to get a really high quality education from HES if you apply yourself. If you're just going for a quality education, you can't really go wrong with HES. If you're generally angsty about the strength of my writing or perceived belligerence of my posts otherwise and only read one thing here.. read this.
  6. Just because 90% of the world isn't here doesn't mean that they should be easily dismissed. I was under the impression that we were talking about prestige. If that's the case, our 10% of our perception of this matter is only a stroke on the canvas of an entire picture.

    I think you're somewhat missing the point or maybe I am. The question is not whether there is a difference between the two schools as it pertains to quality (unless I'm missing something). It doesn't really matter what school a person attends the quality between the programs will most likely always differ. I don't know of any school that is ranked (even though I wouldn't put much stock into rankings) at the same level in every program.

    The question is a matter of prestige (if I understand this thread correctly). Prestige can't be measured solely from within the institution. If that were the case the nearly every institution would be considered prestigious. The fact of the matter is that 8-9 out of 10 people would consider a degree from both schools as equal. True, I don't doubt that some employers are hiring and looking for those that graduated specifically from HC. If I had to guess then I would put that group in a small pool of employers.
  7. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    This one has actually changed recently. Previously, HES had access to a lot of the same resources as GSAS/HC (HES, GSAS and HC are all under FAS), EXCEPT on campus interviews (OCI). For those that do not know, OCI's are one of the key methods that the major financial, tech, and consulting companies use to recruit Ivy talent. The situation changed last year with a pilot program and was made official this year. Now, HES students with a 3.5 GPA or higher get full access to OCI's, just like HC and GSAS guys.

    I cannot emphasize enough how big a deal this is. OCI (called OCR, for on campus recruiting, at other universities) is one of the MAJOR reasons why you see so many Ivies working at major investment banks and financial firms while students from other schools can't even get an interview.

    I noticed the change in attitude regarding HES starting last year when they began selecting HES ALM in IT students with high GPAs to go to the Zuckerberg/Facebook recruiting event held at Harvard last year. On a micro level, I've had HC instructors that teach at HES forward job opportunities to both his HC class AND his HES class.

    I would debate that point. I don't see the difference being more pronounced at Harvard than at Georgetown, Northwestern, or Johns Hopkins (the schools I have the most exposure to). Sure, at some low tier state school there isn't any difference. However, at the top tier there are differences present. People on the net make a MUCH bigger deal about the Harvard distinction because it is Harvard. If anything, I see a higher percentage of daytime Harvard faculty teaching at HES than the daytime faculty of other top schools teaching at their school's continuing ed program.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  8. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Thanks for this. This is HUGE and likely changes my opinion about HES in a significant way.

    Certainly debatable. The thing is that Harvard makes a big deal about it, or has in the past.
  9. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    Your argument is flawed. the ALB and ALM degrees from Harvard are through their extension school. it is the equivalent of earning a degree from any other university's school of continuing education/extension, and I am sorry, but those programs are typically seen as less stringent than degree program from other colleges inside their respective universities. We really need to beat this topic to death a bit more here....
  10. LifeasT

    LifeasT member

    Harvard Extension is the worst school. Even UofP makes that school look like a diploma mill. Don't try to polish the reputation because you guys know as well as I do that Harvard University can never compete with UofP. Also, UofP is tier 1 school, and Harvard is like, the lowest tier with national accreditation, which is not even as good as regional accreditation. I feel bad for those who attend Harvard.

    I honestly believe Harvard Extension could compete with UofP. UofP is much more prestige than Harvard and the entire Ivy League, therefore they are the top 1 tier school of all time. US News ranking didnt even consider UofP because they are way off the grid of being the best school of all time. If you haven't consider UofP yet, then you are mistakenly misjudging this great school that everyone is overlooking.

    As for AUTiger, why are you offending Harvard when you should tell these fellow forum members how horrible this school is?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  11. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    I don't really think it is a phenomenon. I think where you see most of the crossover with instructors are full-time faculty in GSAS. It's likely easier to get them to teach HES courses because many of the classes have both HC/GSAS grad students and HES students in the course. That's just not feasible for an HBS professor. Because of the way courses are handled at HBS. First year's at HBS are known as RC's (required curriculum) and the entire RC class is broken down into 10 sections (A-J). Second year is known as EC (elective curriculum) and you get courses by going through a lottery process. EC courses allow cross registrants from all the colleges at harvard except HC and HES. They also allow students from Sloan (MIT) and Feltcher (Tufts) to cross-register if they get one of the available seats threw the lottery. Essentially, an HBS prof would have to cross the river and teach an additional section of a course at HES, and let's be honest, HBS professors are making a six figure salary + consulting work on the side. It's not like they are going to volunteer to teach a course for a couple thousand dollars. It's not worth their time.

    Also, Dr. Greyser is an HBS professor enmeritus and teaches a sports business course at HES (a few others as well, I believe). An awesome man, extremely sharp. If you ever get the chance to speak with him definitely take the opportunity.
  12. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    That depends on the degree. Any of the liberal arts master concentrations will require no fewer than 1 full (16 week fall or spring) semester plus 1 other (16 fall/16 summer/7 spring, NOT January). In addition, the new crack down on distance option means that ALL distance option courses count toward your distance learning cap of 6, even if you take it on campus.
  13. rebel100

    rebel100 New Member

    Yes, but she is talking about the ALB...I should have specified though. I think we're both right! :)
  14. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator

    Welcome, troll.

    Your stay will be short.

    Edit - Enjoy banned land.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  15. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq Member

    The great debate continues.

    This thread reminds me a lot of the active duty vs reserves debate.
  16. That is also a debate for the ages. :chairshot:
  17. vinodgopal

    vinodgopal New Member

    Its about the difference between Gold having its value as a rare metal and precious metal as against it being abundant in grabs like copper or steel. All that glitters is not gold. Is it?
  18. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Annnnnddd......I think that's enough.
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