The Ivy Coach Daily

June 8, 2024

Mission Statements of Top Universities in 2024

College Mission Statements, University Mission Statements, University Missions
Students should not cite a university’s mission statement in their essays (photo credit: Dansan4444).

Previously Published on December 10, 2017:

Among colleges and universities, a mission statement is a brief statement of the values and principles that guide the institution. Mission statements are highly thought-out by university administrators, as they are meant to reflect the ways the university fulfills its educational responsibilities. These statements can vary from school to school, but for the most part they hit many of the same marks: advancing higher education, discovering new knowledge, and teaching promising young people.

Mission Statements from Top Universities

Below are mission statements from the universities that topped the 2024 Best National Universities ranking from U.S. News & World Report: Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Yale University.

Princeton University:

Princeton University advances learning through scholarship, research, and teaching of unsurpassed quality, with an emphasis on undergraduate and doctoral education that is distinctive among the world’s great universities, and with a pervasive commitment to serve the nation and the world.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges. MIT is dedicated to providing its students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

Harvard University:

The mission of Harvard College is to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society. We do this through our commitment to the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education.

Beginning in the classroom with exposure to new ideas, new ways of understanding, and new ways of knowing, students embark on a journey of intellectual transformation. Through a diverse living environment, where students live with people who are studying different topics, who come from different walks of life and have evolving identities, intellectual transformation is deepened and conditions for social transformation are created. From this we hope that students will begin to fashion their lives by gaining a sense of what they want to do with their gifts and talents, assessing their values and interests, and learning how they can best serve the world.

Stanford University:

Stanford was founded almost 150 years ago on a bedrock of societal purpose. Our mission is to contribute to the world by educating students for lives of leadership and contribution with integrity; advancing fundamental knowledge and cultivating creativity; leading in pioneering research for effective clinical therapies; and accelerating solutions and amplifying their impact.

Yale University:

Yale is committed to improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice. Yale educates aspiring leaders worldwide who serve all sectors of society. We carry out this mission through the free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Does it sound like a whole lot of fluff? Aside from some differences in academic focus and curriculum across these schools, they all more or less value the same thing! Of course, it is important that these schools succinctly state what drives them forward, but we would discourage anyone from reading too much into the mission.

What High Schoolers Get Wrong About University Mission Statements

A common misconception about university mission statements is that they make for good content in a college application essay. We can not tell you how many times we at Ivy Coach have seen essays where a mission statement is cited, reworked into the writing, or referenced. This is never a good idea! Sure, colleges want to see that their applicants have thoroughly researched the programs, culture, traditions, and values of their school, but the mission statement is the lowest-hanging of all of these fruits. Mission statements do not vary substantially between schools. Referencing the mission in an essay is about as bland and surface level as it gets.

Instead, students should consider all of the details that distinguish one school from the next. If Harvard has a specific fellowship that interests you, MIT has a unique research opportunity that can not be found anywhere else, or Stanford has a student tradition that seems particularly exciting, write about that instead!

How Ivy Coach Helps Students Choose Essay Topics

If you are interested in optimizing your child’s application essays to ensure the best possible chance of admission to an elite university, fill out Ivy Coach’s complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch!

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