The Intactness of Harvard’s Reputation

Harvard Reputation, Reputation of Harvard, Harvard University Reputation

Harvard need not worry about the SFFA v. Harvard trial negatively impacting its reputation (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

Lots of folks ask us questions about highly selective college admissions every day. Maybe they ask us about the importance of the college interview. Or about just how specific one needs to be in a school’s supplemental essays. Or about how to navigate addressing poor test scores. You name it, we get asked it. But one thing folks haven’t been asking us of late is about the Harvard admissions trial. Well, let’s correct that. We’ve been asked every day for the last couple of weeks to comment on the Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard University case to various media outlets, but parents and students, well, they haven’t asked a single question of us about the trial. And why?

The Revelations of the Harvard Trial Are Not Revelatory

Parents and students haven’t asked us about the developments in the Harvard trial because the trial is one big duh. Asian Americans face discrimination in admissions, the attorneys for SFFA argue. Yes, we’ve been saying as much for many years. These are the practices that lead to discrimination against Asian American applicants, the attorneys for SFFA demonstrate. Yes, we’ve been saying all this for years too. We can go on and on. There has not been one revelation in the Harvard trial that has left us slack-jawed or even a little bit surprised. Not one. And our clients, well, they’re informed parents and students — because we’ve made them informed — so you can bet they’re not slack-jawed either. They’re yawning.

Harvard Will Suffer No Reputational Damage

Another question we haven’t been asked is if Harvard’s reputation will take a hit as a result of the SFFA v. Harvard trial. And that’s because Harvard is Harvard is Harvard is Harvard. That’s right. It’s Harvard. Who isn’t going to apply to Harvard, to secure one of its coveted seats, because the school has stood trial for its admissions practices? Who isn’t going to go to Harvard because of alleged Asian American discrimination in admissions? Who isn’t going to think of Harvard as one of the finest schools in all the world because its admissions officers, like all admissions officers, make decisions with implicit bias?

Harvard has been around for centuries — since 1636 in fact. The Ivy League has been around a long time, too. Ivy League schools — and especially Harvard University — may end up in the rapid fire news cycle from time to time. Scandal strikes all college campuses, irrespective of their prestige. But when the school is an Ivy League school, when the school is Harvard, not much changes. And why? Because it’s the Ivy League. Because it’s Harvard. It’ll always be an Ivy League school. It’ll always be Harvard.


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