Ivy League Colleges and Universities

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

A lot of people think that the only thing to do in Cambridge, Massachusetts is stroll around the quaint streets and along the banks of Charles River. But they are wrong! You get to really walk in historic times among the brightest minds of the US and the world.

Five years ago my baby brother had a dilemma. He had to choose between getting a Ph.D on a full scholarship at MIT or Harvard. I have no idea where I got my genes from because I barely managed to make it out of school with a C average, nonetheless be dealt this sort of situation. I’ll tell you one thing, there are worse problems to have.

He ended up going to MIT because he was a Satellite and Communication Engineer major. This year he graduated and we got a tour of MIT, but made some time to enjoy an evening at Harvard as well.

Fun Facts About MIT Cambridge, MA


Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

• MIT first admitted students in 1865.
• Construction of MIT’s first building began in 1863, in a landfill area of the Back Bay, in the estuary of the Charles River.
Infinite Corridor – The long hallway connecting many of the buildings of the main campus, is one-sixth of a mile long. It was always rumored that the only pedestrian tunnel systems longer than the ones at MIT existed at the Kremlin and the Pentagon.
• MIT is predominantly an engineering school.
• The name of that traditional MIT hymn is “The Engineer’s Drinking Song”.
• The actor James Woods attended MIT in the late 60′s, but he never graduated.
• John Nash, the Nobel Laureate immortalized in the book “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar was a professor at MIT.
• MIT offers a pirate certificate to students who complete four physical education classes: pistol, archery, sailing, and fencing.
• Everything at MIT is numbered. Seriously, everything. MIT students pretty much speak in code.

Admissions Facts of MIT:

Selected undergraduate admissions statistics for 2012

• Applicants: 18,109
• Admits: 1,620
• Percentage admitted: 8.9%

Selected Graduate admissions statistics for 2012:

• Applications for graduate study were received from 22,588 candidates.
• Admission was offered to 3,504 candidates


Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Fun Facts About the First University in the United States – Harvard University

• Anyone can come and enjoy the historic grounds of Harvard University, it is open to the public.
• Harvard University was founded in 1636 by John Harvard.
• In 1764 Original Harvard Hall burned. This destroyed around 5,000 volumes and all but one of John Harvard’s books.
• The Massachusetts Constitution of 1790 officially recognized Harvard as a university.
• When Harvard University was originally founded it was run by the state which was also run by the Church. It was privatized in 1830.
• In 1914 Professor Theodore William Richards wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry for determination of atomic weights; he is the first of 28 Harvard Nobel laureates.
• In 1940 John F. Kennedy graduates. Later on Harvard Kennedy School was created in his honor, where students are equipped with the conceptual framework and the specific skills they will need to be successful leaders in public service.
• Fidel Castro was guest of Law School Forum in 1959.
• In 1997 Mary Fasano became the oldest person ever to earn a Harvard degree at the age of 89.
• 2011 Harvard celebrated its 375th anniversary.
• Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
• Harvard’s nickname is Crimson. Therefore, they are called the Harvard Crimsons.
• During the Revolutionary War, Harvard’s buildings housed soldiers and classes had to be relocated to Concord.
• They are a member of the Ivy League.
• Seventy-five Nobel Peace Prize winners are affiliated with Harvard.
• The names of eight Harvard alumni appear on the signing list of the Declaration of Independence.
• Harvard has about 3,000 courses.
• A few of former presidents graduated from Harvard, including Obama.
• Widener Library’s 10 floors (four of which are underground) make it the second-largest library in the U.S.
• Most of the classes only have ten students per professor.

Harvard 2

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Admissions Facts for Harvard

Applicants 34,303
Admitted 2,076
Only 2% of students throughout its history have flunked out of Harvard

Harvard rejects literally hundreds of candidates with 1400-plus SAT scores and 4.0 GPA’s in favor of students with lesser academic achievements, because they also want students with a variety of skills that meet a combination of factors. They make 90% of the students in this university.