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10 Mind Blowing Facts About Harvard University in 2024 [Updated]

most interesting facts about Harvard university

When I think of the best study-abroad universities, Harvard university somehow always tops my list. While it’s true that the university is known for its top-notch education and its worldwide reputation, I think this university has an added charm to it that carves a place in your heart as you learn more about it. There’s so much more to it than what you hear and while you may probably need a book full of facts and information to cover its glory, I will share some of the most interesting facts about Harvard university in my opinion. You can then resonate with my thoughts and understand how this university somehow always falls into the limelight and actually steals the show. 

Interesting Facts About Harvard University you may not know about


1. The Story Behind The Widener Library

You must have read some fun facts about Harvard University regarding the library collection at Harvard is the oldest in the country. There are over 3.5 million books so much so that there are four floors underground due to the need for expansion. Why do I consider this to be one of the most interesting facts about Harvard University? The library collection in Harvard belonged to a gentleman – Harry Widener who perished due to the Titanic boat sinking incident. He was a Harvard graduate who went on to become a businessman and a book collector. He decided to leave his collection with the University. 

most interesting facts about Harvard university

Source: Harvard Library

2. Harvard University Produces Future Presidents

While we recognize George Bush and John F Kennedy as famous US presidents whom we learned about in our history classes, Harvard University recognizes them as their once-upon-a-time students. The list of Presidents doesn’t just stop at them. Once you read the list of the alumni turned presidents below, many of whom won fully funded Harvard University Scholarships, you will see why we have included this among our most interesting facts about Harvard University:

  • Barack Obama
  • Rutherford Hayes
  • George W. Bush
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • John Quincy Adams, and 
  • John Adams

most interesting facts about Harvard university

Now you see why I mentioned earlier that Harvard University produces future presidents?

3. Dents On The Campus Sidewalks?

That was my reaction too when I first read about it. What makes these dents a part of our most interesting facts about Harvard University is due the history behind how they were caused. Back then, when the big US revolution was happening, cannonballs were a popular destructive tool. So these dents on the campus sidewalks are believed to be created as a result of throwing cannonballs from the windows of the dorm rooms.

4. The Johnson Gate Superstition

You will rarely find the Johnson Gate on the campus open. Many believe this as a hardcore Harvard superstition that the only times you pass through the Johnson Gate is when you’re getting into the university, and then again when you’re graduating. Any in-betweens are considered huge bad luck especially when you’re breaking such a long-lived tradition. When you go to Harvard University, make sure you find out the story behind this and add on to our most interesting facts about Harvard University.

If you’re an international student, after you’ve filled and submitted your application,  I recommend you read about the WES/EP evaluation for a better understanding of how your grades will be compared.

5. Commercial Filming Is A Big No-No

Remember watching ‘The Social Network’ the other day? No, that movie was not filmed at Harvard university even though the movie sets showed differently. Harvard University has banned commercial filming on its premises seeing it as a major distraction to its students. This no-filming rule started in 1970 and holds good even today keeping the student’s best interests in mind.
Planning to study in the US? You must check out the scholarships to study in the US.

6. Is It The John Harvard Statue Or The Statue Of Three Lies?

Harvard University’s most prominent feature is the tall standing John Harvard statue. But did you know that it is also known as the statue of three lies? Many students who go to the university and see the statue have seen it and validated it to be among the most interesting facts about Harvard University. What does the statue state?

most interesting facts about Harvard university

  1. It states that John Harvard was the founder but he was the first benefactor
  2.  It states that it was founded in 1638 but it was founded in 1636
  3. The statue is not of John Harvard but a random student model used by the sculptor

7. An Empire, Not A University

Classes at Harvard first began in a single-frame house and a college yard. Harvard University has come a long way since then. It now holds real estate totalling 5,457 acres of land, the size of over 4000 football fields!

8. 2023 was the year with the lowest acceptance rate since the inception

Harvard University’s acceptance rate was 3.19%, its record low in two centuries. Over the years, a low trend has been observed as the number of applications by thousands of students increases each year.

9. Harvard University is totally cool with hosting weddings!

Harvard students have the unique privilege of tying the knot in the Memorial Cathedral, as long as they secure their wedding date prior to their graduation. This remarkable opportunity adds an extra touch of magic to their academic journey and creates unforgettable memories in the heart of the university’s historic campus.

10. Harvard Admitted Its First Female Students in 1920

The first 12 female students of Harvard University in 1920

In 1920, a historic milestone was achieved as the Harvard Graduate School of Education welcomed its first class of female students, marking a transformative moment in the university’s history.


1. What are some mind-blowing facts about Harvard?

The following are three of Harvard University’s most well-known and distinctive facts: 

  • Harvard University was once known as “the college at New Towne” or “New College.”
  • The first printing press in British North America was inaugurated in 1638 at the institution.
  • The third-most well-known and photographed statue in the country is the Statue of Three Lies, which is situated in Harvard Yard.

2. What is so special about Harvard?

There are many aspects that make the university special. Harvard students have access to all of the university’s academic programmes, research centres, and faculty mentors. It’s the ideal place to explore your favourite and undiscovered academic interests thanks to its world-renowned staff, cutting-edge facilities, and personalised training.

3. What are some best-kept secrets at Harvard University?

The three best-kept secrets of Harvard University would be: 

  • The statue of John Harvard includes three lies.
  • Harvard University refers to its “majors” as “concentrations.”
  • Veritas (truth) is Harvard’s motto, and it can also be found on its logo.

4. What is Harvard University’s original name?

The university’s original name was “New College,” and its primary goal was to educate clergy. The institution was renamed Harvard University in honour of the Rev. John Harvard in 1639.

5. What are the qualifications to get into Harvard?

Harvard University admission criteria expect you to target the 75th percentile, which entails scoring at least 1580 on the SAT or achieving a 35 on the ACT. Additionally, maintaining a GPA of 4.18 or above is recommended. Should your GPA fall below this threshold, it’s essential to compensate by attaining a higher SAT/ACT score.

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most interesting facts about Harvard university

10 Mind Blowing Facts About Harvard University in 2024 [Updated]

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