High SAT scores, 4.0 GPA, and extracurricular out the door; these are all “simple” requirements to get into Harvard University. When imagining the picture perfect Harvard student, many of us may also picture a student heading into engineering, finance, or program development. As the stereotype goes, students who score well enough to get into Ivy League schools were typically on a STEM track, but according to the many of the universities this is anything but true.
Harvard has always boasted one of the best theater programs around including famous alumni and world class programs ranging from Shakespeare to new modern monologues—showing that a strong academic drive is exactly what it takes to be in theater. Whether it ranges from all night rehearsals or having to memorize thousands of words within a week period, the emotional and mental capacity that it takes to be in theater is actually what Harvard and many other Ivy League schools are looking for when combing through applicants.
Harvard is known for its secret societies and other groups globally and they of course exist in the arts world too. The most prominent one, the Hasty Pudding Club, started in 1795 with a couple of students in their dorm room talking about how they wanted to add a new group on campus. Since then the club was organized and broken off into many different sub groups for those who are interested in acapella, musicals, or any other genre you can imagine.
Being Harvard, the club has many notable alumni, such as Rashida Jones (Boston Public, The Office, The Social Network) and Megan Amram (Parks and Recreation) who continued into the arts. The club also has many other alumni who did not move forward into the worlds of art such as Charlie Baker (CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care) and Andrew Farkas (CEO, Island Capital Group LLC).
So just remember that the next time you think of Harvard or any other Ivy League, push away the stereotypical number crunching and open up your mind to the whole new world of Ivy League Arts.