What is a Cohort?

At HGSE you hear the word ‘cohort’ constantly.  Students, professors, and admissions brochures refer to it as if it was the secret ingredient in HGSE’s award-winning recipe- and in a way this is true.  As a perspective student I kept thinking “okay, this cohort is clearly important, but what exactly is it?”

A cohort is a group of students studying in the same academic program.  Like undergrad, your class is determined by the year in which you and classmates will graduate (HGSE Class of ’15).   Your cohort is the group of students in your program concentration and class year (IEP Class of ’15).

There are fifteen cohorts on campus- one for each of the concentrations, as well as the Ed.L.D. and Ed.D/Ph.D cohorts.  Initially, you’ll get to know members of your cohort through proximity; members the same cohort spend a significant amount of time together throughout orientation.   During the semester, you’ll see the same familiar faces as you complete curriculum requirements and become involved with interest groups and student organizations on campus.  Cohorts develop internal communications systems and become an integral part of your social circle and support network while at HGSE.  But the truth is, no one can accurately describe a cohort because each cohort is unique.  A cohort is a community and each member of that community contributes something different to the overall shape and character of it.

You’ll receive text blasts, Facebook notifications, and mass emails inviting you to chili and board games at Laura’s, a tailgate before the Harvard football game, hikes in New Hampshire, library crawls (how else are you going to see all the libraries and reading rooms on campus?), study groups, local concerts, redsox games, and Askwith lectures. Your cohort will help drive your intellectual, professional and personal growth during your time at HGSE, and it will be what gets you through all of the late nights, long papers, and group projects.

Your cohort is your biggest cheerleader, most honest critic, some of your best friends, but it is not your competition.  HGSE students expect to become leaders and innovators in their chosen fields. We recognize that the best leaders are collaborators and the most important innovations occur across disciplines.   HGSE is about preparing you to make an impact, and your cohort will be one of your most important resources as you embark on this journey.

Me with Tim, also in the Higher Ed cohort, after we hiked Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire.
Me with Tim, also in the Higher Ed cohort, after we hiked Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire.

Ashley Litzenberger is a Graduate Assistant in HGSE Office of Admissions and Master’s of Education candidate in the Higher Education Program. Prior to attending HGSE, Ashley worked in Israel on projects that promoted peace dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian youth. She looks forward to exploring the ways in which colleges and universities facilitate intercultural dialogues.