After the initial shock of your acceptance wears off and you have already introduced yourself to your cohort via email, it is important to channel your energy to the next phase of coming to Harvard: finding a place to live. Thankfully, Cambridge—and more broadly, Boston—offer myriad places to live but with each place comes pros and cons. Below you will find some information on the most popular options.
Harvard Housing | Graduate Housing
If you are at all like me, you will want to spend your graduate experience as an engaged member of the Harvard community. Thus, it would make sense to try and live as close to the University as possible. Though you will be at school for classes, you will probably also want to attend group meetings, clubs, activities, social hours, and speaker series—living close to campus makes the commute easy and strips the need of public transportation.
Cronkhite: I chose to spend my year living in the Cronkhite Graduate Center. Cronkhite is a graduate dorm (you must be 21+ to live in it) situated three blocks away from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and across the street from Radcliffe Lawn. Though single dorms rooms can be pricey ($1200-$1400 but with all expenses included) and you have to share restrooms, it makes getting the school beyond easy (especially during the frigid winter). Additionally, though approximately 50% of the residents attend the Graduate School of Education, the dorm houses students from all over the University and as a result, makes it is easy to find an intellectually diverse set of friends. Harvard Housing also has 20+ other properties in the area.
GSAS: Another option is the dorms available at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Like Cronkhite, these are located close to school and are actually a bit cheaper ($900-$1200). However, these dorms do not have the same social actives and events that happen at Harvard Housing properties. Also, students who are interested in this property need to apply in advance as a lottery is used to determine who is accepted.
Getting a Place on Your Own
Before writing this, I asked classmates about their experiences renting places. As for the individuals who rented cheap and far away from school, they noted that you should take into account the added amount of time you will spend in transit (hopefully you can read on the bus without feeling nauseous). Also, once you leave campus, you are usually gone for the day as the commute is too long to attempt it twice. However, if you, like many of us, are ballin’ on a budget, this can lead to a much more affordable and financially responsible year (but do account for costs like transit, heat, gas, hot water, and internet as some times the final cost is not much cheaper than closer options).
I recommend reaching out Office of Student Affairs if you are considering renting a property. Everyone in the office is extremely helpful and Alex is well versed on best rental practices for Boston whether you are searching with a broker (they charge one month’s rent) or off of Craigslist.
Best of luck during your transition to Cambridge!
Daniel Dickey is a Master’s of Education candidate in Higher Education, and was elected the Chief Financial Officer and Higher Ed Senator for the HGSE Student Council. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Daniel taught high school English in an urban school as a Teach For America corps member.