Tag Archives: Harvard Kennedy School

The Benefits of Cross Registration at Harvard

By far, one of the perks of being at Harvard is being able to cross register. More specifically, students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education are able to register for courses at 12 of Harvard University’s schools as well as courses at MIT, Tufts, and Brown (for GSAS doctoral students).

Having this kind of opportunity truly gives students the chance to diversify and broaden their education; to elaborate, both the style of discourse and the point of views of students at each school can range widely. Therefore, although all classes I have taken have fostered intellectual thought and deep examination of theory, I have genuinely enjoyed seeing how both pedagogy and conversation shift between programs. For example, at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, I was privileged to learn among students who often assessed problems through an astute quantitative lens and it has since pushed me to strengthen my mathematics skills. Further, while enrolled at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, I listened to leaders from around the world appraise problems not by considering the individual but by considering entire populations—as a result, I am better poised to think globally as a decision maker. And in these examples is the jewel of cross registration: the chance to wrestle with and comprehend complex issues via a multiplicity of ideological, theoretical, and practical lenses.

No matter your home school, there is no dearth of engaging classes at Harvard (there are over 8,000 classes listed in course catalog). But if you want to better position your graduate school experience to be wide ranging and full of perspective, I recommend cross registering in at least one course outside of your home school as a way to expand your thinking. And, whichever classes or schools you enroll in, there is one sure thing—as a Harvard student you will learn from inspiring, gifted professors and learn among thoughtful, inquisitive students.

Note: To ensure that you have a spot in your ideal class, it is important that you research the registration steps long before the deadline. For example, each school (both within Harvard and outside Harvard) tends to have individualized quirks when it comes to registration (e.g., Harvard Business School often requires students to email professors a resume whereas Harvard Law School has some classes with deadlines almost two months before the norm). Therefore, make sure to look into the steps necessary to cross register before you join us on campus.

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.

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Adopting an American mindset: “no” means try harder (or is it just luck?)

Hello Readers!

During the Winter break, I’ve had a chance to visit New York and spend time with friends in Burlington, Vermont (A bit of trivial here: Burlington is the birthplace of John Dewey, the influential philosopher on education! You can visit the home in which he grew up)


I’m now taking a short course in January as a cross-registered student titled “The Arts of Communication”. It’s a course at the Harvard Kennedy School and focuses on public speaking. Alumni have consistently rated the course was one of the most useful in their careers. For popular courses such as this one, there is consistently a long waitlist. Although I had registered early, I didn’t receive a response about whether I was accepted or not.

One of the important lessons I quickly learnt when coming to the USA is that “no” does not necessarily mean “no”. Had I been in the same situation in Australia, I would have thought, “well, I guess I didn’t register early enough. Better figure out something else to do.”

Instead, because public speaking is a skill that I wanted to really work on, and because good communication is the foundation for all relationships, I tried a little harder. I contacted the Professor, and was able to sit in on the first class where she told me there was a spot for me available.

While it helped that I reached out to the Professor, there is a fine line between recognizing the difference between “no meaning try harder”, and having a false sense of entitlement. And in this case, as in most success stories (no matter how big or small), what we think is due to our determination or hard work, is actually luck

Here’s to a wonderful 2014!

PS Here is the Course Syllabus for those interested in accessing the readings.

Lisa Qin is a Master’s candidate in the International Education Policy program. She aims to create meaningful and sustainable reforms to address the complex issues of education inequality. 

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