If there aren’t many graduates from a university, it’s very hard to build a reputation. I think apart from pushing the degree name change issue (which doesn’t bother me terribly because I just accept is as stupid institutional bureaucratic miscellany and dismiss it as a cartoon), I would like the school to adopt an explicit policy that the rigor and academic standards of their coursework shall mirror the same of the schools from which their courses are drawn. I see more and more people willing to emphasize their Harvard Extension School degree or teaching credentials, and there is definitely more student pride. Too many courses and degree programs don’t have Harvard College/GSAS/HBS/SEAS equivalents. While there will always be elitists out there who judge HES as a “bastard child” of Harvard College, I don’t think HES students need to be ashamed. Why the Harvard Extension School still struggles with reputation. I know this may read as a generalization–there is truth to the fact that the posturing type is the minority, yet they are significantly louder and forceful than the others. The instruction and professors are all excellent. In a world that is changing at an accelerated rate, learning, studying needs to be continuous – like building something over time. HES issues diploma with word "extension" on it. Even Harvard University seems to treats the Extension School like its 2nd-class step child. I am riding the T and I can read an advert “Sign-up now for Quincy College classes” next to another advert “Register now for classes at Cambridge College” (which to date is no longer in Cambridge); and sandwich between these and “Take classes at Benjamin Franklin College” (a tech-centric school) is Harvard DCE’s “Enroll now in Extension classes” advertisement. Qualifying for admission into HES’ bachelor degree program after getting B or better in 2 to 3 classes cannot be compared to Harvard College’s 4.5% acceptance rate last year. Yes, there is still the stigma of it having the word “Extension” in it and the negative or mediocre connotation that anything with the word “extension” in it brings because it is synonymous with some sub-par “extension” programs at other schools. The Extension School is for "non-traditional" students. Kudos to HES streamline admissions process but there needs to be a better way of either integrating or differentiating between Extension students who are non-degree and degree candidates. Incoming Harvard Extension School students often want to know about the pathway of an average student. The result has been an explosion of students and graduates, particularly since 2000. But I question if it will hinder my ultimate goal of getting into a brick and mortar PhD program. Yes, it is really Harvard. At Harvard, all of the extension school's degree programs combine online and face-to-face learning. The Harvard Extension School, or HES, offers its students degrees or certificates from Harvard, but from an academic program that can be completed remotely and without embarking on the full admission process. I have about 15 MOOCs from HES under my belt, some for certificates and others taken free of charge. I haven’t gotten any of those sideways glances or whatever it is people seem to be afraid of experiencing. Having terrible test anxiety for large tests like SAT etc, my GRE scores failed to get me into state school. Among the hundreds of tweets in reaction, one (humorous) tweet stands out because the premise reflects the prevalent reputation of online education, https://twitter.com/ianbremmer/status/1253296442678149122?s=20 If there aren’t many graduates from a university, it’s very hard to build a reputation. (The ALM Management and IT programs have been particularly successful, graduating thousands of people in the past 10 years. The problem has been not with the faculty or the quality of education, but with some other students. On average that works out to 150 degrees granted per year. Well before the current pandemic crisis, Harvard DCE has moved the majority of course offerings to online. Harvard Extension School. I don’t know of any other programme out there that’s as flexible/hybrid as this; for example, UPenn equivalent, The LPS Online is now completely…online. The Harvard Extension School and MIT unveiled on Monday a joint initiative that establishes the MITx MicroMasters program as a new pathway for an Extension School graduate degree. HES students work hard for their courses, many of which are taught by Harvard faculty. We’re all learning together and the experience is exponentially more more beneficial as a community dialogue instead of a self-given lecture. Most of the degrees granted are not in management. Of course making sure, that the admission requirements combined with the requirements for staying in the program, are kept at a comparable level to the other Harvard schools, and that the courses/lecturers are also handpicked by Harvard. Harvard extension school - how difficult is it ? If you make an effort to connect with your professors and let them know your intention to apply to PhD programs, I am sure you will be able to get letters of recommendation. Those who are unprepared for serious study won’t get very far. So you can just take some courses, freely, if you want, if you are interested in certain topics. There is something about adult/continuing education that makes people feel like they have something to prove, perhaps some past failure or setback they can’t let go of, and in my experience they use the Harvard name to convince themselves and others that “see, I’m worthy.” People who talk in class are good, but people who dominate class with their own insecurities are bad. Founded in 1910 to extend Harvard's resources to the Greater Boston community, it has evolved over … With that said, I think that the segment of people who discounted HES degrees simply because they are often times majority-online (for those of us not in the Boston area) has declined precisely because almost everything is now online everywhere and even in a post-COVID world (if that ever happens), attitudes towards online education will probably stay more accepting long-term because of this. I am not saying they do not exist, but I did not find anyone pretending to have a MBA from HBS on linkedin.com. There’s still a lot of skepticism about the quality of learning in the era of Zoom and Blackboard/Canvas, but now that the traditional full time degree programs at Harvard, Yale, etc., are almost entirely online, I’ve noticed less of an attitude when I mention I’m also taking HES courses for a second master’s degree. The Following search on linkedin.com “site:linkedin.com Harvard Extension School Masters of Liberal Arts” returns more than 26,000 results. As I enter the back-nine of my time here at Harvard Extension School, I have realized how grateful I am to be a part of this great institute. A former Indian coworker did it. In response to the pandemic, Harvard moved all summer school courses to online following suit of earlier action taken in Spring term. Getting out of the regional bubble always seems to help. I would like the school to adopt an explicit policy that the rigor and academic standards of their coursework shall mirror the same of the schools from which their courses are drawn. Executive Education. Online. I’ve made this statement before to groups of peers in classes and those outside Boston tend to agree and those near Boston are a bit reticent. In my case I have already told my manager and client (side gig) it’s going to be HES and they both are fine. I’m actually really really interested in a HES programme but the bad rap (because of dishonest alumni; the judgement of elitists doesn’t bother me) really really bugs me. Here’s my answer to the first question about building a good Harvard Extension School reputation. Contrary to many posts on this blog we can conclude that most people are proud to say they completed a “Harvard Extension School Masters of Liberal Arts” and they are not hiding the Harvard school they went to, furthermore it is clear that employers hire and promote HES MLA graduates. Anyone who claims that Harvard Extension School courses are poor quality is making up stories. Amazon, Go to company page Other stuff is just the noise. “Adult education” or “studying while working” had a certain meaning 40-60 years ago, but today (and tomorrow) it is becoming a very different thing. that you as of now just don’t get at peer institutions like UPenn’s LPS. By identity crisis, I mean there is a disconnect between how HES is marketed and what HES offers. Harvard isn't trying to hide ANYTHING - the Extension School courses aren't Harvard College courses for the most part (the admission criteria for the day school and the Extension School are massively different as are many of the professors). Microsoft, Go to company page Have a file backup plan ... just in case. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Everybody who writes a thesis or dissertation can tell you about one minor (or major) disa ster that befell them: data corruption, viruses, chapters that "disappear" into the ether forever. If successful grads don’t publicly state they attended Harvard Extension School, how can the public know their educational background includes years of study at the Extension School? If your goal is to learn, Harvard Extension School is a great place. It does not even have the lesser-regarded ACBSP accreditation. Which is great, of course. Thank you so much for info. This comment was deleted by original commenter. Let’s see what the new Dean does to improve things further! My intent is to get a research/thesis based master’s at HES and a professional degree in my traditional school. From what I understand, current HBS faculty are forbidden from teaching HES classes either live or prerecorded. Bachelor degrees in various fields (some of them can be same or similar to those offered by other Harvard schools) Unfortunately, the reputation of the Harvard Extension School in the eyes of the public is not as good. COVID has been a game changer for higher education in general, and I think this is already having an affect on how HES and its degree programs are viewed in the future. They quickly learn otherwise. Try Stanford Center for Professional Development, it's much better than HES. Reading through a few hundred of this sample, the vast majority are high achievers, hold excellent positions, and achieved good promotions, which contradict the argument that employers hold a HES ALM in low esteem. Sales, Go to company page Harvard Extension School is a place where students from all corners of the globe and all walks of life come together in pursuit of VERITAS. That’s not just a Harvard Extension School issue, it’s true for many small colleges or small programs within larger university settings. I’ve been out of school for 25 years and worked in the corporate world, so I’m finding a lot of roadblocks in applying straight into a PhD program. Goldman Sachs, I need help to understand how hard the courses at HES is? 3. That said, I will make one observation, not living the in Boston area, the perception that the “Extension School” is of lesser quality by employers doesn’t bear out. What about people with an on-campus MLA with management concentration pretending to have MBA? He expanded online education and degree options for the ALM program beyond traditional liberal arts and science concentrations, including areas that Harvard faculty had never taught, such as journalism and digital media. I worked on a team to redesign the Harvard Extension School’s website, making it as flexible as their programs of study. CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE: https://goo.gl/3uf6LE This video will examine the Harvard Extension School and talk about its relationship to Harvard University. Someone posed an interesting question on an earlier blog post about Harvard Extension School degrees. It’s such a shame because I do believe HES is an excellent institution in its own right; it is THE “continuing education” school of Harvard University, with an egalitarian admissions policy and a unconventional way of selection (you want a Harvard-quality education? Not surprising legitimate HES alumni who may mis-represent themselves by dropping “Extension” on their resumés, although says more about individual low self-esteem, speaks to HES’s identity crisis and the reason why so many can lay valid claim to having attended Harvard without having earned a degree. Given that the extension school has been around for about a century, it sure seems to me that, for whatever reason, Harvard thinks that the extension school is a worthy division to run. This is not the case for HES students, who can, at best, get cum laude. Given this, it is not hard to see why some may view HES’ reputation as not being equal to that of the other degree-granting schools at Harvard. While this really speaks more of their character and of the appeal of The Harvard brand (“imitation is the highest form of flattery”) than the quality of education one gets at HES itself, the end result is that HES’s name is tarnished and misconceptions about it (eg. Now what?”. In Boston they call it “Harvard Community College.”. HES is not meant to be HC and doesn’t try to be; HES has a clear conscience and is meant for nontraditional students who have unique experiences HC students at their age couldn’t possibly have, and is perfectly-respectable in its own right no matter what stuck-up people say. In my graduating class, there were successful professionals as well as students who had completed their undergraduate and earlier graduate degrees at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Georgetown, and the University of Pennsylvania. Thanks for sharing your story. The administration giving compulsory pep talks? One possible solution to reduce some of the confusions and controversies around HES could be: separate – in some way – the degree programs/candidates from those that are just taking courses for fun and from the certificates (maybe by bringing the degree programs under one of the other 11 Harvard schools). Some prospective degree candidates assume that the experience will be akin to a typical continuing education program. Unfortunately every single one of my ten classes has had multiple, if not many, of these kinds of students. Would not this only plant the seed of doubt with hiring managers who comes across this post? It’s just such a shame that so many people out there do. I understand the strategic benefit of making more courses available online. For example, an MBA from Harvard Business School is AACSB accredited. or “Harvard Instructors” who had professional or research affiliations. The confusion for many comes from the fact that Extension School is part of Harvard University, the same way the Business School is, or Harvard Law School is. Required fields are marked *. Harvard’s use of the word ‘enroll’ and not ‘register’ which have different meanings in Harvard context than the words’s ordinary synonymity. I am a HES graduate-degree candidate currently, in a field that is not offered by any other of the 12 degree granting schools of Harvard University. But please, go for the right reasons. HES students also have tons of privileges like formalized programs that let you conduct research with Harvard faculty, that let you take Harvard College classes, etc. It’s not possible for HES to screen out people from degree programs for any reason other than academic qualifications, nor should it – the Harvard Extension School was created as a program to bring Harvard to the wider community, and the degree programs are meant to be an option for anyone who is able to complete the coursework and other requirements. Do you think the misconceptions and bad rap associated with Harvard Extension School will ever go away? The opportunity afforded me by the Harvard U Extension School is a blessing. Simultaneous to DCE’s competing against the for-profit online schools they are competing in the same market as local community colleges and below-third tier schools. These cases bring down the reputation of the school. 5. There is enough negative material out there on the web about HES and a fellow alumna discouraged me from starting my own blog about my own misadventures while taking many on-campus courses and working for Harvard. Times are changing. Graduate degrees in various fields (some of them can be same or similar to those offered by other Harvard schools) Great points in the other comments. That it’s 100% online, that ANY PERSON can IMMEDIATELY GET ACCEPTED INTO THEIR DEGREE PROGRAMMES) spread, and that’s just sad. I agree with the sentiment, but I don’t think this is possible. I think that’s just great. Take, for example, Kenneth Tucceri, a museum studies degree candidate with a … I also remember the posturing types but it didn’t seem to be as bad 15 years ago (in terms of percentages or constant signalling). For instance, the last time I checked, the ALM, Management program is running a completely different curriculum and course offerings than the Harvard Business School MBA program. First off, have a school that is mostly online and for better or for worst, places that school in the same category as all other online degree granting schools. Why there are still employers who think it’s fraud when someone leaves out “Extension” on their resume? Thanks but no thanks to those who fault the Extension School and students. 6. I want to know if I’ll be able to get letters of recommendation or if I should consider a more traditional route (that is, attending a brick and mortar university, maybe online, due to covid, as a non-degree seeking student and getting letters of recommendation). Here comes to a question: Is that enough to build the reputation? 2. Don’t go to signal boost, to manufacture esteem, or to posture to your classmates and teaching staff. Regarding your last comment about the quality of instructors, could you elaborate? Your email address will not be published. Were these ALM Management classes? Your email address will not be published. 7. Thankfully in this age we have the benefit of Zoom and other social media platforms (WhatsApp, LinkedIn, etc) to bring us much closer. I visited one of those major cities back in August 2020 and confirmed the fact that the differences between Extension and the other schools is relatively unknown. People who make YouTube videos like “How to get into Harvard THE EASY WAY” (the guy who made this also misrepresents his ALM on his LinkedIn…sigh) irritate me to no end – I really wonder what they were thinking… do they realize they are hurting the value of their own degree? My name is Ken Downey Jr., and I am an ALM degree candidate student, pursuing my Master of Liberal Arts in journalism. Another difference between the bachelor degree programs at Harvard College and HES is Latin honors. There were almost no students from outside the Boston area. Harvard Extension School is one of the 12 degree-granting schools at Harvard University. I have built a very real network through my time and connections at the Extension School and have felt incredibly supported at an institutional level. Pertaining to a similar matter, what is the goal of pointing out that HBS professors may be prohibited from teaching at HES or having a “doozy” of instructors? That’s not just a Harvard Extension School issue, it’s true for many small colleges or small programs within larger university settings. Oh yea , in terms of prestige and knowledge even I agree it’s not worth. , prove you can do well enough on the GMAT to get the Harvard name their! 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