How To Pick the Right Concentration

Professor Steven Caton talks to Liesl Ulrich-Verderber '15 and Domniki Georgopoulou '15 about Harvard's Social Anthropology department. Freshmen attended the annual Concentration Advising Fair in Annenberg on Thursday evening.
Professor Steven Caton talks to Liesl Ulrich-Verderber '15 and Domniki Georgopoulou '15 about Harvard's Social Anthropology department. Freshmen attended the annual Concentration Advising Fair in Annenberg on Thursday evening. By Sarah E Orlando

It’s October, which means your average Harvard students is watching the baseball playoffs or cramming for four midterms–unless you’re a sophomore, in which case you’re probably freaking out about having to declare your concentration by mid-November (or even sooner for some programs).

To help you avoid picking the wrong one, Flyby compiled a cheat sheet detailing some possible areas of study.

1. Folklore and Mythology

We’re sure that someone has told you, “You’re graduating with a degree from Harvard, so all you need to do is pass!” If you really want to test that advice, this is the concentration for you. We dare you to find something less applicable to the professional world.

2. English/Comparative Literature

We know that these are separate concentrations, but stop trying to explain the difference between the two and go back to reading that book. These concentrations are perfect if you can’t stand desks or p-sets. Find a comfortable chair (a deep-red leather if you want to complete the intellectual look), forget how to count past 20, and enjoy your books. (Caveat: This should be pretty obvious, but to be an English concentrator, you ought to own a tweed blazer or two.)

3. Computer Science

You’re at Harvard, so you probably didn’t have a crazy social life in high school—why start now? Fridays, Saturdays, and fun are overrated anyway. Your skillset will be in high demand when you graduate and having a steady, prosperous job might do wonders for your social life after you turn 30.

4. Economics

Oh, how’s the season going? Looking to go into consulting/finance/i-banking/whatever else Harvard kids do when they sell out? Original.

5. Government

This is a great choice if you want to do anything like law or public policy, or just make other people feel bad about their résumés. “Oh, you scoop ice cream during the summer? That’s so cool. Yeah, I just did a little bit of work with Joe Biden this summer.” “Oh, him? Yeah, Joe introduced me once or twice.” Or at least, that’s what you tell yourself.

6. Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology or Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

This basically applies to any biology concentration with more than one word preceding the “biology”: Do less. Do a lot less. You don’t get bonus points for having a concentration with a longer name. Also, reconsider any major involving the word “organismic.”

In sum, there are exactly zero concentrations safe from ridicule. Here’s what you should actually do: Pick your concentration, and don’t start a single conversation in the next three weeks with ANYTHING related to your newly chosen academic path. Your friends will thank you for it.

Tags
AdvisingComputer ScienceEconomicsEnglishFolklore and MythologyGovernmentLiteratureAcademicsBiologyFlyby Campus

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