Law School Discussion

Housing/Car at Harvard


Housing/Car at Harvard
« on: January 25, 2005, 12:47:31 PM »
Now that I'm in, I'm starting to think about where to go.  Do people have cars at Harvard?  How is off-campus housing?  Is there anywhere affordable?  I heard the dorms aren't too great, and I don't really want to live in dorms anyway.  What do most students do?  Would it be possible to live far-ish away in a cheaper place and commute?  Can I pay rent with student loans?  Lots of questions because I'm legally clueless.  Thanks! 


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Re: Housing/Car at Harvard
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2005, 01:06:12 PM »
I did undergrad in Cambridge, and I think I'll be going there for law school, so this is what I know:

Having a car is nice if you're going to be going outside of Cambridge a lot (i.e., if you live nearby) - otherwise, a complete nuisance.  You can get a decent studio near Harvard Square for $1000-1200 a month (not cheap!), and Harvard law housing is limited, so you have to enter in a lottery (and it's not great housing either).  A lot of students in their 2L years rent houses/larger flats with friends (much cheaper).

Commuting would be an option, but you'll have about 15 hours of class a week or more (plus whatever other activities you're involved in!), so it will be an extra burden.  A bike might be a possibility - living in Somerville would work with that. 

Personally, I think the extra expense of living within walking distance is worth it.  Cambridge is a great area, and you'll be near the atheletic and academic facilities.

My two cents! :)


Re: Housing/Car at Harvard
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2005, 10:21:37 AM »
Thanks for all the info.  I'd like to have a car just because I want the flexibility to get out of town.  I'm thinking I'd park it out in the suburbs or something at a friend's house and just get it when I need it if it's a hassle in Cambridge.  I did undergrad in NYC so I didn't have a car then, and sometimes I felt "trapped" in the city.  How far is a bike ride from Somerville?  Is Somerville nice?  A lot cheaper? 

See you at admit days!

Re: Housing/Car at Harvard
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2005, 10:35:24 AM »
I have to agree that if you live in Harvard Square, a car is going to be far more trouble than it's worth...  If you look at living in Somerville, make sure that you stay on the Red Line (subway) - check craigslist for places in Porter Square technically Cambridge) and Davis Square - either will be a commute of approx. 15 minutes either by train or walking.  I used to live in Porter, and on nice days, it was a really nice ten minute walk to Harvard Square.  I just moved to Davis Square and found a cheap apartment (2br for $850/month) with a garage.

My two cents are that if you must have a car, check out Somerville, but stay in either Porter or Davis squares!

Re: Housing/Car at Harvard
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2005, 11:04:23 AM »
I did my undergrad in Boston and worked there for several years after graduation.  I don't know anything about Harvard housing (I was across the river :P), but I can agree with the previous posters on Somerville. 

The Porter and Davis Square areas are right on the red line which will take you very quickly to Harvard Square (a short ride on the T).  Both areas are very nice...nice houses, cute shopes restaurants etc.  In general, nice places to live.  They are MUCH more affordable than the Harvard Square area.  Depending on where you live in Somerville (and how much you like to bike!), you could definitely bike.  I don't so don't quote me on the distance, but you could be looking at 2 miles from Porter Square, maybe 3 from Davis, depending on where you live. 

Brighton is right across the river and is also pretty affordable with good access to public transportation.  I lived in Brighton and had a car.  On street parking was great.

Re: Housing/Car at Harvard
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2005, 01:35:32 PM »
My husband (then-fiance) graduated from Harvard's joint degree law & economics program a year ago. He lived off campus and had a car. The car was an enormous hassle. Expect to pay large amounts of money for a neighborhood parking sticker that will allow you to drive around the streets forever looking for a spot to parallel park. If you do get a car, definitely get a very small one. He used his car maybe once every couple of weeks, and it was frequently getting towed because he forgot to move it on street cleaning day or when a section of the street got reserved for a moving van.

Off-campus housing in Cambridge is expensive too, but I don't know how it compares to dorm and meal plan costs. I never saw the inside of the Harvard Law dorms, but we did have some friends who lived in married student housing, and that setup was pretty nice.

Re: Housing/Car at Harvard
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2005, 03:43:57 AM »
So do flats in Somerville ever have parking or should I stash my car elsewhere, put a cover on it, and buy a T-pass?