Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/209

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REQUISITIONS FOR ADMISSION AT HARVARD.
THE NEW REQUISITIONS FOR ADMISSION AT HARVARD COLLEGE.[1]

By Professor JOSIAH PARSONS COOKE.

AT the close of the last academical year the Faculty of Harvard College published a new scheme of requisition for admission, which will be followed at the admission examination of 1887, and thereafter. This scheme has been very slowly matured. It was originally prepared by a large committee of the college faculty, and was discussed in all its details for more than three years, first by the faculty, afterward by the corporation and the Board of Overseers, and finally was adopted by all the governing boards of the college. The scheme is complex, and any one desiring to understand all its possibilities must study the details in the pamphlet in which it has been announced. It is sufficient for the present purpose to say that, while it permits and even encourages the old line of linguistic studies on which students have hitherto been prepared for all the New England colleges nominally with nearly the same requisitions, the new plan opens other avenues of admission; and, among these, one to which we desire especially to call attention, as it demands and invites a thorough preparation in mathematics and physical science, with only that minimum of linguistic training which is universally regarded as an essential prerequisite of liberal culture.

In the new scheme students will be admitted to Harvard College as candidates for the B. A. degree who can write correctly a short English composition, and thus show that they are acquainted with a few prescribed classical English works; who can read at sight simple Latin, German, and French prose; who have a general knowledge of the history of the United States and of England; who have mastered the elementary mathematics, including analytic geometry and the rudiments of mechanics; and, lastly, who have had a certain amount of laboratory practice in physical science, including both physics and chemistry.

Of the several alternatives which the new scheme offers, the one above described will probably be chosen by most students who are seeking a scientific rather than a literary education. But this general plan of preparatory studies may be varied in details to meet different circumstances: thus, an advanced course in Latin or French may be offered in place of the German; but this substitution is not generally advisable, for the study of German, if deferred, must be taken up in college (the ability to read ordinary German as well as French prose

  1. Descriptive List of Experiments on the Fundamental Principles of Chemistry. By Josiah Parsons Cooke. (For the use of Teachers preparing Students for the Admission Examination in Chemistry at Harvard College.)