Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> Siam to The Growth And Con >> Sity Brown UniversityColumbia_P1

Sity Brown University Columbia Uni Versity Cornell University Johns Hopkins University Leland Stanford Junior Uni Versity University of Chicago

school, entrance, units, college, admission, harvard and studies

Page: 1 2


Entrance Requirements.— The completion of a standard four-year high-school course is now the announced fundamental basis of admis sion to the typical American university. In deed, practically all institutions which lay claim to the title of college or university make the announcement that the four-year high-school course is the minimum basis of admission. The character of any institution. which claims col lege rank is readily determined by the deliber ate honesty with which it administers its announced entrance requirements. Of course there is great divergence in the determination of what constitutes a standard high school, both as to its announced course of study and as to the faithfulness and thoroughness with which the course is presented. The subjects required for admission vary considerably in different universities and differ materially for admission to different courses. Entrance is calculated upon the basis of "units," 14 to 16 units being the usual requirement. A unit approximately represents the successful pursuit of a high school subject each school day for a school year. Thus, credit in elementary algebra, or in plane geometry, each of which is usually pur sued for a full year in high school, entitles the student to one unit for college entrance. The units are usually specified as required and elective; from 10 to 12 units being required and from three to five units being elective.

The gradual evolution of the entrance re quirements may be understood from an exam ination of the Harvard entrance requirements. The present terms of admission at Harvard may be said to have been over 276 years in the making. It was in 1642, though Harvard College was founded six years earlier, that the college statutes provided: "When any Schollar is able to read Tully or such like Classical Latin Author Extempore, and make and speake true Latin in verse and prose, without assistance, and decline perfectly the paradigms of nounes and verbes in ye Greeke tongue, then may hee bee admitted into ye college, nor shall any claime admission be fore such qualifications." This specified reading knowledge of Latin and Greek was the essential entrance require ment in all the colonial colleges, and the Har vard entrance requirements remained with very slight changes, as quoted, for nearly a century. Arithmetic was required about the

first of the 19th century and geography in 1807, algebra in 1820, history in 1847, physical geog raphy in 1870, French and German in 1875.

The change in entrance requirements which is actually taking place at the present time may be understood by reference to the "old" and the "new" plans of admission announced in the latest Harvard catalog. To he admitted to the freshman class of Harvard College tinder the old plan a candidate must present himself for examination in certain studies. These studies must amount to units of school work, except that candidates who pre sent both elementary Latin and elementary Greek will he admitted without conditions on 15% units of school work. In not less than five units a candidate must pass examinations with grades that "satisfactory" as distin guished from grades that are "merely passable." The prescribed studies include English and a foreign language for the degree of A.B., and a modern language, history, mathematics and science for the S.B. degree. Sufficient addi tional subjects must be chosen from a long list of electives to make up the total specified number of units.

Under the new plan, to be admitted to Har vard College one must present evidence of his secondary school work, showing (a) the sub jects studied by him and the ground covered; (b) the amount of time devoted to each; (c) the quality of his work in each subject. To be approved this statement must show (a) that the candidate's secondary school course has ex tended over four years; (b) that his course has been concerned chiefly with languages, science, mathematics and history, no one of which studies has been omitted; (c) that two of the studies of his school program have been pursued beyond their elementary stages. A candidate whose secondary school course is found to be satisfactory may then present him self for "comprehensive examinations in four subjects, as follows: (a) English. (b) Latin, or, for candidates for the degree of S.B., French or German, or Spanish. (c) Mathe matics, or physics, or chemistry. (d) Any subject (not already selected under (b) or (c)) from the following list: Greek, French, Ger man, Spanish, history, mathematics, physics, chemistry.

Page: 1 2