The following ideas from the Nassau Lit. on college patronage, though applied to Princeton, are not without significance to all colleges. The importance of alumni associations is well supported.
"The two Phillips Academies, located respectively at Andover, Mass., and Exeter, N. H., together with the Williston Seminary at East Hampton, Mass., stand among the first of American preparatory schools, yet Princeton has a per cent. of patronage from these institutions far below either that of Harvard, Yale or Amherst.
What causes work to bring about this result, and how can they be obviated? True, it is natural for New England people to patronize their own colleges, but these preparatory schools do not gain all their patronage from the New England States, but have a large number of students from the South, West and North; sections of country where Princeton has always been in high favor. Especially is the representation at these schools from the Northwest increasing. From the city of Minneapolis alone, Andover has had an average attendance of late years of some eight or ten men, and yet we find that the number of students in our college from all this district is the same that it was five years ago. We have from the state of Minnesota three men, and this notwithstanding the fact that all that region has doubled in population since that time. Cannot a reason for Princeton's lack of support in this quarter be found in the fact that in all that expanse of country lying Northwest of Chicago, containing the two great cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, with a population between them of 250,000, does not contain any association of Princeton alumni? If those having in charge the forming of such associations would take the necessary steps to bring about such an organization in these cities, we are sure, although the membership might be small, that the forming of such a nucleus would have an immediate influence on the college.
Now, a student, passing through his course at either of these New England Academies, unless his choice is previously made, seldom hears a word in favor of Princeton. This, we think, is largely due to the fact that Princeton is not represented among the instructors in these institutions. Comparatively few Princeton men take up teaching as a profession. No system of pedagogics is taught in our college, while in New England the profession of teaching takes its place among the other professions of the day, and is given full consideration by each student as he makes his choice. Besides, previously, if one complete the course at one of these institutions, he was nearly prepared to enter the sophomore class here, and as it is generally conceded to be best to enter upon college life as a freshman, he chose a college where he would not be compelled to lose a half year, but could go right on with his course. But this objection no longer holds in comparison with Amherst and Yale, for our requirements have, of late years, been raised to such an extent that they are now on a par with Yale's. We are assured that the good work is to continue. If Princeton continues to take a firm stand in favor of all manly sports, it will do much to increase her patronage from these sources, for, these schools are all warm supporters of athletics. Moreover, the athletic events, as they take place at these schools, are carefully watched by the athletic associations in the various New England colleges, and whenever a man shows marked ability, they manifest a great interest in his choice of college. Then the tie of friendship, after three years of association, is very close, and when one sees a large number of his companions going to a New England college, the pressure which causes him to break away must be a very strong one. In order to counteract these influences, Princeton's New England Association was formed, the primary object of which is to advance the interests of the college throughout the New England academies by fairly presenting to these schools Princeton's claims, and by promoting the interests of the New England students here in the literary, athletic and social life of the college."