The two constructive changes which the University faculties have made in entrance requirements are distinctly in the right direction. If they have not driven the nail home they have at least hit it squarely on the head by directly a levitating two of the difficulties confronting the entering high-school student.
The modern high school allows, in the third and fourth years, a choice in concentration between sciences on the one hand and languages and history on the other. Figures show that in most high schools one year of Latin is required of all except vocational students, a second year is taken by two-thirds of the students, and a third year by a scant fifth, most of the students transferring to modern languages or to the sciences at the end of their second year. This arrangement has in the past rendered many good students ineligible for the examinations by lack of either three years of Latin or two years of a modern language, either of which a boy concentrating in school science is generally unwilling to include. This difficulty is entirely removed by the two-year Latin Comprehensive Examination: for while the difficulty of passing the examination itself acts as the same check on the poor student, his more capable classmate is not handicapped by not having chosen his courses with a view to taking the examinations.
There is still, however, a Latin problem: the admission requirements are short of being fair to the man who comes to college for arts rather than sciences, who, however, with an eye to thorough preparatory grounding has taken two years in Latin, French, and German or Spanish. The courageous high school student is faced with the alternatives of entering a state university or entering Harvard under the College Board Examinations as a candidate for the S. B. degree. To avoid a degree which does not in the least indicate his field of college study, this student must fit himself for the three-year Latin examination; a herculean task if undertaken without help; an expensive one if received from the "window"; a costly expenditure of valuable time if gained by attending the Cambridge, Latin School, as some men in college have done.
The college might solve the problem by offering for these men a course in third-year Latin under the same general principle as English F; a course which would not count for a degree but which would give students a chance to remove the handicap of previous ignorance of the scope of examinations. The requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree should emphatically not be lowcred. However, the student who is willing to put forth honest effort, should be given by the college in opportunity of making up this deficiency.