A large number of misunderstandings arise every year over the College regulations. Sooner or later most of us go to University 4 and have a consultation with one of the Deans during which many of our ideas appear false, and the office seems tied up with useless red tape. Unfortunately, however, the College office has to have a certain number of regulations to settle the various questions which constantly come up for settlement; the main difficulty is that comparatively few undergraduates even attempt to understand them.
One of the most prevalent sources of misconception is the matter of promotion and probation. The general opinion that two C's and a D will keep a man out of danger and that three and one will get him out once he has falllen in. Naturally, then, when one man keeps off "pro" on two C's and a D and another with three C's and a D is notified that he has been put on, there are rumors of favoritism and inconsistency.
As a matter of fact, a man keeps off probation as long as he maintains a rank which would entitle him to promotion at the end of the year. There are, however, different requirements for promotion, and promotion without deficiency. That is a Freshman who obtains two C's and a D becomes a Sophomore but he has certain deficiencies which he must make up. On the other haud a Freshman who passes all five courses, including two C's or more is a Sophomore without deficiency. Both, then, become full Sophomores and both are in good standing. But the first must keep up an average of three C's and one D while the second man only needs two and one as before. In short two C's and D suffice to keep any man off probation who has never flunked any of his courses before. But as soon as a student gets an E, the requirements increase to include that failure. The requirements for promotion on which these regulations are based are as follow: to the Sophomore class three course with two above D, to the Junior class seven with five above D, to the Senior class twelve, with eight above D. Accordingly a Junior who has fulfilled the minimum requirement of "seven of which five . . ." must take five courses in his Junior year and must maintain three C's and two D's to keep off probation.
Offhand this is quite mystifying but in common language it is a matter of relativity. The more one does in one year the less required the next. The pamphlet on "Regulations for Students in Harvard College", is published that these facts may be known; and knowledge of the requirements would prevent misunderstanding-and possibly mishap.