When some eminent statistician first compiled the figures which showed that scholastic success was a continuous process from school and college to professional school and life, he thought, perhaps, that he had solved his problem. No longer would it be necessary for anxious parents and eminent educators to exhort the youth of the land to earnest study. The figures were plain to behold. The stern portals of Phi Beta Kappa would surely now be thronged by a host of eager applicants.
Perhaps it has not needed Mr. Lamont's recent article in the Advocate to show that for once statistics have been unconvincing. Bu at least the article settled the matter indisputably as far as Harvard is concerned. Undergraduates do not believe that "success" in life is attained through eminence in scholastic records.
In the past it has been the fashion to blame immature youth for its lack of appreciation, and very few educators, at least, have had the courage to see the shortcomings of their own system. But in fact the fundamental reason for undergraduate apathy to studies is that the general community is not convinced that men of high scholastic ranking are the best men. Colleges have turned out graduates with diplomas based on standards of pure scholastic learning, with no help in a wise choice of a career and no opportunity to get in touch with men who could advise wisely. In short there has been too little coordination between the college and the general community of professions and business into which the undergraduate is soon to plunge.
Harvard has recognized the problem by the appointment of the Committee on choice of Vocations, and this body is contemplating a program which includes a series of talks by prominent leaders in various walks of life, questionnaires to be sent to Seniors, and personal conferences with graduates for those men interested in receiving more specific information or advice This evening in the Union President Lowell will start the active campaign of the year in his talk on the "Choice of a Career." In the past the undergraduate has had a right to complain that the College was not helping him directly in his most difficult problem. His criticism is being met and in the future his complaints will elicit no sympathy. Tonight he will have the very opportunity which he has been demanding--the opportunity to hear from a man eminently qualified to speak on the subject the reasons on which to base a wise "choice of a career."