"The college curriculum should be divided into two parts. The freshman and sophomore years should form a junior college and lead to the regular baccalaureate degree, and the senior college, composed of the junior and senior years, should lead to a Master's degree." Thus Professor Mather of Princeton in an article in The Educational Review states his proposition for a more efficient recasting of a university education. "The curriculum of the junior college is prescribed, comprising surveys of all the main branches of knowledge, and affording that minimum of information which may reasonably be expected of a liberally educated man. The methods of instruction are that of disciplinary character to which the student personnel is accustomed in the preparatory schools and which are appropriate to his actual capacity and aims . . ." Membership in the senior college is restricted to men of proved ability. "The senior college has no fixed program that can briefly be described. The method is that of independent study under Faculty guidance. The student according to his bent is free to browse or concentrate . . . but a superior degree of scholarship is always expected of him."
With the increased emphasis on study in the colleges, the square young man who does not like to read, but matriculates in the "campus-alumni" tradition to broaden his acquaintanceships, enliven his dinner table conversation, and acquire some appreciation of the arts, fluids himself in an alarmingly round hole. He does not need four years to accomplish his purpose, and with their passage comes a feeling of futility, of irresponsible adolescence too long prolonged. Destined eventually for business, he sees the time of his apprenticeship, the time when he can earn enough to marry, pushed too far ahead by years of practical inaction. For him the junior college of Professor Mather is designed.
And such a course need not be trivial or superficial. Professor Mather believes that with the student's purpose definitely known and concentration excluded the curriculum could comprise an organized plan of survey course that would merit, in accordance with the European custom, a baccalaureate degree. And the high standards of such segregation would allow in the scholarship, free from extra-curricular activity, in the senior college would justify the granting of a degree of Master of Arts to its graduate. The baccalaureate given to graduates from Professor Mather's junior college, however, could not compare with the same degree given in the leading universities now. Although it would give a concert value to the two lower degrees, and shorten the road to that of Doctor of Philosophy, this is the less desirable feature of the plan.
But if such a junior course could be operated in conjunction with the mature work of four years in the colleges instead of as a link in it, the plan seems a most happy provision for the gentle men who are not scholars but desire to be collegians. The present progressive, standard-raising movements are fast accepting the principles which Professor Mather propounds for his senior college; yet they leave no place for the men in question, and their right to a humanistic education. The experimental endowment of such a two year course in some one of the larger universities would be an interesting step toward the solution of this rather important problem.