In many ways the Report of the Committee on the Choice of Electives is the University stethoscope, registering the heart beats of Harvard and its educational system. And again this year comes the statement that an increase is shown in the number of candidates for distinction and honors, a trend encouraging and significant. This gain is the sign of one of the nearing objectives in the Harvard academic system. The tendency may be taken as indicative of a desire on the part of undergraduates to take from College more than the common share would allot them. At any rate it suggests that more men yearly are striving, aided by tutorial conferences and the Reading Period, at least to sound the depths of learning.
The other significant trend shown in the present report finds English, which has held the lead for the past six years, superseded numerically by Economics. And this is not the first time that Economics has come to the fore; previous to the ascendancy of English the Department of Economics held away during several desultory years. The movement is patently variable and the reasons for the present turn at best only hypothetical. It may be that more students are now concentrating in Economics than in English or any of the sciences because the propensities of the modern Harvard mind tend toward the pursual of a path midway between the strictly academic and the purely utilitarian; a second explanation might attribute the change to the added equipment and personnel of the Business School suggesting possibilities for the incipient graduate. In the latter case a ground training in the principles of Economics would probably prove of more value than a steeping in the Classics, English, or Chemistry.