The Semi-Tutorial System
The new system of majors and honors is the most far-reaching innovation in the educational program at Amherst for many years. The disadvantages of two major courses have often been pointed out, and the change to one major and two minors is the direct result. The most important aspect of the new plan, however, is that it seeks to make honors work a privilege and an interest for the average student. It offers extraordinary new opportunities without exacting any new requirements.
Coming as the product of several years of consideration, the plan is designed to avoid the defects of systems in effect at other institutions. In contrast, for example, to the Harvard tutorial system which has been adopted by so many Eastern colleges, it is not compulsory. Further, the comprehensive examinations at Harvard cover the entire field of a subject regardless of whether or not the material is embodied in the courses the student has taken. The general examinations under the new plan will ordinarily embrace only material that has been included in the courses; but, at the request of the student, they may even contain questions on any topic connected with the subject which the student has studied on his own initiative. Each department is given free rein in deciding what part of the final grade the examination will count, as well as determining other details of the requirements. The plan is thus optional, simple, flexible and free from red-tape.
The faculty is willing to assume a considerable burden of extra work in order to interest more students in honors work. The price of admission to these remarkable opportunities is within reach; a general average of 75 percent for the first two-years and an average of 80 percent in the three selected courses at the end of the senior year. The advantages include graduation with honors, specialization, individual guidance and conference work, a startling and progressive move in modern education. --Amherst Student.