The ruling of the Committee on Admissions that transfer students will in the future be admitted only to the Freshman and Sophomore classes is another definite step in making the possession of a Harvard diploma more than a haphazard occurrence. By causing every student to spend at least three years at Harvard before graduation, the University is increasing the value of its A.B. or Engineering degree.
The tendency to regard college as merely a means of social entrance has been decried often enough by leading educators. Such barriers as the College Board examinations necessarily limit the number of applicants to those universities using them. With transfer students, Yale in particular among the Eastern colleges is extremely wary in its choice of admissions.
In the case of Harvard's a three year residence is almost a necessity before an intelligent acquaintance with its system of education can be acquired. The lecture, plan is merely the basis for the tutorial system and other such innovations involving a more individual and wider pursuit of learning. The emphasis placed by the administration on the importance of the last two years of college is an excellent illustration of the theory that the various phases of Harvard education are so diverse that sufficient time must be allowed the undergraduate to assimilate and coordinate them.
The ruling is, of course, no illogical discrimination against transfer students themselves, as the amendment permitting exceptions in the case of students of proven ability testifies. It enhances the value of a Harvard degree and is a safeguard against the possibility that any of her graduates are not true products of her own educational system. It is, in a final analysis, a protection for Harvard.