Probably one of the most difficult things for a man entering Harvard to procure is proper advice. Although there are deans, advisers, and proctors at every turn, and professors in every class room that fairly exude knowledge of their own particular field, there are few who possess a sufficiently all-round knowledge to be able to tell a stranger what courses it is wise to take, and what courses it is not.
The cause for the need of personal advice lies chiefly in the fact that there is no other way for the man just entering to determine of what each course actually consists, and how competent he himself will be to swing it when he lines it up with his other work. It is, however, a delicate task for the professor to give an appraisal of his own course, and although the younger proctors and Freshman Advisers are often better informed, they are usually not up-to-date on changes that have been made since they were in college. Likewise, all other officials who should know rarely do.
What it amounts to, then, is that the men who can give the most accurate account of what's what and who's who in the catalogue are the upperclassmen who have recently taken the courses. If the right men can be found, which should not be hard, they can to only describe what the courses are like, but in the larger courses especially, what section-man the student should ask for. With a very little effort the newcomer should be able to investigate thoroughly the character of his year's work before it has even commenced, and perhaps save himself later on from many difficulties which too often arise from unnecessary ignorance.