The annual report of the Admissions Office yesterday confirmed President Pusey's belief that the College has been unaffected by adverse publicity.
But the report goes on to express serious concern over the number of exceptionally promising candidates who refuse Harvard scholarships to attend other institutions.
The report, made by Dean Bender to Dean Bundy, further issues figures to challenge President Pusey's recent message to the Overseers that the interest in the humanities is declining. On the basis of polls taken among the Class of 1958 at the time of admissions, Bender notes a decided upswing of interest in the humanities.
Among the incoming Class of 1958, 31 percent indicated a desire to concentrate in the humanities area, a rise of 5.5 percent over the Class of 1957. The Social Sciences showed a corresponding decline from 23.1 percent among 1957 to 19.4 percent. But, Dean Bender noted, many students will probably change their minds during their first year at the College.
'58 "Ablest Class"
The report shows that applications to the College fell only slightly in the past year, while the caliber of students rose to an all-time high. According to test scores, the Class of 1958 ranks as "the ablest in the history of Harvard," the report states.
The number accepting scholarship offers dropped sharply from 73.3 percent among the Class of 1957 to 65.3 percent. "It is a matter of serious concern when over 33 percent of those exceptionally promising candidates to whom we made scholarship offers decided not to come to Harvard," Bender said. He placed part of the blame for the drop on increased multiple application.
New England Total Down
The College's efforts at broadened geographic distribution have definitely succeeded, the Report continues. Bender notes "with some concern" the successive three-year drop in numbers attending Harvard from the New England area. The Class of 1956 had 44 percent of its members from New England, but the Class of 1958 is down to 35.4 percent. Most of the change has been absorbed by a steady rise among the Middle Atlantic group.
But coupled with the broadened geographic distribution has come decreased numbers of freshmen qualified for language requirement exemption.
"Only 38 percent had met the language requirement compared to 44.6 percent among 1957," Bender reported. "This raises another issue for the faculty: shall more effort be put on the secondary school program" in selecting freshman candidates?
Nothing the steady rise in applications for scholarships, Bender concludes, "it is becoming increasingly difficult to describe Harvard as a 'rich man's college.'" 50.6 percent of 1958 applied for or received scholarship aid. Of these, 265 freshmen entered the College even though denied scholarship assistance.
"No doubt the policy of making loans helps explain this development," the report states. $40,000 were loaned to freshmen this year. "We believe this to be sound policy but it does add to the pressures on the Financial Aid Office and on resources for helping students," the report concluded