The University has joined the other Ivy League schools in an experimental project to increase applications from Southern Negroes and other students from disadvantaged areas."
The "talent search program" was proposed last summer at a meeting of Ivy League financial officials, according to Fred L. Glimp '50, dean of admissions. Yale's John McCarthy, assistant director of admissions, has traveled into the South to qualified high school seniors and encourage them to apply to Ivy colleges. McCarthy also talked to tenth and eleventh graders about entrance requirements, and sought out citizens willing to recommend students and to advise them on applications procedure.
The search for citizens in Southern towns who are willing to seek out intelligent students and help them prepare to apply to Ivy League colleges is one of the most important aspects of the program. McCarthy said that distinguished Negro citizens have served as contacts in the towns where he succeeded in establishing liaison--among them, a psychiatrist, several doctors, the chairman of the history department at a Negro college, and a man who sells office supplies to schools.
Few Southern Applicants
But unless the talent search project becomes the precursor of a larger and permanent program, Harvard and the other Ivy League colleges will continue to find very few Southern Negroes who can meet their standards.
The only large organization which Negroes to Harvard for consideration is NSFNS--National Scholarships for Negro Students. Between 10 and Negroes are recommended to Harvard and Yale every year by NSFNS. Both Universities encourage applications from per cent of the recommended students, but numerically only a very few reach either college.
The main obstacle to increased administration of Southern Negroes, several educators have stressed, is the inadequate preparation given most students from disadvantaged areas."
Adequate preparation is available at the Eastern prep schools, which compete for the few Southern Negroes they are able to contact. But the only major channel through which these students reached the prep schools closed three years ago when NSFNS, pressed for funds, stopped looking for prep school candidates to concentrate on its college program.
Although Harvard officials are aware of the need to give a preparatory school education to most Southern Negroes before they are ready for the University, the administration feels unable to act decisively in this area.
"I don't see how we use our funds for secondary education for these students," Glimp said. Yale's McCarthy stated: "I don't think this is the colleges' domain, but the trouble is, there is no organization whose domain it is."
The Rev. John Verdery, headmaster of the Wooster School in Danbury, Conn., emphasized that Wooster would furnish more scholarships if it could contact more Southern Negroes, but that the school lacked the funds to seek such students by itself.
"We gave up a foreign student program because this is more important," Verdery said yesterday. He said that an organization with enough financial backing to bring Southern Negroes to Eastern prep schools as well as to colleges "is the greatest need. We would take more qualified boys, and I am sure there are more. The important thing is to find them.