Exeter Considers Admitting Girls Into Eleventh and Twelfth Grades

The prep school that annually contributes five per cent of Harvard's freshman class may be sending some of its graduates to Radcliffe in a few years.

In an interim report released for discussion by students and faculty, the Phillips Exeter Academy planning committee has recommended admitting 250 girls in the eleventh and twelfth grades.

Girls would be admitted only for those years, according to committee secretary Colin F. N. Irving '45, partly because the difference in social maturation between boys and girls seems to be too great at an earlier age. Since Exeter now has an enrollment of 750, he added, the boy-girl ratio in the upper grades would be improved by not admitting girls in all four classes.

Although the planning committee recognizes possible intrinsic merits of coeducation, its main argument, Irving said, is that "there does not now exist a coed or girls' boarding school of Exeter's size and facilities."

"To create coeducation at Exeter just because we thought it would be a good thing for the boys," he said, "would be a pretty rum thing for the girls."

Most of Exeter's faculty is reportedly undecided about coeducation. About 60 per cent of the senior class supported it in a recent poll. But the ultimate decision lies with the school's trustees, who will consider the proposal--and where the $3.5 million for the girls' campus is to come from--at their Feb. 26 meeting.

Will the trustees approve? "Certainly in the twentieth century they will," said principal Richard Ward Day. But he admits it may take several years to work out the details.