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THE ELECTIVE SYSTEM CRITICISED.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

A writer in the Portland Transcript, commenting on the subject of elective studies in colleges, which as he declares is "one of the live issues of the day," says: "When the student is allowed to select his studies, some care should be taken to prevent him from choosing studies that he is incapable of pursuing successfully, and he should further be required to arrange the work of his whole course in such a way that the successive years should bear some logical relation to one another. The first of these precautions is taken to some extent at Harvard, but the second is entirely neglected there. At the end of his freshman year the student is confronted with one hundred and seventy-four (174) different studies - electives, so called - from which to select his four or five subjects for the sophomore year. Now these one hundred and seventy-four courses are divided among eighteen subjects or departments, so that any student can begin six new subjects each of the last three years of his course - and do nothing but begin them - and then be graduated, and that is bad, but not so bad as the twenty-four new subjects in the typical anti-elective college, and even that is the fault of the Harvard system and not of the elective system.

"Each student should be required - as indeed he is, at Johns Hopkins University - to select some four or five subjects or departments, and to confine himself to these during his course, and this is practically what all of the good students do, and they select their studies with much thought and care. But the poorer students naturally do nothing of the sort. Yet with all its drawbacks the elective system has worked well, as far as I can learn, wherever it was introduced. The student does better what he elects for himself, and in most cases he chooses that which he can do best.

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