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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

SECTION MEETINGS AND THESES.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Last year in the Economics department the policy was inaugurated of allowing a man a certain choice in regard to the time when his thesis should be finished. This was done mainly because under the old system it was found that different courses set the same day as being the last on which a thesis could be handed in. So that previously many men specializing in that branch of study found that on some arbitrarily fixed day, say December tenth, they might have no less than four long reports due. The new arrangement by means of which work was distributed evenly through the year was found to be very satisfactory.

The success of this plan suggests the possibility of applying the scheme some-what farther in two directions. In the first place there should be no difficulty in making its application broader so that all the Economic, Government, and History courses, by co-operation, might relieve the student to an even greater extent from the embarrassment of having all his thesis work come at the same time. In the second place some more comprehensive scheme might be devised to regulate the weekly section meetings. There seems to be an unaccountable prejudice in most courses against having these meetings on any day but Friday and Saturday, and the result is that many men have perhaps three or four sections either on the same day or on two successive days. This not only leads to frequent difficulties of conflict, but it tends to concentrate an undigestible amount of work at one end of the week. By a judicious arrangement of sections and of theses perhaps the danger of putting off work until the last minute (often an unavoidable weakness of human nature) may be to some extent escaped.

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