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A review of the figures showing where the new men in the College were prepared and by what system they proved themselves fit to enter points unmistakably to a steady and decided drift toward democracy and nationalism. Allowing for the traditional dose of salt to be served with statistics we may nevertheless feel fairly sure of a few things.
The public schools have increased their lead over the private schools, in the number of men they are sending. This is due not to an increase in the number of men coming from public schools but to a falling off in private school men. At New Haven the same tendency is shown; the proportion between public and private school men has altered more than at Harvard and that in favor of the public school men. In other words, Harvard and Yale both increase their appeal to the public schools: Both are "democing." And the larger part of the development has taken place inside of New England, the figures for more distant schools remaining the same.
The new plan of entrance requirements is without a doubt the cause. The figures for increase of men entering by the new plan over the old have increased in the same proportion, and the private schools with the exception of a few in Massachusetts still prefer the old plan. The use of the old plan by public schools is confined to Massachusetts, quite naturally. That is, the new plan of admission is accomplishing its purpose of bringing Harvard within reach of public schools outside of Massachusetts. Whether the standard of scholarship in the College will be altered remains to be seen. The present Junior class, first to enter under the double plan, has shown no tendency to fall off, but has so far set a high standard. We should like to know to what an extent this is due to the publicly prepared men, and to what extent to the new-plan men. It may be quite possible that we have at hand valuable information as to the better method of preparing men for college, full mechanical training or individualistic intelligent development; some light may be thrown on one or two queries propounded by President Lowell in this week's Alumni Bulletin. Taken with the fact that an astonishingly larger number of men were refused admission this year--the culmination of a steady increase since 1906--the facts point to two developments--democratization and a higher degree of selection with a better grade of men produced.
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