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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
The registration figures which appear this morning expose on their surface little that is of real significance. But if we look behind them we may find something of value.
The decrease in the Freshman class of forty-one members comes in spite of the decided increase in the number of men who applied for admission, that number having been equalled only in 1911. This would indicate a slight decrease in the average intelligence of those who applied for admission or a slight increase in the strictness of the examiners. In any case, no great importance can be attached to the loss. We can, however, relate the percentages of men admitted and refused to corresponding percentages in past years, and here we find that, whereas in 1906 only 12 per cent. of those who applied for admission were turned down, in 1913 this percentage had risen to 26. That the increase in percentage of those refused admission had a great deal to do with the falling off in the Class of 1917 is proved by the fact that, had it remained 21 per cent. as last year, there would have been a marked increase in the size of the class. Furthermore, of those admitted in 1906, 42 percent. came in conditioned, as opposed to only 18 per cent. so handicapped this year. The importance of these figures lies in the fact that Harvard has raised her standards, not at the expense of success, as measured by registration, but while maintaining a fairly steady enrollment.
The significant facts may be summarized from the figures of the past eight years as follows: the percentage refused admission of those who apply has been distinctly raised; the total number admitted has increased; and at the same time the number of those admitted with conditions has markedly decreased.
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