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The New Academic Year.


Harvard's opening ushers in the new academic year for this part of Massachusetts at least. Technology's long summer vacation is not quite ended, but already the Institute is alive with activity in its preparation for the formal opening next week. Wellesley, Tufts and Boston University, in common with most of the smaller colleges of New England, are now in the second week of the term. For all of these the new year is full of promise.

Analyzing the preliminary registration figures at American universities this year, several features attract attention. The first is that Columbia will open on Wednesday with an enrollment exceeding 10,000. That breaks all American records, and places the metropolitan university in point of registration in the same class with the largest institutions of learning of the Old World. The University of Berlin will probably maintain its lead for a few years to come, but the rapidity of growth among American universities promises soon to transfer the leadership in numbers from Berlin to Columbia. Whatever may be said regarding the relative value to the individual of student opportunities in an institution of 10,000 and those to be had in the smaller colleges, there can be no question that Columbia is performing a public service of vast proportions to the community which it touches and the country at large in bringing 10,000 students within the pale of its educational work. Believing the dissemination of learning to be the primary duty of that institution, its aim is to reach as many people as its equipment and conditions will permit, and each year sees these growing as on increasing student body presses for admission. Columbia at least is not afraid of size, and the community which it serves is the gainer for that confidence.

New England's two great universities present a different condition. Neither shows so large an increase in the number of students over last year or the last few years. Yale is counting upon the customary 3300, and Harvard's enrollment is estimated at approximately the usual 5000. But at both institutions changes and progress along other lines are to be found. The character of the student body of Harvard becomes more representative of the whole country with each year. No longer do its undergraduates come so largely from a group of selected schools, and the increase of student sources widens the field of the University's activities and the sphere of its influence.

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