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What student did not ask himself when he first came to college, what courses am I going to take? Is this or that professor especially interesting? Is it worth while to go out for athletics or manager competitions or is it better to spend the time on my studies? Is it wise to try to go through college in three years? All these questions and many others have occurred to every Freshman. Some may have been particularly fortunate in having a friend who was an upperclassman from whom to seek advice. Many were not so lucky.
The college has clearly seen that the Freshman sorely needs friendly advice at the beginning of the year. Accordingly it has adopted the systems of faculty and senior advisers. The effect of these systems, however, can only be superficial. A student in apt to discount the advice of an instructor because he is a representative of the faculty. Moreover, it is a very difficult thing for a faculty adviser to help a student about whom he has known nothing until a study card is presented for his signature.
There is the same weakness in the system of senior advisers. In most cases the advise is a perfect stranger to the senior; he cannot really help the Freshman to any great extent unless they are old friends; only if the Freshman can trust and have confidence in his adviser, can the system be effective.
In an endeavor to meet this problem, the Middlesex Club of Harvard seems to be highly successful. Other school clubs will do well to study and copy its system. In the spring of each year, it holds a dinner at the Harvard Club to which the senior class at the school is invited. Here a chance is offered to students who will be freshmen in the following fall to gain a good idea of what a freshman must do to get into college life. All the common questions are then talked over with a result that these boys come to Harvard knowing exactly what to do and what is expected of them.
The work does not stop here, though; club members are appointed to act as advisers to the new Freshmen. As far as possible, each one is chosen from the same field of concentration in which the Freshman is interested. The whole result is that the Freshman finds a friend ready to help him at a time when he most needs one; he finds a friend that he has known in previous days, whom he likes and in whom he has confidence, a friend who has already been through part of the college mill. The Middlesex plan is a practical way to help the school and the college. By following up this idea members of the University who prepared at other schools will render a valuable service to Harvard.
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