Seniors who completed their Concentration last year, misled in their innocent youth by careless advisers, are wondering now just why they were so misguided. Half the purpose of Concentration and Distribution is defeated by such a mistake, and half its advantages lost; yet there seems to be a current impression, even among advisers, that Concentration should be completed as soon as possible, so that the work of the last year or two may be broadly distributed.
The unlucky Senior learns, if he has followed this false scent, first, that the preparation for his Divisionals and the work of his courses come in unrelated fields; whereas, if he had left some of his Concentration until Senior year, at least a few of his courses would coincide with his special preparation, and strengthen him for the tests in May. Also, he suddenly remembers that a grade of A or B on those tests would excuse him from final examinations in all courses that lie in his field of Concentration. But if he is not taking courses in that field, the well-earned reward is wasted, and he has the added burden of June examinations, after he has passed the Divisionals.
Contrary, then, to the current superstition, it is not Concentration but Distribution that should be completed in the first two years. Distribution allows a student to sample the various fields and make certain that his special choice is right. It opens the view for him so that he can judge what outside courses will best supplement his particular interest. And it clears the way so that he is left free to advance to a considerable depth in at least one direction, his Concentration, which would be impossible if he proceeded in that direction during his earlier, and more immature years.
Distribution is primarily a lower-class requirement, and Concentration a privilege of upper-classmen. The Faculty might do well to enforce that distinction by requiring one course in each of the four divisions before the end of the Sophomore year, and similarly shifting the Concentration rule so that at least four of the six courses would have to come during the last two years. At any rate, student and faculty advisers, by remembering this principle, can spare their advisees many of the disadvantages that the present Seniors have met.