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Twice each year most undergraduates are confronted with the problem of how to make an intelligent and informed choice of courses for the ensuing half year, and just so often they are forced to weigh the risks and uncertainties of courses whose content is largely a mystery, and to make the best of it.
Upper class men have tutors whose province it is to advise them on such matters. By contrast, Freshmen have to depend for their information as to the actual material covered in a course on two sources, neither of which is note-worthy for infallible accuracy. The first source is the Freshmen advisers, public-spirited but much harassed guardians of infant university members. They have come in for their share of criticism already--not always deservedly--and in this instance they cannot be held responsible for a minute knowledge of some one-hundred odd course syllabi. The other source of knowledge from which the whole college drinks equally long and deeply is the well of common report, whose waters reveal to the drinker reflections soon through another's eyes, each one different.
What would be of more value to the college than a motorized snow-sweeper or an open-air parking space at $6.00 per month would be a pamphlet giving a fairly detailed, complete and specific listing of the reading covered in the course, and of the method of approach. Lest the faculty be too alarmed by fears of regimentation, let it be said that this list need not be in the nature of a promise nor even of a threat which their consciences or University Hall would drive them to abide by. To be sure, some courses, such as History 1 might include only a convenient fraction of the requirement so that the first shock of reading the list might not have too grave an effect on prospective members.
This would not trespass upon the boundaries of the Confidential Guide, which seeks rather to present as impartial a critical judgment as possible of the merits and faults of the more important courses. The proposed pamphlet would instead let the course speak for itself, giving the student a basis for choice according to the standards of the University, and would greatly lesson the number of misfits that are an inevitable consequence of the prevailing lack of information.
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