When the renovation of the Freshman Adviser system takes place--and it can not be put off much longer--it would be well to make of it as nearly as possible a mere introduction to university life. This can best be accomplished by confining it, in its new and efficient form, to the first half of the Freshman year, after which the student would be immediately introduced into the tutorial system and a field of concentration.
The tutorial work given Freshmen during the last half of the year should be a mild dose indeed. The main function of the system would be to familiarize the student with work in a field of concentration, so that one of the weakest spots of the tutorial system as it now stands, that of switching back and forth from one field to another, would to some degree be mitigated. If the Freshman were allowed to select his field of concentration in January instead of in the spring, he could find in his tutorial work from February to May an interesting purgatory. The work should by no means be made a burden because so many Freshmen carry five subjects as it is and the tutors themselves are already well occupied. A few books covering the field in a cursory manner would at least give the Freshman a fairly accurate picture of what his chosen subject was like before he plunged into it in earnest the following autumn.
It has been held by some that a Freshman is not in a position to make a wise choice of a field of concentration in the middle of his first year at college. Quite the contrary would be true, however, once he tried swimming without the dead weight of the present Advisers around his neck. The more personal and sympathetic attention given him under a revised Adviser system would make him more fit for the choice after four months in college than he would be after two years under the present arrangement.
Besides the obvious advantages of the trial flight in his new field of concentration, the extension of the tutorial system would make the planning of the study card in the spring a much more logical and scientific affair than it is at the present time. The hasty alterations and substitutions made by the tutors the following autumn under the existing system not only are carelessly thought out, but add to the general confusion in September of the Sophomore year. If this work were done leisurely in the spring, while the Freshman was getting his first taste of concentration, more sober and appropriate choices would be made.
Dean Hanford in his latest report has called attention to the dangers surrounding the selection of a field of concentration. A careless choice has much the same effect as groping in the dark, and is the greatest danger of all. A student who realizes his mistakes and changes his fields at the end of his Sophomore year has lost many months of work and is consequently ill-prepared for his later examinations. Concentration-on-approval for the last few months of the Freshman year would enable the student to judge from experience the choice he has made before any real loss has been suffered.