An affliction as perennial as Yankee gout is Harvard's advisory system, Freshman advisers are noted for their well-meaning but negative, and sometimes absent, guidance of Yardlings, many of whom have come from schools where personal and thorough counsel from older teachers was a rule rather than an exception. Inseparable from the problem of guidance in a year turbulent for Freshmen with new educational methods and new scholastic standards is that of maladjustment. There are two kinds of maladjusted Freshmen; first, those that come to Cambridge either with personality, social and moral, or financial problems, for whose predicament there can be no solution until the whole advisory system is vitalized. Second, the large number of able, well-trained men who find the Freshman year largely a repetition of their last year in preparatory school. For this group there is a remedy, and a good one: advanced scholastic work for Dean's List Freshmen in the second half-year.
Nearly half of the Freshmen in Group III originated from private schools, which are usually regarded as superior. One semester of average Freshman courses is enough to make these realize that they are merely studying under a new system the same subject matter learned in school, to burst their bubbles of academic enthusiasm, and to make them restless and wayward. Thus, bored prep school men are ready and no doubt willing to do this advanced work. Proof of this is the fact that when, some years ago, freedom in selection of courses was granted, more than 300 Freshmen turned to advanced courses. Forty per cent of the grades received by these men were A or B, and most took survey courses, like Economics A, in the field in which they later concentrated. As Dean Leighton suggested in 1935, this condition demanded, and still demands, increased advisory responsibility, in order to maximize the mature scholastic interest.
Now that University Hall has convinced the departments of the necessity of what Dean Leighton calls "Freshman tutorial," it is pertinent to examine if and how it can succeed. Placing Yardlings under a tutor for advanced work does not mean that they should do tutorial in the Sophomoric sense. With four courses and sometimes English A, and the necessary balancing of extracurricular activities with the academic diet, even bright Freshmen who find courses dull and repetitious, carry, nevertheless, a full program. Therefore the purpose of "tutorial" should be only to teach future concentrators the meaning and significance of tutorial. Opening their eyes to what the field officers, which of course will involve the introduction of new material, is wiser than assigning too much reading and too many reports. Despite their main function, Freshman tutors should not forget that they will be able to guide as well as to instruct.
Few realize how heavily pressed are large departments, such as History and Economics. For them to obtain Freshman tutors is like throwing Man Mountain Dean. For complete success more is required than the readjustment of departmental budgets; in those departments, particularly Classics, not essential to the Freshman curriculum, the curtailment of budgets is mandatory. To achieve a thorough system of Freshman "tutorial," some full courses should perhaps be cut to half and some staffs reduced. But, if that part of the maladjustment evil which concerns Freshmen too advanced for the curriculum can be erased, then the Faculty should not hesitate to sacrifice every thing for cooperation.