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Out of the welter of their personal memories which Harvard alumni fondly recollect, two points stand out which are highly essential for undergraduates to understand more clearly. Both of these deal with little known features of extra-curricular activities; and it is to clarify these points that the Crimson is today conducting a poll of the student body. It is hoped that this questionnaire will spotlight several issues which have been too long ignored, particularly by incoming Freshmen.
The first point emphasized by alumni reminiscing over their college careers is the importance of extra-curricular activities in the world of business. Unquestionably the tendency to judge graduates in search of jobs on their outside connections fully as much as on their regular scholastic record is increasing each year. Rightly or wrongly, the employer of today is likely to be just as much interested in the ability and predominance of his prospective employee in non-academic pursuits--ranging from, say, his extra-curricular American History study to his record on the athletic field, stage, or publication--as he is in probing the number of honor grades which the job applicant has produced. This alone is excellent reason for including a well-balanced activities diet in every Harvard student's program.
A second important point is that in later life alumni almost invariably realize that their four years here were centered around such activities. Far more lasting than course lectures, more impressive than final exams, are memories of hours on the river, at Soldiers Field, in dramatics or debating, or in scores of other non-scholastic endeavors.
Extra-curricular activities, however, cannot be totally separated from academic pursuits. A strong indication of this is the emphasis placed on this subject in scholarship applications. No less than four questions on the National Scholarship applications are devoted to this theme, and also on the regular scholarship applications, the student's outside program is one of the most carefully scrutinized questions. Activities plus high grades have proven to be the ideal scholarship combination. But probably most important of all is the immeasurable social benefit to be derived from working as a member of some team or organization. These social contacts, as Dr. Bock so aptly points out, "help to fit men to live in the world of men".
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