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Inaugurated in 1934, the National Scholarship plan has enabled over 160 intellectually promising boys, possessed of the added qualities of leadership and wide extra-curricular interest, to come to Harvard notwithstanding their financial status.
The plan developed because the ordinary scholarship of a maximum of $500 is not enough for the needs of many boys who are in every way qualified but who are not in a position to pay the rest of the year's expenses. Honorary awards, carrying no stipends, are also made under the plan to deserving students, and the aid given to each man is in proportion to his income.
Large Stipends Awarded
Since the national scholars are a hand-picked, cream-of-the-crop group, representing until this year a cross section of the non-New England states, they are given every opportunity by the College to show their fitness. Thus the stipends are large enough so that the student does not have to take outside jobs, and may devote his time to study, athletics, and other undergraduate activities.
The administrators of the National Scholarship plan, largely through the work of Herbert C. Barrows, teaching fellow in English and Freshman advisor, have issued a pamphlet describing its accomplishments after six years.
Honor Grades Necessary
"At the end of his Freshman year the National Scholar is expected to make honor grades," declares the report. Of the 131 Yardling National Scholars in the classes of 1938-43, 105 have been in the first three rank lists. Besides continued high scholastic standing, they must be well-recommended by the instructors in order to receive a reward for the next three years.
The six-year report issued by the University emphasizes that these men have belonged to many clubs, have worked on class and House committees, have distinguished themselves on University and House athletic teams as well by their work for the various undergraduate publications.
"There is practically no undergraduate interest, and certainly no important one, which has not been shared and furthered by National Scholars," declares the pamphlet. "In each of the classes in which National Scholars have graduated, one of the class marshals has been a National Scholar."
It is difficult, say the administrators of the plan, to decide arbitrarily whether all the recipients of the scholarships will fulfill the terms of their awards. Since the first group has only been out of College two years, the final answer cannot be apparent immediately.
There is, however, a markedly higher percentage of honor men among the National Scholars than among the classes as a whole. This fact is not surprising since they were chosen in that expectation, but it is remarkable none the less.
The greatest number of students under the plan are sons of teachers, with engineers and farmers coming second and third. Other occupations represented included printers, service station men, truck drivers, a piano tuner, a carpenter, a lumberman, and one "unknown."
Favorite vocation of National Scholars from the classes of 1938-40 is business, which takes in advertising and publicity, chemical and physical research, personnel, and production. Close behind is law, but strangely enough, medicine is very low in the scale.
As a general rule, most of the Scholars find some kind of a job during the summer. One has worked as a surveyor's assistant, park caretaker, taxi driver; other occupations include laborer in a bicycle manufacturing company, in an electric plant that manufactures are welders, orderly in a hospital, and technician in a medical research laboratory.
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