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Page 171 text:
Complaint is also made of the character of our entrance examinations. We know that the Latin necessary to enter this College has caused students to decide in favor of other like institutions where only English branches are required at entrance. The need of more Latin for a scientific course than can be obtained in the freshman year, is doubted by many who thor- oughly understand what such a course should include. But after a student has passed his examinations and entered college, there are still many obstacles to prevent his remaining. If he is poor he can obtain woi k under the labor fund. Undoubtedly many men are en- abled to remain in college only by this aid ; but the students who ai e thus aided are few compared with those that might be if this fund were put under better regulations. It is all right for a Freshman to work all his spare time for a moderate recompense ; but after a year or two of such work he begins to see that he cannot materially increase the size of his pocketbook without working so many hours each week that he has neither the time nor the inclination to do well in his studies. He finds that his poverty prevents his obtaining the best advantages of a college education ; he stays out to vork for a term, and generally never returns. We sin- cerely believe that a graded scale of wages for poor and deserving students would prove of much benefit to them as well as to their employers. It is the Faculty who have the most to do with making the College suc- cessful or unsuccessful. The object of this institution, as stated in the catalogue, is to give a practical education. To do this, practical, energetic instructors are needed. We do not wish to criticise our honored Faculty, for we realize how much they have done toward making the College vs hat it is, but we believe that there are some members who are neither practical nor energetic. Their instruction is long drawn out, and seems to have in view only one end — to occupy the time. Such instruction cannot fail to cause dissatisfaction among those who are obliged to receive it. Indirectly Junior electives would solve this problem of how to improve certain branches. If students were allowed to choose for themselves the studies the were to follow for the Junior as well as the Senior year, there would be either improvement or obliteration of certain branche s. It would mean the survival of the fittest, and we think it was a fear of this that caused a refusal of electives last year. 159
Page 170 text:
Editorials PERHAPS the last place that any one would ordinarily look for edito- rials is in the pages of a college annual. Filled as the book is chiefly with statistics and dry information, it might be better taste to cover these few pages with jokes, leaving all subjects of a serious nature to the columns of our college paper. We realize, however, that this volume will reach many vho do not see that interesting periodical, and so we have tried to present matters of importance in as brief and clear a manner as our lack of experience would permit. We expect that those who have any desire for the prosperity of Aggie will scan these pages to find the. ideas of the student body concerning the causes that have brought about the small entering classes of the last few years, and that have made so many students leave for other institutions. It is fully time that this matter was discussed in plain words. No matter what explanations may be offered, the fact remains that, although the stand- ard of scholarship is much higher than ever before, and that the corps of instructors has never been larger, the College has fevs er students than it has had for several years pas t. Where does the fault lie ? Is it with the students? Point out the college in the land having an equal number of students, that puts forth a college paper or annual that is to be compared with our own ; that struggles any harder to support athletic teams or col- lege associations ; that shows a more commendable college spirit with so little to foster it. We do not wish to impute the fault to either Trustees or Faculty ; but it sui ' ely does not lie wholly with the students. In their position they cannot make reforms; ' they can only suggest them. We believe the advantages of the College are not advertised to the ex- tent they should be, and that what advertisements may be seen are not in the kind of papers that are apt to reach prospective students. The plain, unvarnished fact is, that there are places within a few miles of Amherst that never have heard of this College ; or if, in some way, a knowledge of its existence has floated to them, it is seldom thought of as a place where a good scientific education may be obtained. 158
Page 172 text:
It is this denying the students the privilege of choosing for themselves the studies that they are to pursue that, more than all other reasons, causes men to become dissatisfied, and to leave college. That Senior electives have proved successful cannot be doubted by any one who has noticed the increased interest that the Seniors take in the special branches which they have selected. To bring the College completel} out of its state of depres- sion and make it a success in the future, electives are needed, not merely during the last two years of the course, but during every year except the first. We understand that some of the Faculty are in favor of the latter plan, and that nearly all favor the former. With a two-year course, which takes all who care only for a practical knowledge of agricultui e, it is certainly unnecessary to confine the regular students to one general course longer than the first year. At all events, we hope that the Board of Trus- tees will not be so forgetful of the future welfare and success of the Col- lege as to refuse electives to the Junior class next year. In 1S93 the first class of the Two-year Course entered college. What to do with it was then a puzzle which has not yet been satisfactorily solved. AVe do not condemn the course of study given, but we believe that, in gen- eral, the class of students it has attracted would be wholly condemned by ,the student body if there were not a few good men in each class. That there are men of merit in this course we admit ; yet the influence of the course as a whole has I ' esulted in bringing down the standard of the College. Considering that one third of the students here are men of this course, and that nearly all the support of the College associations rests with the remain- ing two thirds, — considering that the falling off in numbers of the regular students was almost identical with the founding of this course, and was, in part, caused by it, it may well be asked. Is not the Two-year Course a drawback and hindrance to the welfare of the College? The course of study itself is above repi oach, for it is one that has been long needed to fur- nish farmers ' sons with a cheap, practical education ; but we believe that for the good of the regular course, the Two-year course should have no connection whatever with the Massachusetts Agricultural College. We feel sure an improvement might be made in the system of cuts now in use. There are but few institutions of our size and standing that do 160
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