CHANGES IN COLLEGE ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS
THIS subject has been covered most fully and learnedly in A Historical and Critical Discussion of College Admission Requirements by Edwin Cornelius Broome, Ph.D., references to and quotations from which are freely made.
Under her first president, the entrance examinations at Harvard were Cicero, Latin Composition and the Greek declensions and conjugations, and no mathematics or English or age limit. All the examinations until well into the nineteenth century were oral. The important thing was that the boy should be well grounded in Latin, as all his exercises and theses and a large part of his conversation must be in that language. As part of the entrance requirements the boy was compelled to write out, in his own hand, the college laws and rules, which were then handed in to the president, who signed and returned them and thus matriculated the student. An entrance examination is thus described by Dr. Edward A. Holyoke of the class of 1746 at Harvard: --
Early colleg entrance requirements.
"An account of our examination the 13th day of July, 1742, viz.: p, Green, myself and Putnam. Tutors, 3d Æncid, 15 lines, Pres't, 2nd Æneid, 24 lines, Virgil -- Tutors, 3d Catiline, Pres't., 2nd Catiline, Tully -- Tutors, 12th Luke, Presi't, 25th Matthew, Greek Testament -- Memo. Mr. Flynt examin'd us in Tully; Mr. Hancock in Virgil; Mr. Mayhew in Greek Test.; Mr. Marsh in no book, in the forenoon. In the afternoon examined by the Presi't who gave us the following Themes: Foxcroft, Sapientia Praestat viribus; Green, myself, Labor improbus omnia vincit; Putnam, Semper avarus egit. I finish'd my Theme the 19th day of July, 1742, and was admitted the day of ye August following (after having been on writing my College Laws 20 days, finished them the 10th of August). And we began to recite on
A typical early entrance examination.