The Growing College 289
representing the academies and J. C. Scarborough, representing the
College, made a report suggesting a correlation of the work of
academies and colleges, of which nothing more was heard. At least, it
did not affect the policy and practice of Wake Forest or any other
college. The trouble was that at this time there was no recognized
standard of secondary schools in North Carolina. Some had very able
teachers and were able to prepare students for admission to college in
three or four years and do it well, especially in Latin and
Mathematics, and in a few the instructors were competent to teach all
the college courses in these two subjects, and also Greek. Other
schools gave very poor preparation in these and all other subjects
whether they kept their students two years or four. But academies of
all grades felt injured when a student who had not taken all the
courses they offered went to college and thus robbed them, as they
said, of their rightful revenue.
During the administration of President Taylor, especially in his first
ten years, in the absence of standardization of secondary school
instruction, Wake Forest College, just as the other colleges and
universities of the State and the South generally, admitted all students
who had attained a certain age and who promised to be able to do the
work leading to a degree, regardless of what kind of school they had
attended and how long. In this it was thought that the colleges were
conforming to what was the general practice of the University of
Virginia until near the close of the last
The Southern
colleges, Wake Forest among them, took the students that came to
them, and did the best they could with them; like the University of
Virginia at a somewhat later date, they knew that "it would be wrong
to have the academic work in a State university begin at a point which
was utterly unattainable by the best public high schools of the State."
The safeguard was for the college to protect its degrees with high
standards of work.25
24 Bruce, History of the University of Virginia, 1819-1918, IV, 282ff., V. 105ff.
Bruce, op. cit., V, 108.
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