Getting Into Tufts … ca 1888

Excerpt from an item in the Tufts Daily:

Rather than submitting an application, prospective students came to campus and completed an entrance examination the June before their first year. The exam covered a wide range of subjects — if “wide” can be taken to mean classical history, languages and literature. Students taking this exam in 1888 were tested on Caesar, Cicero, Virgil and Ovid in Latin, as well as Homer’s writings in their original Greek. Students also solved problems in arithmetic, algebra and plane geometry; demonstrated their knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman history and geography; and translated a passage of “The Iliad” into English. And no need to worry about running out of time: This exam lasted for two days.

But let’s say you came out of the womb reading Virgil and could practically translate ancient Greek in your sleep. What could you expect once you arrived for the 1888−89 academic year? To say the least, Tufts was a pretty happening place to be. […]

… outside of the math component, it sounds an awful lot like the comprehensive exams one has to write for a Ph.D. nowadays, no?

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