The Impact Of Higher Education On The United States Essay

886 Words Dec 4th, 2016 4 Pages
The introduction of higher education to the United States began with Harvard, which was founded in 1636 (Harvard, 2016). Many other universities would come in to being in the next 300 years, however other significant foundational institutions were the University of Pennsylvania and the College of William and Mary. At Harvard, as well as the other foundational institutions, attendance was only for the elite, of which there was few. This lead to a lower number of applicants and high rates of acceptance.
Most colleges at this time did not have many more applicants than places, and acceptance rates at Harvard were extremely high by current standards (e.g., in 1911, 72 percent of those who applied were accepted, and even as late as 1951, approximately two thirds of those applying were admitted). (Stampnitzky, 2006, p. 464-465)
The students attending higher education institutions during this time frame (1600s-1800s) likely did not have much choice in the matter. It was common for children to follow in their family’s profession. The university student at this time was not struggling with the complicated decision of what field they would like to dedicate their life’s work to. It usually had already been decided for them. It’s also interesting to note that most students entering a university at this time were between the ages of 12 and 15 years old. Even in the 19th century, this remained the common age group. The 1859 catalog from the University of Maryland, previously known as…

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