Top-drawer universities like Harvard and Columbia advertised for students steadily through August and September right up to opening day and offered entrance exams the weekend before classes resumed to give students every chance of taking and passing them.
Harvard even played down the difficulty of its entrance exam in ads, reprinted above, that it placed in The New York Times in September 1870, noting that of the 210 candidates who took its test the June before, “185 were admitted.”
Remembering When College Was a Buyer’s Bazaar
By ALISON LEIGH COWAN
March 31, 2011