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The committee on admission was formed with C. Mildred Thompson ’03, assistant professor of history, as its head.  The established process—admission of new classes through the dean’s office, primarily on priority of date of application—had troubled MacCracken when he was at Smith, and it had been part of the discussion that led to the formation of the four-college conference.  Many better-qualified students were being turned down or deferred for uncertain future consideration, and less able students were often admitted on the basis of registration at birth for a place at Vassar.

A new system was gradually introduced. Priority of application was still observed, with close faculty attention to Vassar’s entrance requirements, but a number of “honor students—ten in the class entering in 1916—were admitted from the deferred group based on academic merit alone. The next year, 25 such students were admitted, and by 1928 “the college was fully committed to competition for all places in the student body, and all students were admitted by the same method….

“[MacCracken] thought that the students who were most eager to enter Vassar and were sufficiently equipped mentally to succeed in the competition would undoubtedly constitute a clientele the likes of which the college had not previously known.”

—Elizabeth A. Daniels, Bridges to the World: Henry Noble MacCracken and Vassar College

The Years