In 1964 Hampden-Sydney College, in Southside Virginia, was fairly typical of American schools and particularly of the small, good Sothern schools of the region: Randolph-Macon College for men in Ashland, co-ed William and Mary in Williamsburg, and Randolph-Macon Women´s College in Lynchburg among others.Read the rest here.
H-S, as we called it, was entirely male, both as to students and professors. This had the great advantage that we could concentrate on the job at hand, as for example learning things, instead of pondering the young lovely at the next desk. These latter were available at Longwood State Teachers College (now of course Longwood University), seven miles away.
Hampden-Sydney was not MIT. Average SATs were perhaps 1150 if memory serves. The students were chiefly drawn from the small and pleasant towns of rural Virginia, and would go on to become doctors, attorneys, and businessmen. Yet H-S embodied (and may still) a, by today´s standards, a remarkable philosophy of education, and showed that reasonably but not appallingly bright young can be educated. So did most colleges.
It was then believed that higher education was for the intelligent and the prepared, for no more than the upper twenty percent, perhaps fifteen ore even ten percent of graduates of high school.
At Hampden-Sydney, “Prepared” meant “prepared.” It was assumed that students could read perfectly and knew algebra cold. There were no remedial courses. The idea would have been thought ridiculous if anyone had thought it at all. If you needed remediation, you belonged somewhere else. Colleges were not holding tanks for the mildly retarded.