If there's one thing that every college student has become an expert on, it's jumping through hoops that often seem completely pointless but are still, for some reason, required. Doing this is an important part of becoming an adult. However, one starts to wonder how many hoops (in this case, dreaded general education courses), should be mandatory, especially if they have nothing to do with the career someone wishes to pursue. Aside from the fact that students must pay the course fee and pay for the textbooks, these classes also take time away from the subjects that really interest students. Others say that general education is important because it provides a broader experience and helps the student find their interests.
As a student at a liberal arts school, I have a pretty narrow understanding of how regular colleges work. This is why I asked by best friend who attends the University of Florida for her thoughts on the subject. She believes that, if someone is certain of what they want to major in, they should be able to only take the classes relevant to that major. According to her, general education classes are often irrelevant because students have all of high school to learn basic material. She thinks that liberal arts colleges should realize that a lot of what they teach is just a repeat for some. If she could change the system, she’d make it so that those who are "undecided" about their major could take some general education courses in order to find something that they’re interested in, but it should not be a requirement in order to graduate.
All of these ideas make complete sense and it is certainly a more streamlined way of doing things. However, one could argue that the point of getting a higher education is to have a broad range of experiences that you can fall back on for help later in life. The College of Charleston, for example, places a great emphasis on a liberal arts education. While I definitely believe that having a broad education is important, I wonder how it affects the students’ mental states. Having so many classes that are all in such broad subject areas can be incredibly challenging, especially if one of them is something that someone struggles with. Also, having so many different areas of study being thrown at someone who has very broad interests and struggles to decide on a major can cause them problems with making a decision, which is the exact opposite of their intended purpose. I could get into a whole discussion about how this is an ulterior motive to get more money from students, but that’s for another time. My point is, since there is so much societal emphasis placed on what someone majored in during college, being torn between multiple interests can actually cause more problems than this plethora of skills can solve.
What is your opinion of general education requirements? Do you think they provide students with a much-needed broad education? Or are they a pointless requirement for those who are certain of what they want to dedicate their life to?