July 23, 2024

Why push gen-ed classes?


High school is four years of general education . You can try to specialize your education a little with AP classes and different electives but for the most part you are getting a “little bit of everything”. This was the most frustrating part of high school because I was the type of student who already knew what I wanted to major in and known for a very long time. Not having to do worksheets or book work was a real excitement for me when thinking about my future as a college student. 

You can imagine my disappointment when I found out that my associate degree was just another two years of high school. Freshmen and sophomores are required to take classes that don’t directly apply to their major. General education seems to be a “necessary evil”, but is it really all that necessary, what happens if colleges go away with general education?

Several cultures where general education is virtually non existent because youth are focusing on one path, one goal and ultimately one career. Whereas in Utah the culture is relaxed around when a student should know their major, even more relaxed when developing a career plan. General education classes get in the way of student planning a career path. For example, I am a social work major and  had to take several years of generals before I could even think about taking my first social work specific class. Imagine if I was able to go straight into social work as a freshman, I would have earned a degree faster and be dedicated and committed to my career sooner. 

For some, taking general classes made them think that college was pointless and not for them. Even for students who don’t know what they want to major in or the career they want to pursue math, science, and English can be a barrier to graduation.  

General education classes discourage returning  students more than any other type of student. Often time returning student will have to start from the bottom in math, science and english because their credits expired or they don’t know the material.  Non-traditional students who are advancing their education in a field they already work in do not need to take English 2020 again but are required to anyways. 

General education classes are not only a burden but a financial burden. We all know that college is getting more expensive every year. A year of general education classes can leave a student in the red for thousands of dollars, not specialized degree. 

 General education classes don’t help students pick a major any faster or develop a better career plan, so why do we have to take them? If they are not relevant to your major a class can be a waste of time, money, and energy. Getting rid of general education requirements may bring back some value to an associate degree. It can also help colleges retain students because students will immediately get to learn about subjects they care about. Finally, I think getting rid of general education classes can help fuel a better engaged and stimulated class of students.