Some people go into college with their minds set on what they want their career to be, but end up not liking their career when they try it out in the real world. If students took general education classes, they might be motivated to keep their options open and not commit to a single path in life. In the future, many workers will switch from job to job, rather than the traditional model of having one career for life. A diverse college curriculum will better prepare students for the economy of tomorrow.
Lets be clear, general education is Math, History, English, etc. Sure, we learned that in the K-12 grades, but now we need to learn it at a higher level. We need to learn how to communicate in the real world. Also, most higher level classes in specialized subjects will require knowledge gained in Gen. Eds.
The average American on goes at least 4 carrier changes in their live and it's always best to offer general education so that they can be reminded what certain areas are like hands on. This also better prepares students for certain areas of education because the more knowledge the better.
Even though college students have taken general education in previous education, not everyone has had the same level of cognitive development. General education courses will help develop that; no matter what level of cognitive development one is at.
General education classes increase knowledge and helps build logical thinking mechanisms.
Who wants engineer that knows how to build a bridge, but doesn't know when and why a bridge is needed? Who wants a doctor that knows how to amputate a leg, but doesn't understand the ethics of it?
College is a time of great change and development, and if we are only exposed to a single stream of academic thought then we miss out on a wide range of exquisite knowledge. This is a tremendous opportunity, to experience and develop thoughts which you might never come in contact with while you are off studying for your major. It is one opportunity which I plan to seize to its highest potential.
It's important for colleges to produce well-rounded alumni. Students should be exposed to a certain amount of general education, no matter what their major is. Even if a science student is brilliant, no one will listen to their ideas if they are not articulate. In the same way, humanities students will always need some math for their everyday life.
If a student just follows the requirements for their desired major, then what happens if they don't get any job in that field and end up failing? If they haven't taken any of the other required gen-eds then they wouldn't know what other way to go because they didn't take any of those classes. Also if the students aren't required to take these gen-eds and are still undecided, then how are they supposed to decide? Students should take all the requirements to find a second and/or interest/skill just in case the first one or two fail.
Students going into college who already know what they would like to do should only have to take courses that pertain to that field and become "experts" in it. If a student doesn't know yet then they can take general education and try to figure out what they would be interested in. It's a very simple solution that would probably help many students excel in their respective fields of study because they would be more focused on their potential careers instead of dividing their effort amongst general education courses "just in case."
You went to school for 12 years to learn for your general education. Kids go to college to be educated usually, in the field of what you would want to do with your life. I'm a college student taking IT Network administration and have to take a chemistry class. I don't want to learn chemistry, I want to educated about what working field I would like to go into.
General education has already been taught to students grades K-12, a few more years of it when they're supposed to be learning how to operate in a specific field is not only unnecessary, but it's counterproductive. By college-age, they're no longer children. The education system shouldn't have to continue to hold their hand, they should either know what they're going in for, or hold off on college for a bit longer.
Why waste even more time when we already took similar courses throughout our whole lives up until grade 12. Why waste even more time just to learn subjects we'll probably forget since it has nothing to do with our major. If someone wants to learn a little more of everything then they can self study or take other classes on their own time. We go to college to specialize, not to take classes that we have no interest in. All this accomplishes is more wasted time and money.
Taking General Education classes can be helpful... For those that feel like they need them! I'm majoring in finance and banking-- I don't need to spend 800 dollars and four months of my life taking a pottery class to fulfill a fine arts credit when I could be taking one of the many classes that actually pertain to what I want to do for the rest of my life. For he or she that doesn't know what they want to study, to each his own. But for those who know what they want, let them focus on pursuing it!
Gen Ed courses don't create intellectuals, or even pseudo-ibtellectuals. For students who love to learn, they'll get SELF-EDUCATED, regardless of college requirements. If a student doesn't care, Gen Ed courses won't change them. They are a tremendous burden for the taxpayers, parents and students themselves financially. They're an archaic requirement out-of-touch with today's reality. Employers care about your knowledge related to your MAJOR(S)- not the Gen Ed stuff! Student loan debt & default rates indicate a change is needed...
I am an education major. Most of the classes I am taking right now will not help with me becoming a teacher. I don't care how to make topographic maps. Schools are using prerequisite and Gen Eds to make students pay more money. This list of requirements could really completed in one year of school...But of course they stretch it out so we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on useless information.
I have been in college for over 6 years just trying to get a bachelor's degree. I have failed a couple of classes sadly and had to repeat them. I have borrowed several thousand dollars in loans that I could have bough a small house with. I do appreciate some general ed. Classes, but the downside to them is it increases the amount of money I have borrowed and will have to payback and it also takes longer to graduate. The system should be changed somewhat especially for students who may have trouble learning certain subjects.. Am I wrong?
When students go through elementary and high school, they are learning a wide variety of topics, including essential foundations such as reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. During these years, they should discover their personal strengths, weaknesses, tastes, and preferences. College, then, should give them every opportunity to capitalize on their strengths, without requiring them to exercise their weaknesses. Furthermore, it may be healthy or personally fulfilling for an engineering student to participate in sports or music, but these skills will likely have little or no bearing on his engineering skills. Therefore, they should be offered, but not required.
A lot of material covered in general education is a rehash of what student have already been educated in---writing well, speaking eloquently, using basic/necessary math skills, being able to think about something deeply and personally. That being said, forcing students to retake all of those things in college seems to stem from a lack of confidence in the student's abilities to pursue those things on their own time, and have the adult capacity to learn independently.
Solution: test basic aptitude in general education courses and work with the students who need help improving those skills (preferably independently), and let those who have developed them already take the courses they WANT, and let them explore themselves and their career interests that way.
English: have them submit a few short pieces of writing. Say an academic research paper, a short story or novel-type piece, and a professional email. If they don't have the basic grammar and spelling skills to do those right, then have them take an online or small-group class on language and composition.
Math: test personal finance abilities (aka basic addition, subtraction, multiplication), and perhaps some algebra. If they can't handle things because they don't understand, have them take a full class. If they just need a refresh or a framework, again, online education can be very effective.
Philosophy: give them some poignant articles to read (preferably on a subject they are interested in), and conduct an interview in which the student responds to questions about the moral implications of a given idea or action. If they can articulate themselves in a one-on-one setting in matters of philosophy, they're good to go. If not, small group study to improve their critical thinking skills.
In the end, all of these skills are certainly valuable, but students who already have them or are very capable of developing them on their own should not have to sacrifice valuable skill-building and career-oriented learning time. College is about becoming an adult, and as a college student, I want to be educated in my field, and not be forcibly ushered through a "learning experience" that I would rather pursue on my own.