OPINION: General education courses unnecessary, limit students

Alexis Dunston, a junior environmental science major from St. George, looks back on math, science and history and is so glad to be finished. General education courses can take a lot of time to finish due to understanding and are not always necessary for students’ declared majors. Photo by Jessica Johnson.

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We spend 13 years in school learning basic subjects to prepare us for college, and then we get here and are required to relearn the same material in general education courses.

General education courses are a waste of our time because college is the place for us to pursue the career we as college students are interested in or to explore various classes to figure out what we want to do.

Even students who have a declared major may want to take classes for fun, however, general education is taking away from that opportunity. Without it, students could seek out fun classes without racking up extra semesters of school.

General courses include English, mathematics, American institutions, life science, physical science, laboratory science, fine arts, literature/humanities, social & behavioral sciences, and an extra general education breadth and depth course.

According to the Dixie State University website, general education course requirements are a minimum of 32 credits. By taking these extra classes, our college education is prolonged by roughly three semesters, depending on how many credits you take per semester.

Including my media studies major, general courses and social justice minor, I will be in school for close to five years. However, without general education classes – which are not necessary for my major or minor I could potentially graduate within three years. Now imagine those who have not declared a minor – they could graduate even quicker.

It is rare to find universities that don’t have general education requirements, but there are a few including Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. These schools have what is called an “open curriculum,” or “individually advised curriculum.”

“Open curriculum ensures you great freedom in directing the course of your education, but it also expects you to remain open to people, ideas, and experiences that may be entirely new.”

Brown University

According to Brown’s website, their “open curriculum ensures you great freedom in directing the course of your education, but it also expects you to remain open to people, ideas, and experiences that may be entirely new.”

Every college should provide students with this opportunity because it challenges our thinking and leads to a unique college experience.

Less time in school also leads to less money spent on tuition, which then decreases the amount needed for school.

According to the DSU website, DSU students would save $7,328 by removing generals classes from the curriculum. Just think how much money students would save at more expensive universities.

We may learn more from our college-level general classes, but that’s only worth it if we’re interested in learning more about it; otherwise, the class is pointless to take.

Some may say that general education courses can provide direction to those who don’t know what they want to do heading into college. However, those who start college not knowing what they’re interested in doing yet are typically just work on getting their generals out of the way, not to find what they are interested in.

If we eliminated generals, those uncertain students could instead focus on taking classes that explore their already-developed interests. Then, once they have figured out what they want to do, they could continue down that path and not have generals to worry about completing.

If you are a student who believes that generals does not benefit you or are holding you back from graduating and beginning your career, take action. Reach out to the director of general education and discuss how you feel and why.

You can reach Erin Ortiz, director of general education at 435-879-4268 or email him at [email protected].