March 3, 2020
Here’s a few numbers for you: 36. 18. 120. The first is the number of credits required for my major. The second is the number of credits required for my minor. The third is the total number of credits required for all students in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
That’s how many credits are required outside of my major and minor combined. And that’s ridiculous. Is this really what we want from college? These numbers alone represent the decline in quality of higher education in the United States. At this point, you must ask yourself why more than half of your credit requirements are for classes that have virtually nothing to do with your academic focus.
The main argument by the college is that these requirements, whether in the compass curriculum or in area requirements (e.g. natural science, social science and oral communication), provide students with a well-rounded education. In all honesty, what many of those courses accomplish is giving us a distraction from the studies we came here for. There is a reason why I chose to study French, German and film, not geography or Great Ideas in Science.” (Still struggling to find the reason for this class’s existence).
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe students should be exploring courses outside their major, or maybe they don’t even know what they want to major in. But again, at what point does it become too much? We are here to study for ourselves and find our niche, not take classes most of us took in high school. That’s what we call redundancy.
Take away my minor and I’m left with a whopping 84 credit hours required outside my major. That’s 70 percent of my entire degree, and these classes probably won’t add anything extraordinary to my life other than a handful of facts I could pull out at a dinner party 10 years from now.
Yet we place so much value on our own major, as we should. The reality is that majors make up such a small portion of our university experience. Of course, in our majors we are bound to have more knowledge than the remaining 70 percent of courses we take combined, but it still baffles me why we are paying such high tuition for what we are given.
In the end, those extra courses don’t even matter. If you’re planning on going to grad school, all that matters are the classes you take in your major. If you aren’t planning on grad school, then what’s left is your career. I’ll have my major and my minor, two subjects that I’ve put so much work into to expand my knowledge in those areas. Is my future employer really going to say, “Hey, you took Jazz History once two years ago? I’ll hire you because of that!” The answer is no.
So why the hell are we forced to take so many credits? Or, better yet, why are we forced to pay for those credits that serve more to distract us and drain our wallets than benefit our intellect? But hey, maybe I’m just salty about having fun tidbits about different landforms or jazz artists I can talk about at parties.