The requirement of general education improves a student’s common knowledge and enforces doing more than the bare minimum to obtain one’s dream career. Despite many surveys proving the importance of the core courses, many people do not believe education should be broad based in liberal arts. Not only will the liberal arts courses positively affect someone in the workplace, but also make him or her a more educated person to impact society. These courses expand the range of opportunities a person has, since the specifics learned for any major could change within the next few years.
An employer may look for someone who is knowledgeable in a specific area, but has a background of another. With the background of a liberal arts education, a person will seem more appealing to an employer because of the demand of adaptability. What are known now as the “core courses” or general studies used to be known as a “liberal education”; the range of subjects studied, from basics in reading, writing, math, speech and different branches of science.
The goal is not just to produce someone with knowledge in a particular subject area, but to make one an overall educated person who has studied history and literature and science and psychology, all of which help a person to have broader knowledge of the world that surrounds him or her. General Ed became a way to get students to try different things and learn a broad variety of topics. In many European and Asian universities, students only take courses pertaining to their major.
They then come to a university in the United States to complete graduate studies; the research papers and what most people would consider “easy” assignments, have foreign exchange students in a daze (Black Duesterhaus 923). If a student is in a engineering, technical, performing arts or scientific major, general education classes are important because they give you the opportunity to write, which may be seen very rarely in your major. Regardless of your major, being able to write well is a critical skill in the working world.
So general studies are extremely important, because they are a big part of what makes a person an educated person. Approximately 80% of students entering into college are unsure of their major (Suddarth 203). General studies help most of these 80% decide what field of study they are interested in or narrow down specifically what exact major in a field of study they already had in mind. These courses even help some students decide they do not want to continue studying for their intended major.
Although general courses limit students from taking any random course they think looks interesting, it pushes them out of their element and forces them to learn something they might not have chosen on their own. They are good courses to just give someone a brief overview of that specific field of study. The liberal arts education is based around the passion to learn. It also gives students more freedom for when they are in the job market. Most majors that are chosen by students encompass basics that are taught within these core courses.
Students should be informed of cross curriculum, where they can apply an idea from one course to an area of a different subject (Engstrom). As an example, English can improve math skills, because some math problems involve reading and understanding a word problem and English can give you this practice through critical reading exercises. Understanding and comprehending a passage or problem can be very crucial to some math majors. They cannot possibly solve a solution if they do not understand the initial problem.
Another comparison to this is a business major or someone who will be dealing with clients will need to have good writing skills to communicate professionally with clients or coworkers. Wherever one may end up in the workplace, he or she will have more flexibility from the courses required to a student to graduate with their preferred degree. It will force students to be creative and think outside of the box to face a variety of problems. Most jobs in the real world require an interdisciplinary knowledge of multiple ideas, and if all you ever did was take classes that related to your major, then you would be at a severe disadvantage.
Employers shy away from hiring students with no background skills such as communication and complex problem solving. These skills are important and are “transferable” to any job. The simplest tactics could prepare you to face more challenging, unpredictable, and unique issues in your career. Having the background of these general studies could essentially make or break your achievements in the workplace. That could be the one extra incentive for an employer to hire one student over another. An overwhelming number of people feel it is unnecessary to have a broad range of knowledge in all areas and disciplines (Russell 1).
What people fail to realize, in many cases, is that our society is so highly specialized that a base knowledge of chemistry or English literature is little to no use for socializing or joining in on trivia at a party. “It will do a person no good in his or her biology or history research to know about calculus, and no mathematician needs to understand the use of alliteration in poetry in order to solve an algebraic math problem”, said Sarah Russell, in the newspaper of the University of Tennessee. Many fail to realize that educators did not want their history majors to leave school not knowing anything about science, or Chemistry majors to not know how to write a decent paper”(Russel). No matter what career a person has, it is important that they are not blinded completely from other areas of study. A student who will graduate with an English major does not need to take level four of calculus, but it is beneficial to the person to have a background of math, no matter how narrow it may be.
If a person graduated from a college without receiving a liberal arts education, they may be relying on their high school English lessons to help them write a letter to a colleague, a few years out of college. “If you’re not studying science, engineering or technology, Governor Rick Scott may not think your degree is worth funding,” said Emily Morrow in the University of Florida Newspaper. Scott believes degrees in liberal arts such as anthropology or psychology are poor job prospects. He feels it is important for students to be informed of what the corresponding salary is to each major.
Scott’s top priorities are shifting funding to degrees that have the best job prospects, weeding out unproductive professors and rethinking the system that offers faculty job security (Morrow). “It’s sheer and utter nonsense,” fought back Charles Young, former University of Florida President. “They have a total lack of understanding about what a university is and what universities do. ” People attend universities to prepare for their future career and to be instilled with knowledge that they will use the rest of their lives.
A person can never learn too much, so he or she should not be limited to learning only what is necessary for their job. Scott fails to realize that a person will never understand the world around them if they are limited to only learning one area of study. Having a broad range of classes can help someone figure out what their weakness and interests are. As in Florida, the rest of the United States is still in debate about whether a liberal arts based education is improving their future, or diminishing it by offering them majors in low paying jobs that will take several years after college to pay back their overwhelming loans.
Even though many people complain about general studies and wish they could be eliminated from the requirements at college, they will notice the positive impact they actually do make after they complete the once, tedious courses. Even though students get placed in a course they would have never chosen, some learn that they actually do enjoy studying subjects they have never explored before. The knowledge one gains in these courses goes far beyond the classroom and workplace and well into their life and interaction with society.
A person may consider some of their classes to be boring and time consuming while they are enrolled, but all of the information learned will make him or her more intelligent and well rounded for any challenge or opportunity faced in life. Liberal arts courses can be a challenge for a student as they try to adjust to college life and juggle all the unfavorable courses, but in the long run they will definitely be an advantage to each person.