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Another Gen Ed

Should the general education requirement be eliminated or expanded in universities? This question has created much controversy for many years. Many students are getting aggravated and bored of the same topic being taught to them over and over again. From elementary school up until high school, the main focus was general education: science, math, English, and history. How many more years are colleges and universities expecting students to focus on these same topics?

The general education requirement is way too in-depth because of the number of courses a student needs to fulfill in order to graduate. For students, college creates a large workload with major and general education requirements.

To be considered a full-time student at Monmouth University, a student needs to take a minimum of 12 credits per semester. So let’s break that down. At Monmouth University every undergraduate student is forced to take 16 general education courses throughout a student’s college career. These courses are three credits or more which is a minimum of 48 credits. 16 courses or 48 credits are just about four semesters, two years, worth of general education classes.

An undergraduate at Monmouth University tends to take eight semesters in order to graduate. Hypothetically four out of the eight semesters are focused strictly on general education. For example, in semester one an average student takes five classes, four of which are general education. Continuing this pattern for the next three semesters leaves the student with having 16 general education requirements and only four classes focused on their field of focus.

These general education courses are three or more credit courses so they are in-depth and have a workload that typically sits on the heavier side. For a Communication Major at Monmouth University, there are 20 major required courses. That is only four classes more than the general education requirement. This is where many students see a problem with general education requirements. Not to mention, these credits are usually courses that have been forced upon in high school.

If a Monmouth University student takes 48 general education credits out of the 128 credits that the student needs to graduate, that means over 37.5 percent of their college career is spent learning information that has already been taught at the high school level.

For upperclassmen, general education tends to have been taken care of within the first two years of school, leaving the majority of major required courses for junior and senior year. These major classes need to be taken starting at the freshman level. If the student realizes they do not like the major he or she picked by the time they are a junior or senior then it is too late for them to switch their major and graduate on time.

The major required classes should be one of the first and the majority of classes a student takes to ensure the student is going to like the major they selected. If the student does not like that major intended class(es) as a freshman then it is not too late to change their major.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University