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Why Do I Have To Take General Education Courses?

Why do I have to take general education courses?

As a high school student ready to go ahead for a college education, I am sure you were hoping for two things regarding admissions to college:

  • You get the college and course of your choice

  • You can leave behind those subjects that you so abhorred in school and simply focus on your majors

You worked hard for the first and got the college and course of your choice. In the first week, you received your courseware and were utterly shocked that there are general education classes and some of them are exactly those which you detested in high school.

You would have noticed this shock on the face of other classmates too in your college. People wanting to major in English had to take quantitative reasoning and a few computer courses in addition to their writing and literature classes; computer science majors had to take a few writing and languages classes as well.

The "evils" of high school seem to have followed you to college, right? How wrong you were with regard to the second hope of leaving behind subjects you hated! Actually, I can hear and experience the frustration in your voice when you angrily ask, "Why do I have to take general education courses?"

So, why do you need to take general education courses? There are several excellent reasons for it and this article is dedicated to explaining to you a few of them.

Reasons for having to take general education courses

To make you a well-rounded professional – In addition to giving you the best courses for your main elective subjects, another key purpose of a college degree is to make you a well-rounded professional. So what if you are going to be a computer science engineer? Aren't you going to talk and communicate with people? Should you not be trained sufficiently in communication skills?

So what if you are planning to become a writer and chose English as your major? Should you not know how to use computers? How will you interact with your publishers without knowing how to use an email account? How will you know you are getting paid as per market standards if you did not know how to analyze and understand how things work in any market?

No matter which firm or organization you work for, all of them want an employee who can take critical decisions based on objective reasoning and putting into perspectives all relevant factors; a key skill that you will pick up when you take general education courses.

To give you a perspective of what every employer wants in his or her employees – General education courses are designed to give you the following benefits:

  • Gain critical thinking skills

  • Gain effective communication skills (both oral and written)

  • Gain ample skills to leverage on information technology; you are considered an illiterate today if you do not have basic computer knowledge

  • Gain an insight into yourself; leverage your strengths; minimize your weakness

  • Understand the world better

All the above and more are expected by employers as critical skills that his or her employee must possess. It is a world of intense competition. No matter how deeply you know your core subject, if you do not have the capacity to articulate your ideas to the people concerned, then that knowledge is quite worthless in the corporate world.

Employers want employees who are competitive – While most companies will give on-the-job training to new recruits; these sessions are normally technical in nature. The following non-technical skills are what employers expect of your potential employees:

  • You should be able to speak and listen effectively

  • You should have basic math skills

  • You should have a basic idea of general knowledge and current affairs

  • You should know where to look for information

  • You should be able to think and solve problems by yourself

  • You should be physical and mentally fit and alert

And, believe me, it is not a big ask. If you are not skilled enough, the employer will simply employ someone who is equipped with the above skills. General education courses give you that competitive edge that is needed to make you the ideal candidate for a job in your domain.

To understand yourself better – Doing a course that is not your major will make you look at yourself in a new perspective. You could suddenly realize that there is an inherent skill in you that is far better than what you believed you are great at. Earlier, you probably chose a particular major based on its popularity, its ability to get you a good job, or simply because many of your friends were doing it.

You could suddenly realize that maybe you need to change your major class itself because you have "discovered" a new passion. These general education courses give you a wider perspective of life beyond your domain. This will help you be more adept in your domain and make you stand out in a crowd and be noticed.

A wide repertoire of knowledge and skills – You ask any successful person; he or she will say that they have had to draw from various knowledge wells to come up with creative solutions for complex problems. And it was this ability to have so many skills at their command that made these people more successful than others. General education courses are designed for this express purpose.

To enhance the flexibility of your mind – When you study general education courses, you will realize that your mind's capability to link something in your general education course to your major course improves. Your mind becomes flexible enough to suitably adjust new skills picked up from general education courses into your core domain. Also, as your mind expands, it becomes more and more capable of envisioning the future which, in turn, will help you prepare for changes and innovations in your domain

Moreover, core domain knowledge is needed only to a certain extent to excel in your profession. For instance, an architect uses architecture for only a part of his overall work responsibilities. The rest of his work consists of managing people including his bosses, his team, and his co-workers, handling office politics sensibly and without much rancor, scouting for new business opportunities, cross-selling other products and services of his company, and more. To do all this, you need the skills that you will pick up from general education courses.

Final Notes

You may not get the benefits of general education courses while in college and it is quite understandable for you to get frustrated at having to do something that you believe is not at all connected with your core competency. Yet, when you go out into the corporate world and reap the benefits at that time, you will turn back, and maybe, thank me for writing this article for students like you.

And remember when you are in a difficult situation and are bogged down by assignments and extra-curricular activities, homework, and socializing and you simply don't want to so some of the work needed by your general education courses, you can buy them at Prescott Papers.

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