Should Gen Eds be required?
The majority of college students would agree that general education requirements can often be frustrating because they may not be directly related to our field of study. Courses that are offered for the different Gen Ed distributions may not be of interest to everyone. In addition, taking Gen Eds for the first year or two in college can cut down the time students have to complete requirements for their major and/or minor. Therefore, it gives students less time to finish their main requirements. However, Gen Eds give students a chance to step out of the bubble of their major, meet other students, learn new skills, and get exposure to different courses and perspectives.
At UMass Boston, students have to take Gen Ed classes in multiple distributions including arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, world languages and world cultures, depending on their major of study. UMass Boston offers a wide range of courses in different specializations within these distributions depending on students' career paths and interests. One of the main purposes of Gen Eds, from what I’ve understood, is for students to be well-rounded in most subjects regardless of their major. In fact, this is a way to help them choose which major, minor or concentration is the right choice for them by giving students the opportunity to choose classes in all areas of study.
Did you know UMass Boston students can cross-register with MassArt which allows them to take classes at MassArt? Well, cross-registration with MassArt is a great way to take fun classes that can fulfill your art distribution requirements for Gen Ed. However, some classes may not count towards credit at UMass Boston, so I would suggest speaking to your advisor before registering for MassArt courses. Honestly, I strongly believe that Gen Ed courses are beneficial to students and should be required at all universities. Gen Eds are basically the core subjects that we take in high school. You can apply the things you learn in your Gen Ed courses to your major courses and career. In the long-run, they're preparing you for your professional career. Gen Eds allow students to gain the practical skills that are needed for their careers. They provide a different approach to learning which includes communication skills. But, there is an easier way to complete Gen Eds! You can take Gen Ed courses at your local community college to save money and time! Personally, I have transferred some credits from my high school dual-enrollment classes which have saved me some time in finishing my Gen Eds.
Don’t just choose the easy classes! Pick classes that you will enjoy and learn something from. Some Gen Ed classes may even help you in choosing your major. In fact, I’ve taken some Gen Eds that have helped me decide whether my major is right for me. As a sophomore, I’ve already taken ENG 102, and although it wasn't directly related to my major, the course has really helped me become a better writer, reader, and I’ve gained a lot of researching skills.
Try to finish the Gen Eds as early as possible. Don’t wait until senior year! It’s most beneficial to take Gen Eds during freshman and sophomore year because those courses will help you decide whether the major you chose is right for you. Whereas, if you take these courses during senior year, you might end up finding the classes interesting. However, it would be too late to change your major at that point. Those courses could’ve been a better fit for your career path as well. In my opinion, Gen Eds should be required, because even though they may not be directly related to our major, the knowledge we gain from them can be used throughout our careers.