By Krish Ajmani
General education (GE) classes are ostensibly an integral part of the college learning experience. On paper these classes seem wonderful; students learn fundamental skills while furthering their knowledge in a specific subject. What you learn in GE classes is supposed to set you up for success in the future. That is, unless you already have all of the basic information and fundamental skills you need. Awkward.
As the education system grows more competitive and the emphasis on getting into a good college grows, students often learn the basic reading, writing and analysis skills they need in high school. Their preparation in high school often covers what GEs strive to teach. It’s the rat race of education at its finest. Even in the case that you learn everything you need to in high school, you still have to take GEs. This is great for the university. I mean it’s really great for the university. Schools are increasing tuition every year because students are willing to pay for valuable “education.” GEs are extremely profitable as they keep students enrolled longer, ensuring they make more money. Universities stand to make around $60,000-$120,000 more per student as we cannot jump straight into prereqs and major classes. Seems like a pretty good gig to me.
General education classes are taken less seriously every year. GE classes are like vegetables when you were a kid. Your mom (the university) will make you eat them at every meal no matter what because they’re “good for you.” This analogy isn’t perfect, however, for one very important reason: GEs serve NO purpose at all. In this situation, your mom is actually wrong about something. Students now talk among their peers and scour college social media accounts or websites to try and find the easiest GEs possible. Since the classes do not matter, why not take the easiest one, get an A in the class and boost your GPA while you’re at it?
Being forced to take a general education class that does not provide you with any useful skills can be one of the most insipid and frustrating aspects of the college experience (or the most fun if you’re lucky enough to get into Scand50).