The Downfall of General Education Courses


Comic strip. Photo credit: Diego Ramirez

Many students often juggle loads of units per semester while simultaneously working or interning. The rate at which students are receiving their bachelor degrees has increased from four years to six years, according to a study conducted by Complete College.

Time is limited, this challenges the four-year myth that students must graduate in four years in order to be considered an “on-time” graduate.

Students are more focused on passing their GE classes than actually learning. As a previous English major, sitting through any math or science courses deterred me from excelling in those same semesters.

Not only did these general education classes affect my GPA negatively, but it also affected me emotionally as I often wanted to stay home than sit in a class learning numbers and formulas.

These general education courses are all teaching different subject matters, so having to take on a full schedule of classes that are in no relation to each other, while possibly working too, can be extremely challenging for some.

Don’t get me wrong; most students know that these required courses are an attempt to make us “well-rounded individuals,” but the classes fail at doing so.

Yes, classes like Anthropology and Religious Studies can be enjoyable classes, but students should have the choice to take this class. Not by force.

GE classes, however, can be useful in a situation with someone who is undeclared with their major. Lauren Howey, a third-year at Chico State, stated that she believes GE classes are important and useful.

“Courses delve into topics at a deeper level than they would in high school, and you can be introduced to so many classes you wouldn’t expect to like or even take, to begin with,” said Howey. “I took RELS 260 as a GE class and it has made me think so much about what I learned.”

Lauren isn’t the only one who believes GE courses serve some benefits.

Aaron Williams, a third-year student at Chico State says, “through general education courses, I was granted the time to declare a major through sorting out which courses caught my attention.”

These types of courses are seldom taught in high school, which explains the increase of interests. However, it is safe to say that all high schools require students to take basic STEM classes. This should be enough for the average college student.

“I think some general education classes are good, it exposes people to new things they wouldn’t imagine liking,” says Caitlin Landaker, a third year Chico State student. “I mean, some classes like POLS 155 and PHIL 102 are useful but we already learned history, standard biology and math in high school.”

Time and money are essential and scarce here. Multiple classes tend to be waitlisted as well, and no one ever gets excited to see a yellow triangle in their shopping cart.

The only people who should be taking general education classes are undeclared majors. Students should already have a basic understanding of STEM topics before coming to Chico State.

Rachel Reyes can be reached at [email protected] or @rachhreyes on Twitter.