Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Heretical Thoughts about College

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Some of my opinions on homeschooling, on education, might seem rather scandalous to some of you, Dear Readers and Friends. Although my children are well-educated and the recipients of tons of excellent homeschooling I am about to utter some completely heretical blaspheeeeeming, right here on my blog.

I don't believe in required, general studies in college.
I've thought very long and hard about this, so bear with my thoughts on this for a moment.

John sewing some buttons
Here in the United States our universities require two years of General Studies, General Education courses. Universities want their graduates to be well-rounded people, informed in many classical subjects, capable of critical thought, exceptional writing, and a fuller understanding of our world. Higher Math, Logic, Sciences, English and Literature, Economics, History, the Arts: these are the courses that make up most of the General Education courses that students are required to take in order to earn any Bachelors degree.

Students are required to take thirty or more hours of General Education courses from these variety of disciplines. That is the equivalent of nearly a third of all college undergrad credit requirements. While I would not give back my own general education courses in college for the well-rounded education and knowledge and interest that they sparked in me, I do not see them as essential. 

Excellent classes in major fields of study are far more essential. And so many would-be students are unable to attain a full college education because paying for this massive amount of tuition for general studies prohibits completion of a full degree. Would it be such a loss if some students went to college and got right into their major studies?

Investing major cash into a chosen field of study requires such discipline, determination, and focus. That focus in and of itself is truly an education. The various, unrelated fields of study required in the general studies may, most certainly do, help to create a well-rounded student, a more critical thinking human being, and, perhaps, better aware of the operation of the world around them. And that's cool. I had that. I'm glad I had that.

However, investing money and time in pursuit of a chosen profession takes people out of lower-paying jobs and prepares them to actually be able to afford living in the world. Degrees of high learning are essential in our technological world. Two years of focused, specialized knowledge in a specific field is priceless and completely transforming for a student. Even two years, rather than four years, of focused study matures a person, requires extreme personal contemplation, develops excellent thinking skills, develops intense self-discipline, creates opportunity for deliberation and mindfulness, and develops independence and hope and opportunity.

I'm willing to suggest a very unpopular opinion.
General studies are not necessary for a good college experience.
I, a woman with a masters degree married to a very educated man, feel that the long-time beliefs of college providing a well-rounded education is unnecessary and can also exclude so many prospective students who could rise in society, in confidence, in income level, etc.

I'm willing to entertain your ideas...what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I agree. As the only person in my immediate family with a BA, I'm also the one that most doubts the idea that 4 years of college should be mandatory. I spent more money than I should have and struggled through many classes that I do not value haven taken. When I did find a subject I burned to know about, I learned the most outside of school.


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