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  1. #21
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    I agree about the value of Gen Eds and discovering new passions. I too like learning about many different things. I just don't think it should be forced. We already have to endure enough of that in K-12 education. I also think about the financial expense involved in taking courses of no interest or use to you. The thing is that for many fields, there is no trade school equivalent. If you want to major in the sciences, you will probably need a 4 year degree. Yet, some gen eds like world history aren't likely to be any more relevant to a scientist than say an auto mechanic- something that could be learned in a trade school.
    I don't get it, though. What are they losing? They're already paying a shitload to attend college, so gen eds aren't going to really add to that substantially (unless the asshole student fails them.) I have no sympathy for people who feel like they're "wasting time," though, because that's usually just code for, "I'm a lazy little shit who doesn't want to be bothered learning about anything else that isn't relevant to what I think I'm interested in right now." Those types of kids usually need it the most.
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  2. #22
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    If it makes you feel better, every cost you consider is actually 140% roughly in pretax dollars (useful budgeting tool for hypotheticals is to multiply by 1.4 all your costs and then work with gross pay).

    Public school in CA costs 20k a year plus at least 20k to live on...Add in a 5th year (harder to get classes you need at public schools) Pre tax it and you end up in the mid 100s...

    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    I'd be for it.
    How many years of "general education" does one need? By the time a student gets to university he has been doing "general education" for 12 years. What exactly does the next 2 years of "general education" add to the last 12? Why not condense the 14 total years of general education into 12 years?

    Imagine an economics major who studies economics for 4 years instead of 2. It would make his undergraduate degree more valuable, and seeing as we pay through the nose for education, we should be trying to maximize our return.


    We're told to go to university because it increases our chances of success in life. Especially in this day and age, particularly outside the sciences, what can you learn at a university that you can't online? So far, the only thing that I've picked up by going to college that I wouldn't have otherwise is an affinity for parties.

    I think, though, that education is slowly going in this direction anyway. Where I'm from, it's isn't atypical for high school juniors and seniors to be taking classes that give them college credit.
    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    that's great if you know exactly what you want your degree in. most of us have no fucking clue and jump from major to major never finding the major for them. general education at least gives one a taste of different options.
    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    This is an argument that generally comes from everyone in college and not from people that already graduated, haha.

    Really, though, I think that you should have to take some basics in a number of different programs. Everyone only wants to take classes in whatever their specialty is, but really, just having a degree means something. If there weren't a great variety of classes in each program then employers would have nothing to gain from hiring college graduates that don't have the degree specifically in their field. Most importantly, college is about educating yourself and developing your way of thinking. It's not just about becoming a skilled technician. If that were the case, there would be no advantage to going to college over apprenticeships.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquarelle View Post
    The price tag of university is a different issue. I completely agree that higher education is way too expensive in this country, and because of that it is, sadly, not a realistic option for many people. However, um, 100-200K?? That's a private school price tag. Attending a private school is a personal choice. There are many great public universities that don't even come close to that price tag for a 4-year, undergraduate degree. I really don't have too much sympathy for those who choose to go to private school and then end up in debt.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    that's great if you know exactly what you want your degree in. most of us have no fucking clue and jump from major to major never finding the major for them. general education at least gives one a taste of different options.
    i can tell you that this is MUCH better option for people like this (myself included) than European model where you pick major right away and study NOTHING else. so when you're 18 you have 1 shot to figure what you want. Of course, some dont and end up losing 4-5 years and going to new major, every course they passed on previous major just goes to waste. Like in extreme cases like mine where I had finished 3 years of medical school (which was integrated bachelor+MS) into 6 years, and after that it was worth nothing and I need to go from start in Psychology, 3 years BS again.
    If next year I decide for something else, like mathematics, whole 1yr of psychology and 3 yrs of medicine go to waste and I have another 3 yrs.

    This is very bad for economy as well, probably 30% more people would graduate if you dont waste 3 yrs of credits and it counts for nothing! since school is almost free here to many (included in taxes of course), but only about 20% people go to college as opposed to 50% (or more, as far as i am informed?!) in USA.

    Picking what you want to do for the rest of your life before taking even 1 course of it - it's craziness!

  4. #24
    Senior Member celesul's Avatar
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    I would be much happier with less specific GE requirements. I think taking classes outside of your major is good, but some of the specific classes are not so good. Regardless, most of my requirements are math or physics, which I think encourages problem solving skills far beyond your standard humanities core. At the same time, I think most Universities requiring quantum would go poorly. I really dislike how most general requirements are so humanities weighted, actually, even though I think that high level physics is super hard.
    "'You scoundrel, you have wronged me,' hissed the philosopher. 'May you live forever!'" - Ambrose Bierce

  5. #25
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celesul View Post
    I would be much happier with less specific GE requirements. I think taking classes outside of your major is good, but some of the specific classes are not so good. Regardless, most of my requirements are math or physics, which I think encourages problem solving skills far beyond your standard humanities core. At the same time, I think most Universities requiring quantum would go poorly. I really dislike how most general requirements are so humanities weighted, actually, even though I think that high level physics is super hard.
    I would imagine that math or physics courses are best at "encouraging problem solving skills" in math or physics, but little else. Most universities already require at least two classes (if not more, depending on your school/major) of math and science, anyway. Also, "humanities" is not a subject in the same way that math or physics is, so if G.E. requirements seem "humanities weighted," it's because the humanities umbrella may cover fields as disparate as 18th century literature, Asian art history, sociolinguistics, or philosophical logic (to name just a few.)
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  6. #26
    Senior Member celesul's Avatar
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    The sciences are also plenty broad, and they legitimately do teach problem solving skills very well. Most colleges don't require sciences at a level that actually teaches problem solving skills. Specifically, most colleges don't require a proof based math class, they only require applied math. Humanities is composed of subjects just the way that science is. The skills learned from taking an Asian art history class do not, to me, seem substantially different from the skills learned from an 18th century literature class, although the specific knowledge is, of course, very different. If I take a few history classes, Asian art history isn't going to teach me anything dramatically different, even though it may be fun and interesting. The core here requires that we take an average of one humanities or social science class per term. I'm not saying that humanities aren't valuable, but at most colleges, everyone takes a decent number of humanities classes, but only the science and engineering majors take a meaningful amount of science and math classes of decent difficulty.
    "'You scoundrel, you have wronged me,' hissed the philosopher. 'May you live forever!'" - Ambrose Bierce

  7. #27
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Hmm, good arguments on both sides.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquarelle View Post
    However, um, 100-200K?? That's a private school price tag. Attending a private school is a personal choice.
    Quite a bit of truth, hehe. In fact, this recent-years "opening of eyes to debt" should then result in a marked decrease in applications to private universities. I will search, interested to see whether that's true. Public school in my home state would have been $20-50K for the sum of four years.
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  8. #28
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celesul View Post
    The sciences are also plenty broad, and they legitimately do teach problem solving skills very well. Most colleges don't require sciences at a level that actually teaches problem solving skills. Specifically, most colleges don't require a proof based math class, they only require applied math. Humanities is composed of subjects just the way that science is. The skills learned from taking an Asian art history class do not, to me, seem substantially different from the skills learned from an 18th century literature class, although the specific knowledge is, of course, very different. If I take a few history classes, Asian art history isn't going to teach me anything dramatically different, even though it may be fun and interesting. The core here requires that we take an average of one humanities or social science class per term. I'm not saying that humanities aren't valuable, but at most colleges, everyone takes a decent number of humanities classes, but only the science and engineering majors take a meaningful amount of science and math classes of decent difficulty.
    If you're just talking about general problem solving/logical thinking skills, I'd say that the universities fail not because they don't require enough upper level science/math, but rather because they don't require basic logic courses. I'm not just talking about argument/informal fallacy theory courses (though I think kids should take those too); straight mathematical logic would be ideal (not fucking calc or chemistry or whatever. Those are too memory based.)

    Getting back to the broader subject of this thread, university education is not supposed to be the equivalent of a technical school education. It's not supposed to function as a career sorter/granter of specialized employment certificates. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, universities are increasingly conflating the goals of liberal education and technical certification, and the consequence is that we end up having to pay a ton of money for a terribly shitty version of both.
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  9. #29
    Glycerine
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    Besides the cost, I think the GE requirement is a good thing because many people would not branch out and learn things on their own especially things they aren't the most interested in (I know many who would avoid the critical thinking/quantitative reasoning aspect like the plague which I think is one of the most important things to gain from education).

  10. #30

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    I don't remember the general education classes taking a terrible amount of time. They were the easiest classes I had, and a nice change of pace.

    The idea that getting rid of them would significantly shorten the college experience just doesn't ring true.

    Also, (for the science and engineering folks) things like English (or whatever the main language of the country is), History, and even things like Music or Art Appreciation, provide the context into which the science and technology fit.

    One of my favorite classes (that fulfilled general requirements) was a class called "Engineering Cultures". It provided a history of engineering, prepared me to think about corporate culture in a broad sense, and introduced me to one of my favorite authors, Henry Petroski.

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