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USC should abolish the general education program – Daily Trojan

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A drawing of a person wearing a graduation cap while leaning on a desk. The student has a hand over their mouth as they yawn and there are stacks of papers, books, and a cup of coffee on the desk.
(JiWon Lee | Daily Trojan)

We’ve all been there: frantically watching as classes fill up on Web Registration, preferred time slots close and the 5.0 professors on RatemyProfessor become unavailable. Eventually, we begrudgingly give up on an ideal class and look for its replacement.

When registering for our general education courses, this situation is ever so common. Although some students may genuinely seek to expand their academic horizons through general education classes, most students simply want an easy A with minimal effort. These courses — originally intended to establish a clear standard of academia at the college-level — instead manifest as redundant and tedious subjects far from the student’s interests or major.

While the General Education program is an integral part of the educational experience within most colleges in the United States, it’s also outdated. As a school that heavily values interdisciplinarity, USC would benefit from abolishing the current system and replacing it with an educational program that prioritizes individuals’ interests to most efficiently educate its students.

Upon entering USC, all undergraduates enroll in courses that fulfill GE program requirements. The University requires this in order to educate students on essential knowledge at the college-level.

However, these requirements are redundant within an academic institution as prestigious as USC. With competitive admissions cycles and acceptance rates as low as 12% in 2021, USC admits students who have already proved themselves worthy. These students have already demonstrated a qualifying degree of proficiency to match the school’s standards, and most have already taken core classes in high school. Ultimately, repeating these core classes as GE requirements is redundant and unnecessary.

Additionally, although some may find GE classes valuable for encouraging well-roundedness within the student body, college should be a time to hone in on the subject of one’s interest, which is why they declare majors. Rather than spending time on a class of mediocre interest, students could spend that time delving deeper into their passions and interests.

For students who are undecided or wish to dip their toes into a variety of majors, the GE program can remain an option. However, USC offers a plethora of ways to find areas of interest without having to implement such a program. For instance, various on-campus clubs such as academic societies, professional fraternities and student-run organizations frequently offer tastes of certain disciplines, which allow students to gauge their interest without having to first take a semester’s worth of classes.

Another inherently flawed aspect of the GE program is the general attitude many students have toward their classes. When the University requires classes outside one’s interests in order to graduate, students seek classes that require low effort so they can maintain their GPA. Consequently, students fail to actually educate themselves on the topic.

In the GE program, students garner little passion for their education. Thus, to create the optimal educational experience, USC should encourage students to wholeheartedly chase their passions so they learn for the sake of learning.

By implementing such measures and allowing students to take classes they genuinely enjoy, USC will also expand and encourage interdisciplinary learning modes. With the extra space in their schedules, students would have a greater probability of pursuing additional majors and minors, leading to an improved education system with well-rounded students.

Although college is a time of exploration, discovery and change, strict sets of GE requirements do the opposite of fostering curiosity by stifling one’s intellectual curiosity. For USC to provide its students with an optimal education that matches the school’s values and prestige, GE requirements should be ditched and replaced with genuine modes of learning to foster the growth of passionate and proud Trojans.

This content was originally published here.

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