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Why do I pay more tuition for stupid courses I don't need?

  1. Dec 7, 2004 #1
    I hate how my school has a "core" requirement of liberal arts classes that are more of a pain in the ass, than a learning experience. I only take 2 classes that are related to my major while the other 4 are worthless classes that are required. Why do I pay for all these courses that will have no relevance to what I will ever do in the future? It just seems to me that some of these courses are required to keep some departments at the University alive, since if they weren't required no one would take them. I think this is a bit excessive for a "core requirement":

    1 year of English-Intro and upper level
    1 year of History-Intro and upper level
    1 year of an INTERMEDIATE level of foreign laguage. (if you start at the intro level like I did, than you must take 2 years.)
    1 year of theology-Intro and upper level
    1 year of philosophy-Intro and upper level
    1 semester of ethics-(upper level only offered)
    1.5 years of social science ( must come from 2 AREAS-- 1 intro course in 1 social science, and 1 intro and 1 upper level in another social science.)
    1 year of Core Humanities Seminar (learning about the classics and enlightment etc.)
    1 semester of fine arts
    1 year of Science with labs ( of course I naturally fufilled this)


    Distribution of Requirements

    Writing requirement (8 courses)- 4 courses must be "writing enriched" (10+ pages in 1 semester), and 4 courses must be "writing intensive" (25+ pages in 1 semester). 1 of the writing intensives must be in the student's major.

    Diversity Requirement (2 courses)-- 2 different diversity courses must be taken in the requirements from courses that address women's issues, courses that focus on minorities and ethnic groups in the US, and courses that focus on culture, economics, politics, or ecology of societies and nations other than those in the Europe or the US.

    1. A student may not use a single course to fulfill more than one category of the diversity requirement.

    2. The diversity requirement cannot be fulfilled by independent study or a senior thesis.

    3. Language courses cannot fulfill the requirement, although literature courses in a foreign language can fulfill the requirement provided they focus on appropriate material.


    This many garbage required courses seems a little bit rediculous to me.
     
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  3. Dec 7, 2004 #2
    The theory is that you're supposed to become a more well-rounded person by being forced to take extra things. There's no way around it. It's actually not so bad though. If you plan appropriately, when you get to the hardest classes, you'll have some easy classes to take with them that won't take up so much of your time. I took a lot of classes that had nothing to do with my major, but with the exception of two of them, the rest I got at least something out of.
     
  4. Dec 7, 2004 #3

    Moonbear

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    The idea is that if you come out with a college degree, you should know a little more about how the world around you works, and how to communicate with others in it, than the average non-college-educated person. You must be attending a private university run by a religious organization to have a theology requirement, otherwise everything else on that list looks pretty reasonable. Don't be afraid to broaden your knowledge.
     
  5. Dec 7, 2004 #4
    Honestly, the only course I ever took something out of was intro to economics--it encouraged me to get a minor in it. All the other crap I just forgot as soon as I was done the final, especially the language requirement. What a waste of time and money. All the requirements do is bring down your GPA. I have a 3.99 GPA in my major, yet my cumulative GPA is nowhere near that because of the stupid required courses.
     
  6. Dec 7, 2004 #5

    Moonbear

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    I used to love those liberal arts courses. They were fun to take, made for a nice break from the hardcore sciences, and were incredibly easy.
     
  7. Dec 7, 2004 #6
    Why did you not take several years of a foreign language in high school? high schools out here require 2 years of either a foreign language or a performing art. I have five years in both and neither was wasted. I've actually had jobs i could not ahve had if i was not bilingual.

    One thing that will always bother me is how much people in general hate learning. Even people in college. If you hate it so much, get out and stop wasting everyone else's time. I will admit i hate my chemistry course this quarter. Not because i think its worthless, i know its not, i just hate the lab for it, the lecture is reasonably interesting. But first quarter intro chem lab is not (well a few spectroscopy labs were, but mixing ionic solutions is not). But i know its important for me to know.

    I cannot find words to express my frustration with your attitude. Then again, i'm the kind of person who reads literature and philosophy purely for intellectual stimulation, an idea that is probably as foreign to you as that language they make you take.

    But knowing that anything i say is a waste of time, i'm just gonna go, let my blood pressure drop, and do something more productive, and less painful, like chewing broken glass.

    :grumpy:
     
  8. Dec 7, 2004 #7
    I did take a language in highschool- Latin I, II, and III my 1st and 2nd year in highschool. Instead of taking latin again in college I took spanish instead, because by the time I got to college I forgot every single thing I learned in latin. I took 2 years of spainsh and barely got C-'s some quarters because I just have a learning disability for languages. I learned nothing from those language classes except what hasta la vista, hola, and mucho frio mean, but I could have learned that by watching the Terminator or going to Taco Bell. The people that impose those requirements would honestly like to believe that taking all those courses makes you a "well rounded" person, but in reality most people just forget everything after the final. The only thing requirements have done is brought down my GPA, which I care about most ( yes I am that shallow).


    I don't give a rat's ass about literature, film theory, or theology etc. and probably never will. I don't care what you think of me either for my attitude. I will leave the study of literature and philosophy to people who actually want to do it and find it interesting. I honestly could just take 7 courses every semester on just mathematics and chemistry for an entire 4 years and have no problem with it, I would find it much, much, much, much more interesting. I work in a lab with chemists who came from China, and over there at the University they only study what they major in. Maybe thats why they are the best chemists we have at the company?
     
  9. Dec 7, 2004 #8
    I think it's a pretty good idea to have a breadth requirement. I need 2 courses outside of science from 2 different faculties. I'm taking economics right now (social sci.), which I love and I think I might take film studies (arts) next year because I hear it's fun and easy and I also need to finish up my essay course requirement. But without a breadth requirement I might not have taken economics and would not have known how much I enjoy it.

    I feel bad for the engineering students though. Their program is so tightly streamed that their options for electives is very limited.
     
  10. Dec 7, 2004 #9

    Its a little different though when the requirements are more of a burden than an actually learning experience. I wouldn't have a problem at all with only 2 courses outside of science, but when your requirements add up to over 60 credits it gets a bit rediculous.
     
  11. Dec 8, 2004 #10

    If you're so convinced you're wasting your money, then stop.
     
  12. Dec 8, 2004 #11

    Moonbear

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    My core requirements in college were similar to that, plus I had additional honors program courses that didn't meet either my core or major requirements but were required to keep my scholarship, so you do what you have to do. If you're attending a liberal arts school, then that's what you signed up for, to get a liberal arts education, which means breadth of knowledge. Try to embrace it and appreciate that this is probably the one time in your life you'll really have time to learn something about things outside your subject area. If you dislike all of it, well, I find that a bit sad, but at least you know, and you may find there's something you enjoy outside of your major classes that you would never have discovered if you didn't take those core requirements. If those are classes you're weak in, consider it a challenge to improve. The thing is, you never know when it will come in useful, even if it's just for being able to converse at social gatherings. For me, understanding fields outside of science is very helpful when it comes to explaining my science to people in those fields. I have some understanding of where they're coming from and what they can relate to, so can put it in terms they understand. And you never know when you'll be trying to convince a philanthropist to donate money to your research area or department, and it's that conversation about ancient history that gives them reason to like you more than the other scientists who have nothing in common with them that seals the deal!
     
  13. Dec 8, 2004 #12

    russ_watters

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    You're not gonna wanna hear this, but the single most important skill of an engineer or scientist is writing.
     
  14. Dec 8, 2004 #13

    Moonbear

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    I 100% second that! And not just writing with correct spelling and grammar, but writing clear, precise, logical arguments.
     
  15. Dec 8, 2004 #14

    You mean whining about how he's wasting his money doesn't count?!?! :surprised :surprised :surprised
     
  16. Dec 8, 2004 #15

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: It doesn't seem very logical to me. The logical thing to do if one thinks they are wasting their money is to stop spending it on what they consider wasteful. But I'm accustomed to the whine. You should hear the English or political science majors complain about being required to take a science class; what do they need to know biology for?! :rofl:
     
  17. Dec 8, 2004 #16
    I definitely know writing is one of the most important skills to have. My highschool pounded this into us, giving us a 25 pg. research paper due every year. Also, the science courses here have lab write ups that are extremely long sometimes. I remember last year doing a report that was ~60 pg. long. Recently, my professor made us evaluate someone else's lab write up for homework. I had no idea what the hell the kid was talking about in his lab because his writing skills were so poor. He didn't even have verbs in some of his sentences. You can still learn to be an semi-decent writer without having to take English etc. I could have learned to write by writing papers on mathematics or chemistry instead.
     
  18. Dec 8, 2004 #17

    Moonbear

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    Then take scientific and technical writing as your upper level English class.

    Edit: If you're writing a 60 page lab report, you might want to consider working on being more concise in your writing. There's always room to improve. Consider trying to write up not just a day's worth of lab work, but a year's worth of novel research within about 15 pages, and doing that several times a year, or 5 years' worth of work in a 300 page dissertation, or every few months writing up a grant proposal that includes 35 pages of research design (and probably 100 to 200 references). Writing a 25 page paper once a year is not the same as the amount of writing done in a scientific career. I probably spend 75% of my time at work on writing in one form or another.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2004
  19. Dec 8, 2004 #18
    Wish they offered one.
     
  20. Dec 8, 2004 #19

    Integral

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    Perhaps you should look into a technical degree from a comunity college.
     
  21. Dec 8, 2004 #20
    Hell, if community colleges offered advanced math and chemistry classes I would go to one. Unfortunately, they don't. I'd be very surprised if you could find a community college that offers things like complex analysis or physical chemistry as course offerings. It's funny how people are hating me for telling the truth: most students are just taking required courses and studying to pass the final exam, they don't give a damn about the course material at all.
     
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