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General Education Classes

By: Ryan Thomas

While in college, you will learn so much about your major and you will develop as a professional in your given field of study. However, your major classes are not the only classes that are required in order to graduate.

In addition to major courses, students must also complete a number of general education classes. The disciplines and number of these classes varies from school to school, but most colleges require such classes.

It can be tough because you already have enough on your plate as it is and “gen eds” just add to the workload. They are mandatory, nevertheless, so it is important you schedule these classes in an efficient manner because the last thing you’d want to happen is not be able to graduate because of a class that has nothing to do with your major.

With that being said, I have some tips that I have found to be helpful when it comes to scheduling and taking general education courses:

1.     Take them with a friend

Taking a class with a friend or even just someone you know and are comfortable with is the best way to make a semester as painless as possible. You have someone to sit through lectures with, as well as someone to help you with assignments and studying. Typically, when I was younger, I was always told to avoid taking classes with friends as it could be a distraction. But in college, I have found that taking classes with people you know and are close with is an advantage. Personally, I feel like I am more inclined to attend all lectures, complete assignments, and prepare for exams.

2.     Don’t overwhelm yourself

If you are confident you are going to be sticking with your major, especially after your freshman year, don’t kill yourself by taking difficult general education classes. Some are definitely more difficult than others.

I don’t want to say you should do the bare minimum, but hey, you are here for your major. So, don’t jeopardize your success in those classes by taking too many difficult gen eds.

3.     Kill two birds with one stone

If your university is similar to mine, you have a certain amount of general education disciplines you need to fulfill with a variety of classes. This is important because there are some classes that give you points for two or three disciplines.

Scheduling these classes over those that only take care of one discipline is a great way to lessen your workload. This may result in you only needing to take 8-10 gen eds rather than 12-15.

Schedule smarter, not harder.

4.     Use them as a ‘GPA Booster’

Anytime you take a general education course, be sure it is one that isn’t going to hurt your GPA. It would be a shame to do really well in your major classes but receive a poor GPA because of some art history class.

So, take advantage of these classes and be sure to make them a positive influence on your grades. I, personally, don’t think college students should be required to take general education classes after sophomore year, so if I have to take them I’m making sure I use them to my advantage.