After spending four years in high school completing a core curriculum, students move on to college to finally begin their journey and pursue their future careers. But many universities require students to complete more core classes before those required for their major. These classes should be required as they assist the student in finding their way.
A core curriculum is a set of generalized courses required of students. These classes can include the subjects of science, mathematics, language and history. Many universities require students to complete a set amount of core classes prior to classes associated with their major. This provides students with general knowledge in a variety of subjects.
Many students enter college with uncertainty, unaware of what career path they should take and afraid of choosing the wrong one. With this mindset, a core curriculum is ideal. Being able to take generalized courses provides the student with the opportunity to discover new interests and decide on a major that they desire.
Requiring the completion of core classes is also beneficial as it teaches the student critical thinking skills.
“I think core curricula are great for those who are undecided or who want to merge diverse interests,” University of Chicago student and CCHS alumnus Christian Porras said. “You’ll get to sample various fields and get a sense for whether you’ll like to pursue them as majors. It definitely helped me decide what to do.”
One college that has a core curriculum is Columbia University located in New York City. According to Columbia, the core is necessary for all students regardless of their major. This university believes that the core unites the students and provides them with opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue.
“I absolutely love the core at [Columbia University] … I chose this school, in part, for its unique core,” Columbia University student and CCHS alumna Tamarah Wallace said. “I think that this specific core will benefit me immensely as it was created in order to … facilitate a want to challenge the world as we see it now with an understanding of how it came to be.”
Requiring the completion of core classes is also beneficial as it teaches the student critical thinking skills. Walden University explains that this can educate the student on analysis and evaluation skills that will help the individual throughout their lifetime. Being able to think critically will assist the student with their ability to create their own opinions.
“Even though I wasn’t especially enamored with the core as an incoming student, I feel like the classes that I’ve taken outside of my major have taught me more than I could’ve imagined and have made me a much better critical thinker,” Porras said. “There’s just something fundamentally important for balanced intellectual development that is captured in a liberal arts education.”
Taking these required courses provides a common ground for undergraduates attending the university. As the University of Chicago describes it, a core curriculum provides students with a similar set of ideas, vocabulary and understanding as that of their peers.
“I think that core classes are school-specific and one must take into consideration what type of college experience they want to have before they choose their university.”
One of the main purposes for developing a generalized curriculum is to provide students with a baseline of knowledge. This means that by exposing the individual to a variety of essential classes, they will have basic knowledge in a variety of areas. Having this knowledge can benefit the student by making them a more well-rounded and educated individual. Upon graduating college, students will not only have an understanding of the major they chose but also basic abilities in a wide variety of other subjects.
Individuals may feel that a core curriculum should not be required of students because it is challenging and does not correlate to their major. Although a core curriculum can be challenging and difficult to pass, the benefits of it outweigh the difficulty. Being able to understand concepts in an array of multiple different subject areas, developing critical thinking skills and being united with one’s peers all make the core a positive experience for university students.
“I feel like core classes that focus on creating a more moral, well-adjusted graduating class are beneficial,” Wallace said. “I think that core classes are school-specific and one must take into consideration what type of college experience they want to have before they choose their university.”
Photo by Kayla Florenco