The 5 Minute Guide to Gen-Eds
With the offering list for Spring semester posted, it is time to think about class selection. For most of us, our major requirements aren’t exactly up for debate. However, there still remains what I personally consider the worst part of picking classes: deciding on what gen-eds to take. I hate gen-eds so much, that I spent my first two years stacking up on my required courses and will end up taking nothing but gen-eds during my senior year. To keep all of you making this same mistake, here’s a quick guide to help you pick out your gen-ed classes before it’s too late.
The first thing to think about when selecting classes is what you’re interested in. While most gen-ed requirements exist to take you out of your comfort zone, no one topic is necessarily mandatory. If you don’t like art or struggled to get through high school Spanish, there’s nothing forcing you to take those topics as a Gen-Ed. For the most part, you should be able to stick to what you’re comfortable with and find classes that fit your needs.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is which topics might help you in your line of work. An obvious example of this is that students who are interested in large or international businesses may want to take a foreign language. This applies farther than you’d think, however. Transportation engineers might not know that COM 350 is a course devoted to thinking with signs. Technology majors should consider taking HIS 306, which explains where all our modern technology comes from. I can only talk about the courses I know and that’s far from the majority, but asking around about different courses and how they might apply to your field of study might be a good idea.
Next, you’re going to have to choose which classes you might not be able to get in to. Students who have more credits have higher priority in registering for classes, so Freshmen and Sophomores may have to settle for their second choice if the classes they want are popular. One way to circumvent this is to pick a topic that hosts a lot of classes. For example, while history classes fill up quick since so few exist, there is almost always room left in science fields like Biology and Chemistry. Just remember, you’ll have higher priority every semester so losing a choice class isn’t the end of the world.
Gen-eds can be some of the most annoying classes to register for, but that doesn’t make them useless. While they might not be teaching you about your major, a lot of them make an effort to be relevant and teach about the world we live in. So don’t just pick the one that fits into your schedule and don’t sign up for a class just because your friend wanted to take it. Do your research and take the classes you’re interested in. You’ll thank yourself later.