Explore now, GEs later
College is for discovering passions and interests. Students should take at least one major introduction course during their first year to jump-start their career decision.
In a recent survey*, 95 percent of college student respondents agree it is the norm to take a high concentration of general education courses their first year of college. About 62 percent of the respondents took GEs their first year to “get them over with,” 42 percent took them as prerequisites for their major and 30 percent took GEs because they didn’t know what else to take.
Professors in limited-enrollment programs are watching as students waste away their first year taking courses they could take later in their education. About 58 majors at BYU are limited enrollment. If students wait too long to apply for a limited-enrollment program, spending their time and credits on GE courses instead of major introductory courses, they are less likely to get accepted. Limited-enrollment programs are more likely to take students with fewer credits because those students will be in their program longer because they’re further away from graduation.
Students may be saying, “What if I don’t know what I want to do? So I am taking GEs to fill my time.” There are better ways to fill time. If students even have an inkling of interest in a certain major, they should take the introductory course for that major. Students will learn more from that class than they will from a course such as American Heritage, a popular GE to take during the first year.
When students decide their major early on in their education, it allows for a head start in seeking out volunteer and internship opportunities. So, in addition to having a higher chance of acceptance to limited-enrollment programs, early decision making allows for more chances to build up work resumes.
Students may argue that instead of changing the norm to taking more major introductory courses their first year, colleges simply need to make all majors open enrollment. If students are passionate about a certain field of study, they should be able to study it. Why let the university determine what students can and cannot study based on students’ GPAs?
While it may prompt discussions, this process would take many years. For now, encouraging students to take at least one introductory class their first year may be the best solution to helping students figure out a career for themselves.
Major introductory courses show first-year students a wide spectrum of career opportunities, helping them discover their potential. If more students used such courses and completed GE courses later in their college education, students would have a clearer sense of their career path, have a better chance of being admitted to limited-enrollment programs and jump-start their experiences with volunteer positions and internships.
*Survey conducted with more than 200 BYU student respondents, February 2017.
Salt Lake City, UT
End stereotype of men
Negative qualities of men are overemphasized by a stereotype inaccurately representing men as crude and ignorant. Would you think of your father or brother this way? Probably not. And yet this hurtful lens is considered normal and is passed by without a second thought. People need to be aware that this stereotype exists all around us, and start taking steps to subdue it.
In many television shows, commercials and advertisements, the men featured can barely tie their own shoes, while other people have to fix their mistakes and make up for their unintelligence. Because society tells everyone that men are ignorant and indecent, then we might just start to accept this as “normal” male behavior.
Just because the rough side of men is highlighted in the media does not mean all men participate in vulgar things like “locker room talk.” No one party in particular is to blame for this shameful shift, but everyone can make an effort to stop degrading men. We need to focus more on the moral and polite behavior of men, so they don’t turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we are able to change this damaging image and get closer to how men actually are, it will benefit society and future generations as we aspire to fill the roles that we see promoted around us.