Many universities require each student to take a basic list of college courses to earn his diploma. While the specific courses and requirements differ from college to college, most schools focus on arts, humanities, English, writing, science and social studies. These core classes provide you with a foundation for reading, writing and critical reasoning. Core classes can also be entertaining and fulfilling. This is your opportunity to explore your interests in a variety of subjects and disciplines.
Students take basic courses because it instills a range of knowledge and skills to take into the real world. The fundamental principles behind basic courses are to teach you how to acquire facts and to think critically and creatively. The broad range of courses ensures your college experience is not too narrowly focused on one topic. This guarantees a math major leaves college still being able to write while a foreign language major still can think analytically.
Helps You Find A Major
When you enter college, you might be unsure of your major. With basic courses covering a broad range of subjects, you are exposed to a variety of topics. You might find a topic that you want to explore further and even major in. You also might meet a professor with whom you build a strong relationship, providing you with a mentor for the remainder of college.
Allows You To Grow
Basic courses introduce you to people, ideas and experiences that you might never have found. Requiring all students to take basic courses cultivates an environment of openness, Katherine Bergeron, dean at Brown University, said in 2008. Each student is forced to explore different modes of thought and subjects. This provides a freedom to intellectual learning that otherwise would not have been in place.
Picking Basic Courses
Most universities offer a list of classes from which you can choose to fulfill your basic course requirements. At the University of Alabama, for example, students must take foreign language, computer science, humanities, literature, fine arts, history, social studies, natural science, mathematics and writing classes. At the University of Chicago, students must take humanities, civilization, arts, natural and mathematical sciences, social sciences, foreign language and physical education. At both schools, there are at least half a dozen classes to pick from to fulfill each requirement, which is typical of other universities. As a way to help you pick your classes, choose those that intrigue you or inspire passion. Meet with your academic advisor and design a plan with your basic courses so you can earn a minor without too many additional courses.
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images