North Texas Daily

Colleges have too many unnecessary degree requirements

Colleges have too many unnecessary degree requirements

Colleges have too many unnecessary degree requirements
December 03
13:00 2021

At some point in college, every student experiences a moment where they are sitting in a classroom and suddenly stop to ask themselves, “What is the point of all this?”

For me, that moment came a few times. The first time it happened, I was getting lectured on the structural integrity of ancient Egyptian pyramids in an art history class. The second time, I was listening to a philosophy professor talk about societal norms while he sat cross-legged on his desk.

The third time it happened, I was participating in a “privilege walk” for a sociology class. This activity required us to hold hands, walk outside and stand in a field while the professor, a woman wearing a Gryffindor robe, read aloud statements to determine our privilege in society. Judging by everyone’s reluctance to participate, this was probably the one time my classmates were also wondering what the point was.

Egyptian pyramids, societal norms and privilege walks have nothing in common but were all required for my degree in journalism. For some reason (the reason being money), colleges require students to take a ridiculous number of classes made up of their major, minor, electives and basics.

When I graduated high school, I was excited to take classes that would allow me to hone my writing skills. Instead, I had to take multiple semesters of basics that involved math, biology, history and government, which begs the question: if those are considered basics, what do they call nine years of middle school, junior high and high school? The warm-up?

Getting accepted to college only to get slapped with a laundry list of classes you just took in high school is a massive blow. If anything, it makes college feel like “high school plus,” especially if you attend a community college where the classrooms are no different.

After finishing the basics, I had to pick a major and minor. One of my advisors told me to pick sociology for a minor because it’s “the easiest one.” Due to my experience with the Hogwarts lady, I shot that idea down and chose kinesiology instead. Naturally, the first class I had to take for my kinesiology minor was “Sociology of Sport”.

I also had to take nine hours’ worth of electives alongside my major and minor. I wasn’t sure what to pick and one of my classmates suggested I take “philosophy of food,” which I initially thought was a joke. It turns out there is an actual class centered on the philosophical discussion of food.

What can they possibly talk about in a class like that? Do they ponder the meaning of a biscuit? Do they ask each other what Tony the Tiger really meant when he said, “They’re Great”? Ultimately, I ended up choosing the electives my advisors said were “easy,” which is a running theme I noticed. It was frequently suggested I take the easiest route to graduate.

In addition to the aforementioned classes, my journalism degree required me to take 12 hours of advanced social sciences, three hours of mathematics and two semesters of sign language.

I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, sign language is good if you’re communicating with someone who is deaf, right?” Yes, hypothetically speaking, that would be useful. The problem is once I finished my last semester of sign language, there was no need to keep practicing it. Now the only signs I remember are email, bathroom and Taco Bell.

I’m not saying I regret college, there are just too many unnecessary requirements to graduate. If society is going to insist people have degrees, colleges need to make the process more tolerable and less expensive. If colleges stopped tacking on so many pointless classes required for a degree, people would graduate in only a few semesters and at a fraction of the cost.

Given how much money it costs, a person should be able to attend college to pursue something they are passionate about, not go into debt forcibly taking classes they hate. Of course, this would cost universities too much money so it will likely never happen. At the end of the day, college is a business – and business is booming. That’s why student debt is currently at $1.6 trillion. 

The way things are now, going to college feels like getting married to a gold digger: it’s expensive, they only like you for your money and when it’s over you’ll probably owe them payments for the rest of your life.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Jake Reynolds

Jake Reynolds

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