Is Core Curriculum Necessary or a Waste of Time and Money?

Lindsey Allen
Is Core Curriculum Necessary or a Waste of Time and Money?

College is supposed to be the final stepping stone into the “real world.” We choose majors that will help us hopefully enter careers that we love and take courses to educate ourselves in those fields. But not all of those courses will teach us skills within our majors.

If you’ve taken a look at your degree audit or spoken to your advisor, you know about the often dreaded core curriculum. No matter what your major is, all the requirements of the core curriculum must be filled, from math, to science, to global perspectives and history. Science majors must take courses in aesthetic responsiveness. Art majors must take courses in mathematics. A third of the courses we take will not be based on our majors, but what education professionals deem necessary for us. 40 of the 120 credits that we must earn will be dedicated to core curriculum courses. That’s a third of the classes that we’ll take throughout our undergraduate careers.

According to the University of New Haven website, the Core Curriculum is meant to help students “succeed in their chosen careers.” How does an Environmental Science or College Mathematics help Journalism majors become better writers? How does Introduction to Music or American History help Forensic Science majors become better scientists?

As a communication major, I have taken an Environmental Science course with a lab, a Mathematics course, and a scientific methods course, just to name a few. Through every lecture and every lab, I’ve asked one question: “how is this course going to help me as a journalist?” I haven’t been able to answer that question.

There’s no doubt that Math, English and a basic understanding of history is important to enter the workforce. No matter what your career is, you will have to articulate yourself properly. As an adult, you’ll have to use math every day for banking, leaving a tip at a restaurant, or even to adjust the measurements for a recipe in the kitchen. But as students, we’ve already spent twelve years developing those skills.

Just by being accepted into the University of New Haven, we’ve proven that we are educated in those areas. We’ve taken standardized tests, we’ve completed the SAT, proving that we have math and english skills. So why, in the four years that should be dedicated to learning our chosen craft, do we have to go through even more repetitive lessons in subjects that truly have nothing to do with our fields? These lessons will not help us when we enter the workforce. As a journalist, I will never have to determine the slope of a graph or the hypotenuse of a right triangle. As a forensic scientist, another student will never have to recognize Picasso’s Guernica.

The average student at a private, four year college pays $33,000 a year for their education, which costs more than many brand new cars. Pay that much in four years, and it adds up to the cost of a home. Would you buy a home where you wouldn’t use thirty percent of the rooms? Would you buy a car where you couldn’t use the backseat, or the trunk? If the answer is no, why should we, as students, spend thousands of dollars on classes that won’t help us?

It is time for colleges and universities to recognize that core curriculums do not help college students excel in their chosen career field; the only things that can do that are specialized courses in our fields of study. As students who pay for the education that we receive, one thing that we deserve is to not be forced to waste money and time on courses that have no benefit for us.