Five Reasons Why General Education Classes Are Important

Posted: March 04, 2024 | Author: Cody Dirks | Read Time: 5 minutes

Students taking notes in classWhether you’re a freshman just starting your college experience, or a senior counting down the days to graduation, you will take a general education class at some point during your undergraduate experience. These strategically designed classes not only fulfill your degree requirements but will also provide you with invaluable hard and soft skills. These skills will help to boost your resume and make you a more competitive candidate in the job market after graduation. Let's dive into what a GE class is and uncover why they are more than just a stepping stone on your undergraduate checklist. 

What are General Education Classes?

General education classes follow a very straightforward curriculum, which requires you to take 30 credits across six areas: mathematics, English, and American Institutions, as well as other credits in other areas. Mathematics classes at SUU will allow you to choose areas of mathematics that may be relevant to your major such as statistics, algebra, trigonometry, or calculus. The English general education requirements include English 1010 and 2010, which are offered in different topics to accommodate the varying interests of students. American Institutions is a broad term that encompasses aspects of American history and government. Within this category, you will find classes like US Economic History (ECON 1740), American History (HIST 1700), and American National Government (POLS 1100). Along with these, you’ll also be able to choose classes that may be related to your major (or even subjects that you may be interested in) in subjects like Integrated Learning, Fine Arts, Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Science. 

Five Reasons Why GE Classes Are Important:

1. Gives You a Chance to Look at Possible Areas of Study and/or Explore New Hobbies.

Perhaps one of the best reasons to take GE classes is to help you find a field that interests you and/or helps to reinforce that decision. A lot of students can find a major that interests them while taking GE classes, even if they already have an idea of what they want to do. Likewise, you don’t need to major/minor in a course to find an interest in it. Just because you enjoyed your physics class does not mean you have to become a physics major, but the experience can give you an appreciation for the field and maybe even lead to a new hobby.

2. Prepares You for Any Career 

It is a safe bet that the vast majority of college students are here for a singular goal: landing a job after graduation. A comprehensive study, involving employers and universities, has pinpointed eight competencies, known as the NACE Competencies, that employers actively seek in college graduates. Some examples of these competencies include, but are not limited to technology, communication (both written and verbal), and teamwork. In reality, the odds are that your major may not be able to cover all eight competencies in-depth, and you will most likely specialize in similar skills as graduates in your field. Developing competencies beyond your major’s standard skill set will not only make you stand out to employers but also may help you rise the company ladder. 

3. Enhances Communication Skills

One of the most essential competencies that you can gain from general education classes is improving your communication skills. Whether it is written communication, writing a paper or report, or verbal communication working with a group or giving a presentation, general education classes will provide you with more opportunities to hone these skills. Communication is a vital skill to succeed in the workplace as well as help you to foster healthy relationships within your personal life.  

4. Improves Your Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is a skill that is believed by many to be underappreciated today. Taking classes that are outside your major will broaden your understanding of the world and push you to evaluate evidence and well-reasoned arguments. Widening your understanding of society will not only make you more flexible but will also help you when having to make complex or even difficult decisions later in life. 

5. Gives You Opportunities to Build New Relationships

Coming to college can be a massive culture shock for students, and SUU is no exception. Moving out on your own, possibly leaving friends and family behind to pursue a college degree can be taxing on a student’s mental health. However, this is another area where general education classes can offer a silver lining. Classes become communal spaces that are perfect for being able to build relationships with other students. Even if you don’t become “best friends,” these newly built relationships can help you to find community. Also, you get to build relationships with our amazing faculty members here at SUU. Some of the best professors at SUU also teach general education classes, and many of them will remember you after the class is complete. It is very common to run into these professors and chat when you see them on campus.

In conclusion, while the general education classes you are required to take may seem like another hoop to jump through, they serve as a crucial part of your academic journey at SUU. Whether you are registering for your very first semester or are nearing the end of your degree, these classes offer more than you may realize. From finding new interests to improving your skill set, general education classes will shape you in ways you’ll carry beyond graduation. So, embrace the opportunity to dive into these classes, because they're key to your personal and professional growth, both now and in the future.

For current SUU students, visit the SUU Course Catalog to see what general education courses are available to you, or talk to your academic advisor.

Tags: Student General Studies

Related Posts