Indian male with curly hair and glasses reading space book filled with lights

3 Reasons Why Gen Ed Classes Aren't a Waste of Time

General education courses aren't just "fluff" classes. Here are three reasons why gen eds are worth your time and effort as you work toward your college degree.

It used to be standard that a student could expect to finish their bachelor’s degree in four years. But many factors, including changing majors and holding down a job while studying, have contributed to many students finishing in five or even six years. At first glance, it may seem as if general education courses only exacerbate the problem. Why should you have to take a bunch of “fluff” classes when you’re having a hard enough time finishing school? But general education courses offer a lot of benefits. Here, we'll take a look at scenarios in which they can actually help you.

1. They let you explore your many interests

Imagine that you enter college your freshman year knowing exactly what you’d like to study. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’re determined to earn your degree in Business Administration. You know you’ll be working hard in the classes toward your major, but you also excelled in choir in high school and would like to continue to pursue singing. There may be a general education course in vocal arts, and if not, there’s bound to be a musical elective at your university. This is an important point: Don’t be so focused on earning your degree that you feel obligated to participate in courses only if they're required. By all means, if you have other passions, pursue them. This is what college is for!

Related: College Options for Students With Multiple Major Interests 

2. They can help you discover your major

This is where gen eds are particularly useful. Say, for example, you excelled at math and history in high school, but you’re not exactly sold on committing four years to either subject. General education courses will expose you to a wide variety of subjects, ranging from Geology to Anthropology to Drama. In college, you’ll find that the variety of courses you can take is much broader in scope than what you experienced in high school. While you’re still mulling over the possibilities for your major, you can take a year or more of general education courses, which may introduce you to an area you’re passionate about that you didn’t even know existed.

3. They help you become a well-rounded student

This is another important way in which gen eds can enrich your life. For example, if you’re majoring in Marine Biology, it doesn’t hurt to take a course or two in journalism. Although not directly related to your major, developing writing skills may help you in your career down the road. If you’re called upon to write a grant or a professional paper, you’ll have acquired the tools you need to excel at these tasks.

Related: 4 Things to Consider When Choosing Electives in College

Before you start grumbling about your general education courses, consider the factors outlined above. Universities don’t require these classes in order to make graduating more difficult. They truly want you to succeed and come through your college education a stronger student and person.

Learn how to pick the right courses that fit your major, your interests, and your schedule with these 5 Smart Tips for Choosing Your College Classes

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Casey Kammeyer

Casey Kammeyer

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

I love the site CollegeXpress; it has been very helpful finding colleges and getting them to send me information. It has also been very, very helpful with finding tons of scholarships. Also, I told many of my friends about it and they love it as well!

Asia Stockdale

Asia Stockdale

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me overcome a huge hurdle. Because of the small town I live in, I felt like I would never achieve more. I felt like I could never go beyond because of costs. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find scholarships. I had no idea of where to start. With CollegeXpress, I easily found scholarships—they came to me. It was a helper, and I was instantly matched with opportunities to go above and beyond educationally.

Maurice Whan

Maurice Whan

$2,000 Spring Scholarship Contest Winner, 2021

This year has been tough for my family and myself, so receiving this scholarship has been a blessing in disguise! CollegeXpress has been an excellent resource in helping me prepare financially for college. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity!

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

None

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

Fernando Ponce

Fernando Ponce

High School Junior

College is a way of life that helps us find out who we are as a person, and CollegeXpress is a great way to stay connected with our future, even for students with little time on their hands due to the challenges of high school we face.

College Matches