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GRE Issue: Universities Should Require Students To Learn A Variety Of Courses Outside The Students' Own Field. - With A Free Essay Review

University should not require students to take various courses outside their own field because these additional courses bring overweight study burden for students and force the students to give up their own study plan by taking up their valuable time. Furthermore, this diverse course plan is hard to implement and therefore the purpose is hard to achieve.

The diverse courses required by the university would inevitably bring excess burden to students. Along with these courses are time-consuming homework, quizzes, projects and exams. For those students who care about their score, they have to spend countless hours on these courses which therefore are likely to cause physical and mental distress. Moreover, some of these courses might be too difficult for students because the courses are outside their own field. It could get even worse that the difficulty might discourage the students and decrease their learning efficiency so that the courses would take them more time. In addition, students of universities nowadays are struggling with all kinds of exams for professional credentials or furthering study abroad besides their courses. They have less time and energy to deal with these hard and unfamiliar courses.

The various courses required by college also interfere with students’ personal study plan. Without theses extra courses, students would have time to choose one or two extra courses she likes, or simply audit the classes they find interesting without any exam or homework. For those students who have more serious academic interest, they can also use this time to focus on their own research. The spare time could also be used in extra-curriculum activities, which helps relieve the stress of the intense study. In a word, only if students have time of their own, they can make the most suitable plan for their future after graduation. Whether they want to look for a job or further their education, they will be more prepared.

One may argue that the diverse courses would broaden the students’ outlook and prepare them for interdisciplinary requirement in the future. However, there are several problems when putting this plan into practice. The scope of the required various courses would be either too large for students to take or arbitrarily narrowed down to limited choices, failing to serve the purpose of enriching students’ knowledge. The university can impossibly make a proper standard for every student to know what they should learn outside their field. Additionally, some students might behave rebellious to this coercion by being absent from the class, for example. The only solution is let students choose for themselves what they want to learn beside their major. If they really have interest and motivation outside their field, they could take a minor subject so that their efforts are better recognized.

In conclusion, to require students to take diverse courses outside their field has many drawbacks as shown above. It takes too much time of the students and exhausts them. Giving students full freedom to choose what they like to study is a better solution than forcing them to learn the so-called a variety of courses.


Essay Review

Your first argument is reasonable although I would have expected some consideration of the impact of the burden you describe on the student's mastery of her own field of study. I find your second argument a little less compelling. One might even think of it is as begging the question a little, insofar as claiming that the policy would interfere with a student's personal study plan (in the way that you mean) is already implied by the question; of course it is true that if a student has more time on his hands, then he can choose to do other things he is interested in, but it is not enough to describe what those other things might be; you need to explain why it would be better for a student to have the freedom to decide these things rather than have experienced educators determine the right course of study. Now you do of course take a good bash at answering that question in a subsequent paragraph, but doing that there doesn't solve the problem of this paragraph.

I'm not sure, and perhaps that is not a very good sign, what specific set of instructions you are responding to for this prompt (the ETS site lists a few different ones), but if it is that which requires you to consider the most compelling reasons or examples that might be used against your position, I don't think you've covered that requirement well here. It is usually a good idea to consider counterarguments anyway, so in any case the problem is worth attending to. Here you say that "one may argue that the diverse courses would broaden the student's outlook and prepare them for interdisciplinary requirements in the future." The phrase "broaden the student's outlook" is a vague way of articulating the advantages that might come from the given policy, and just because you disagree with the view being supported by this hypothetical argument, doesn't mean you should not articulate it as clearly and concretely as possible (otherwise, you may end up with a straw man fallacy). One way to force yourself to improve this element of your essay would be to write, immediately after the sentence I've just quoted, some version of this: "These are important considerations because ... ."

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: kentblue

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