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University Should Require Every Student To Take A Variety Of Courses

Some people believe that university should require every student to take a variety of courses outside the students field of study. Others believe that university should not force students to take any courses other than those that will prepare them for jobs in their chosen field.

Instructions: "Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented."


To a large extent, I support the first view of point, in that it could make students well-rounded and have profound influence on their future comprehensive development. Also, I contend that advocates of the latter opinion make a mistake by misinterpreting college and higher education as occupation training and education. More exactly, university should prepare the students not only for jobs, but also for life.

Admittedly, schools should be responsible for the prospective career of their students. For one thing, most students will face practical problems in job hunting and it is one the functions of our higher education system to prepare the students well for job markets. For another, schools should work on the following aspects to realize their promise: they should run courses in which the students could learn the most popular technologies in industrial fields; they should also teach students the skills needed for job interviews.

However, the ultimate goal of college and higher education is not preparing the students for a satisfactory position, but making the students well-rounded. As is authoritatively defined, the functions of higher education lie in the following aspects: First, cultivating the ability of self-learning. This ability is quite important because the students will keep learning after graduation. Just as the old saying goes, "Give a man a fish, you feed him for one day; show him how to fish, you feed him for life", thus the university is a place where students will be taught the methods of fishing. Second, the ability of social adaptation. Thirdly: the critical and independent thinking style. Moreover, the students also have to be guided to form a healthy lifestyle, the habit of controlling themselves, and a positive attitude. Anyway, these could determine the quality of life more essentially than a job. These are not included in the occupation training schools, and seem to have little to do with the job hunting in the short term, but they are quite essential in the long run for development. Thus taking a variety of courses outside a field of study to gain these abilities is an essential part of college education.

Further, when studying in university, a student should pay more attention to the fundamental courses than the practical skills. This is because the update of new technology is so fast that the practical skills mastered at school may turn out to be useless when they graduate. The tutor of the youth, Mr. Li Kaifu in china, once encouraged the students to pay more attention to be fundamental courses by mentioning a survey of Microsoft engineers. Less than 10 percent of skills were from schools or their previous work and more than 90 percent are learned after entering Microsoft by themselves. This also coherently underlines the importance of ability of self-learning.

Moreover, the first contention is generally right, for the following two reasons.

On the one hand, courses out of the field of study make them well-rounded persons. When taking the music classes where they are taught to appreciate a symphony, the students will acquire the basic skills of appreciating music works, and many of them can be encouraged to release stress by being absorbed in a piece of symphony in future life. Similarly, sports classes like football, ping-pong, swimming, could help the students to be familiar with a specific sport, and more profoundly, the students can benefit from this sports all his life, which will keep them healthy and away from diseases.

On the other hand, the most frontier scientific researches are usually interdisciplinary, which challenge the traditional discipline division and badly need students with background of different majors. For example, robotics is a pure interdisciplinary field, in which the control theory, the machinery engineering knowledge, and biotic knowledge and computer science skills are necessary. Thus a student who is interested in robotics should prepare themselves with knowledge of all related disciplines. Also, students in medical science face new challenges. The traditional clinical knowledge is just one part of the modern medical science, and more than often nowadays, the great breakthrough and new applications depend on information technology. The popular practice of remote surgery and diagnosis is a good example, in which the developers have to very familiar with both computer programming and also the medical expertise. Thus, medical students who are interest in such high-tech applications are suggested to attend more computer courses.

Based on the analysis above, I tend to support the former one and abandon the latter.

Submitted by: Adam

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