Foreign language requirement is unfair
October 24, 2013
Filed under Guest Viewpoints
If you are a member of the College of Arts and Sciences, then you are familiar with the inconvenient foreign language requirement.
If you are not, here’s the deal: no matter what major a student claims within the College of Arts and Sciences, that student must complete four semesters of a foreign language to graduate.
Sometimes a foreign language is helpful, but most of the time it feels like a waste of credits.
I get it, it is supposed to make us well-rounded students. Two semesters would be well-rounded, four semesters is overkill.
The easiest way to fulfill these credit requirements is to take Basic I and II and Intermediate I and II language classes. While the concepts may be easier, the workload isn’t always so.
These classes are filled with an irritating amount of homework, which would be helpful if a student was completely focused on learning a language.
But, since so many of us are simply there to fulfill a credit, the work feels like a hindrance to the course load that is actually related to our majors and minors.
It would seem much more prudent if students could use those four classes to focus on core classes for majors or minors. And while it would be great to have those four extra class slots open for major-related courses, not paying for those credits would be even better.
If you’re a college student, there is almost nothing better than saving time and money when it comes to school.
Learning a foreign language is not a negative thing. It can actually be quite enjoyable when it’s done without academic pressure.
The worst part about the foreign language requirement is that if the class is not taken as pass/fail (which is a handy trick you can use; just go to Simmons), it can really mess up a GPA.
This is the general complaint about all general education requirements. However, most students choose their majors based on what fields they are academically successful in.
So, when students are forced to take courses that are dissonant to that ideal, it is difficult to accept when those courses deflate a GPA.
Until these requirements change, students will be forced to spend their hard-earned money and restricted time in classes and doing coursework for foreign languages when they would prefer to spend their resources elsewhere.
If people choose to take those classes and focus their efforts on learning a new language, more power to them. It would just be great to not be forced into the choice.