In almost all Universities and colleges, the administration requires that students take courses that are, arguably, unrelated to their courses. For instance, you may find a student studying cultural studies being required to take mathematics or science-based courses in the course of his/her studies. A student taking a science-based course like engineering may also be required to take art-based courses like communication skills and entrepreneurship.
A lot of students have complained about these requirements because some of them do not understand why they are required to take courses that are unrelated to their careers. In of spite these courses remain such an important part of educational systems due to their contribution in the welfare of students after college. It is even alleged that some students rely on marginal courses for their employment after school. This paper justifies the necessity of taking courses that are not directly related to a student’s career.
Disadvantages of taking marginal courses
As much as marginal courses are beneficial, they also have their disadvantages. Among the main shortfalls of taking marginal courses is the fact that such courses take a lot of time and thus they may make students fail to master the intricate details of their majors (Clark 47).
For instance, a student taking aeronautical engineering may be required to take a lot of art-based courses that may interfere with his mastery of aeronautical details. This may prove to be very disadvantageous once the student gets a job and he/she is required to perform a highly professional job. The student/engineer may be embarrassed for not being able to do jobs that are part of his/her major.
Another disadvantage of taking marginal courses is the fact that extra resources are spent while teaching the students these courses. Tutors may be required to spend time with art students teaching them mathematical courses while at the same time, the students who need the services of the tutor the most are left without sufficient consultation time (“Academic Degree Requirements” 1). This may lead to poor performance of the students who are doing courses that the tutor teaches.
Finally, some of these courses may lose their applicability in the life of the student depending on the job that the student gets and his/her interests. Thus an engineering student who is forced to take entrepreneurship skills may fail to use the skills he learns in class in real life if he has not interest in business and specifically if he gets a lucrative job for solving engineering problems.
Advantages of taking marginal courses
The benefits that accrue when a student takes courses that are not related to his/her major course are more than the disadvantages of the same. Almost all the disadvantages of taking marginal courses are conditional and thus with good planning and impeccable policies in an educational institution, marginal courses will indubitably benefit the students as it is intended.
For instance, the disadvantage about time consumption by marginal courses is based on the assumption that there will be poor time management such that the students taking marginal courses will end up losing out on their majors.
However, with proper management of the time that is available for class work and other programs, students will be able to gain substantially from these marginal courses. The last disadvantage is also based on the assumption that the student will not have interest in the subject of the marginal course and that they will never come across issues that can be solved with the knowledge they acquire in these classes (Clark 53).
This is not normally the case since a student may fail to have interest in the subject but he/she will, most likely, solve related issues in everyday life. On resource consumption, it is essential that resources in educational institutions are partly allocated to offering of marginal courses that are beneficial to the students in a myriad of ways.
The greatest advantage about taking marginal courses is that they are tailored to be in conformance with contemporary trends in social and professional life. This is to mean that they are useful to the students’ life even within the confines of the college life (“University of Arizona” 204).
Thus an increase in the use of computer technology in social and professional environments will make colleges put in place the requirement that all students in the college should study computer courses in order to be at par with the rest of the intellectual community and also enjoy complete social lives.
Some of these courses are so important such that it is difficult for them to be irrelevant in the lives of students who pursue them. For instance, a student may be required by his college to study an HIV/AIDS course irrelevant of the course that the student is taking. This will make the student to live safe sexual lives and be fully aware of the risks and exposures they come across in their everyday life.
It will thus ensure that the student will not easily get infected with the HIV virus due to lack of proper information. It is thus evident that as irrelevant as these courses may seem, they are useful in the lives of the students and thus students should take them very seriously (Clark 49). The administrative units in various colleges and universities should thus identify various important courses that students should study besides their major courses in order to ensure that the student get all-round education.
It is apparent from the discussion above that, offering courses that are not part of a student’s major is very beneficial for students because it makes them have well balanced education. In colleges where the students are supposed to make decisions on which additional courses they should take, the students should be very wise during the selection process. The students should thus ensure that they include courses that are unrelated to their majors but which are bound to have a positive impact in their lives (Manuel 1).
Courses like the aforementioned entrepreneurship skills, communication skills, management skills, HIV/AIDS, basic computation skills, computer packages and specific computer software, and the like should be made compulsory for students taking some courses or they should designated as elective so that students may choose to do them in addition to the required courses of their major.
An alternative strategy is that colleges can be allowing students to attend classes that are not scheduled for their courses in colleges where resources are available. The students, with the guidance of tutors, will be able to choose courses that will have the most valuable impacts in their lives and this way, the process of offering additional courses to students will be cheaper.
Students will also learn these marginal courses with relatively less difficulty since they will have fellow students who understand the courses better and who they can consult (”Bryn Mawr” 1). Given the importance of this issue to institutions offering professional courses, it is of essence that all educational institutions come up with policies that are geared towards offering balanced education to their students.
Although there has been substantial reluctance by students to take additional courses that are not related to their majors, these courses are of very crucial importance and they cannot be alienated with successful students. Students have the tendency of boycotting the classes for these courses and they end up performing very poorly in these courses not knowing that their performance in these courses may even influence their demand in the job market.
For instance, it may prove to be a very risky affair for a Human Resource Officer in a recruiting company to hire a person who failed in his/her communication skills course. Students should thus make efforts to attend these classes and ensure that they get the best out of them.
In case they are required to select the courses themselves, they should make sufficient consultations before deciding on which course they should take as their additional course since this may make an enormous difference in the career life of the student. Of more essence is the responsibility that educational institutions have in providing balanced education systems and providing the required resources for offering additional courses.
In a case where such courses are not available to students, the latter should conduct sufficient research to be informed about the marginal aspects of life that may affect their career life. For instance, in a college that offers pure engineering courses without an entrepreneurship course, the students should surf the internet for entrepreneurship skills, or research the same in books.
Bryn, Mawr. “Major requirements.” 2010- November 6, 2010,
Clarkson, Murray. Curriculum selection in colleges. California. Barnes & Noble, 1998. Print.
Curriculum. “Academic Degree Requirements”. 2010- November 6, 2010,
Manuel, W. “Student guidance: The selection of sequence of courses outside major Field”. 1991- November 6, 2010,
University of Arizona. “Double Dipping: College and Department Restrictions”. 2010 – November 6, 2010,