Tackling the unwanted general education requirements


By Joseph Longo, Assistant news editor

Starting this fall, new students must take a U.S. minorities course as part of their General Education requirements. This is the latest effort to address civil rights tensions on campus, including an alleged racist fraternity party and anti-latino/latina chalking on campus.

Previously, students chose to take either a U.S. minorities course or a different non-western course. However, students will now have to take classes in both areas of study.

Unsurprisingly, the new regulation received resistance that incoming students will now have to factor another course into their potentially highly-structured, overloaded course plan. However, if executed properly, the additional singular class will not hinder studies, but instead, broaden understanding.

Because most students balance University mandated gen eds with departmental required electives, many students stress about completing all required courses within their four years. However, there is no need for excessive concern. Instead, proper utilizing of the UIUC Course Catalog is crucial. The site offers a variety of different ways to search for courses, specifically filtering for the ever-important “crosslisters,” classes fulfilling two or more requirements for students. Crosslisting is the crux to properly navigating gen eds and departmental requirements. Thus, proper use of the course catalog alleviates much concerns and assists in successful course planning.

Just because a class meets multiple general education requirements for a student does not mean a student will find it interesting or easy. In fact, crosslisters are notoriously more difficult because they address multiple concepts and themes within one course. But, don’t give up just yet. There are solutions for this tool: unofficial University student Facebook groups and websites.The non-University associated groups like Easy Classes at U of I are a secret source for finding which classes to take. Moreover, RateMyProfessors.com is a staple when choosing which instructor to have for courses with multiple sections.

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Gen eds can certainly benefit students with potential easy courses boosting their GPA against their more rigorous major requirements. However, they too offer a chance to escape the insular nature of the same students and courses within a major. As evidenced by the new U.S. Minorities course, gen eds broaden a student’s understanding if students allow for this.

Here are a few general education courses to consider when faced with the ever-daunting enrollment time slot.

AFRO 101/HIST 174 Black America, 1619-Present

If you are interested in politics or current events, no other class may be as important to understanding the historical impacts of today’s current Black Lives Matter and civil rights movements.

General Education Criteria: History & Philosophical Perspective, US Minority Culture

JOUR 200 Introduction to Journalism

Every profession requires fluid, smart writing, but not all majors supply this much-needed skill. However, this class is a perfect opportunity to practice concise, impactful writing.

General Education Criteria: Advanced Composition

GER 250 Grimms’ Fairy Tales

What better way to study the true stories of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, then in a course potentially fulfilling three requirements. This highly-sought course fills up quickly, so consider for enrolling as an upperclassman with a better timeslot.

General Education Criteria: Literature and the Arts, Western Comparative Culture, and Advanced Composition.

GEOG 100 Introduction to Meteorology

This big lecture hall course is a staple for fulfilling gen ed requirements. However, paying attention in classes provides insight about meteorological studies with ease and understanding.

General Education Criteria: Physical Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning II.

Joseph is a sophomore in Media.
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