This is from Finish College Expert Marcia Cantarella, Ph.D. and excerpted from her book, I CAN Finish College: The Overcome Any Obstacle and Get Your Degree Guide It is from Chapter 4, “Which Courses”.

There has been much written of late about connecting courses, skills and careers. Many, if not most, persons think of college as a direct alignment with a future career path.  It is not.  

connecting courses, skills and careers

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You do not have to major in biology to be a medical doctor, in political science to be a lawyer, or in economics for a career in business.  But will college lead to success in a career?  Yes!  Remember, you will earn 74 percent more with a college degree than without one.  These are not contradictory ideas, and understanding them will help you figure out how to choose your courses.

The Curriculum in I CAN Finish College

Most persons do not enter college aware of all the offerings or inclined to take subjects that might make them feel insecure or ignorant, so colleges design curricula (“courses of study,” expressed in Latin) that allow for exploration of many subject areas—and that provide basic skills in areas to help students become employable. It is a way of connecting courses, skills and careers—you just don’t see it.  

The first two years of college are usually spent in required courses that students always grumble about.  These classes may be clustered in what is called a core curriculum.  The faculty has deliberated about the basic knowledge all students should have, regardless of their proclivity toward a particular subject area.  Faculty also want to be sure that all students are exposed to subjects entirely new to them that could be wonderful unexpected arenas for learning.

Many students taking their first course in anthropology, philosophy, physics, or sociology find the subject fascinating and want to go back for more, or even pursue the field as a livelihood.  But if a core curriculum requiring some exposure to a variety of subjects had not existed, their delights would have gone undiscovered.  By requiring such courses, the risk factor is removed—the school has done you a favor.

The other reality is that college is the last chance you will have for a long time to engage in purely intellectual play.  Once you move on to graduate study, your focus is on the subjects that enhance your work needs.  Now a broad spectrum of courses is laid before you to enjoy, in part for their own sake and in part for the skills and background they can contribute toward your career success.  

Rather than being the waste of time many students think it is, the core curriculum not only moves you toward skill building—connecting courses, skills and careers, but offers exposure to new fields where, much to your own surprise, you may excel.

Writing and Communications Connecting Course, Skills and Careers

You have to learn to read better and faster and to write well in order to succeed in college and in life.  None of us is ever perfect, though, and even the best writers look to editors to help them refine their texts.  As a freshman in college, you’ll take a course in literature or writing that is aimed at enhancing whatever skill level you have brought to college.  Usually the writing you have done in high school is limited and may not require research and critical thought.  This is the difference between what you wrote then and what you might write in professional life or graduate training.  

Many more pages are expected.  You will have to learn how to find source material and how to cite it.  You will have to engage in self-expression, which is different from repeating what the instructor has told you.  You will have to articulate a premise and defend it, using evidence.  There may be chances for creative expression.

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