What are the Most Important Things Students Should Learn in College?

College is a big step in everyone’s life. This is where students go to create a frame for their future. Students are able to select a specific field to research in which they want to pursue as a career. They are also given the chance to learn more advanced classes that high school teaches at lower levels. There are many things that college offers to students which can be deemed very important. I feel that the most important things that students should learn in college are the study of liberal arts and applied and collaborative learning.

Liberal arts are a very misunderstood topic in college. Many people think of them as something that they aren’t. In Sanford Ungar’s article, “7 Major Misconceptions About the Liberal Arts”, he talks about some of the biggest mistakes people make while thinking about liberal arts. In his article, Ungar states that “The liberal arts encompass the broadest possible range of disciplines in the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.” (Ungar, 3). These can also be referred to as core classes such as English and mathematics. It is important to learn these subjects because they are found virtually everywhere in the world. English is used for communication skills and reading and writing. With Math, statistics are found in almost every field of study provided. Even learning a foreign language will allow you to work internationally. As Ungar claims, “It is far wiser for students to prepare for change – and the multiple careers they are likely to have – than to search for a single job track that might one day become a dead end.” (Ungar, 2). Ungar explains that studying any field in the liberal arts offers openings to a selection to “…the best form of career choices.” (Ungar, 2). Ungar had enlightened me about how jobs in liberal arts are not as bad as everyone exclaims. They are important building blocks to finding out a path to the future. 

The Degree Qualifications Profile, or the DQP, is a document that explains what college students need to be able to qualify for a degree. It describes many topics and subtopics that students would want to master if they plan on successfully getting through college. The DQP lists off, in detail, 5 topics that are crucial for graduation. Although I believe that all the topics in the DQP are important, I think that applied and collaborative learning is more important than the rest of them. The DQP explains applied ad collaborative learning as, “…what students can do with what they know…addressing unscripted problems in a scholarly inquiry, at work and in other settings outside the classroom.” (Gaston, 31). In simpler terms, this explains that students should be able to use what they learn in school on external projects, without proper instructions. I agree that it is important to be able to take on projects outside of school. This skill requires time management, good work ethics, and leadership. To me, time management is an obligation when it comes to working outside of class. Work ethics also play an important role that ties with time management. Students who map out a short term schedule need to be able to execute in the time they plan, or they could end up leaving their assignments incomplete. Leadership plays more of a role in group work. When working for a Bachelor’s degree, Gaston writes, “Negotiates a strategy for group research or performance, documents the strategy so that others may understand it, implements the strategy, and communicates the results.” (Gaston, 31).  As a student, and even when you’re an adult, taking the lead on a project can show that you’re a good worker, and it can open up opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to get if you only did small parts of shared work. This is what I believe to be the most important topic in the DQP because if a student isn’t able to work on projects outside of school, than they are going to struggle on passing the class. 

Therefore, I believe that having knowledge in liberal arts and having skills in applied and collaborative learning are the two most important things students should learn. These abilities will allow students to successfully pass through college with adept abilities to make it after education. University education will always offer these to any incoming student, and will also offer assistance for those who seem to fall behind.

Career Readiness

There were a few similarities between my list and the WMU list about what employers look for in college graduates. One of these similarities was the ability to identify and solve problems. I agree that it is important for people to be effective at solving problems and making decisions. Another similarity between the two lists is communication. I feel that it is very important for someone to have good oral skills when looking for a job. They should be able to efficiently give speeches and be able to reach out to peers and superiors. It is also important to write well when looking for, or in a job. Someone who can write with skill is very valuable to jobs. The last similarity on the two lists is work ethic. I believe that having a good work ethic is very important for finding and maintaining a job. It would promote time management and it could help get work done very efficiently

The classes I’m taking this semester will help me become “career ready” in the future. My English class will help me obtain communication skills in reading and writing, which is listed as the 2nd spot on the WMU list. These skills will allow me to communicate with potential work partners, or university opportunities. My environmental issues class will provide me with the skills to take a role in helping the world become a safer and cleaner place. This will improve my leadership skills, and allow me to take control of problems that I feel need more attention.