CORE vs. English at other universities

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Jennifer Bennett | jbennett49@radford.edu

Many different universities require their undergraduate students to take English classes as part of the general education classes that everyone for their degree requires. However, the difference between the English classes here at Radford University and other universities, besides the name, is that there are four semesters of required classes versus the required two at the other universities.

I personally do not like the CORE classes. I believe that they have much needed value and that every major should have the foundations for writing skills and analyzing readings, however I think that they could just compact them into two semesters of CORE.

I am in 102 this semester, and honestly it is just a recap of 101 with maybe one new thing. I think that some of these classes spend too much time reviewing what the last class in the series covered before they actually cover any new material. This is probably why they have 4 semesters of CORE because they want to make sure that people understand these concepts fully. For students like me who took AP English in high school, CORE is essentially a four semester review.

I think that students should have the option to take an exam to see if they can place out of the CORE classes. I am not talking about taking an AP exam in high school to get credit for these classes. Some students didn’t have the option to take AP English in high school but are still incredibly bright. If we had an option to place out of these classes, then more students would feel like they were not wasting their time and money to take a review class.

Every major has many classes that they are required to take in order to get their degree, and if we did not have to take CORE for 4 semesters, then we would all be just a little bit better off. Many of us who are pursuing a double major or a major and minor may find ourselves wondering how they are going to fit all of the required credits into the 8 semesters that they will have to complete them.

Because of these extra credits that are required, some students may have no choice but to max out on credits every semester because they would have no other way to get them done. Some students who are in favor of this may claim that an extra 2 classes might not make a large difference, but honestly that could be the difference between graduating on time or not.

To play devil’s advocate however, one of the nice things about this CORE system is that the handbook is free online and covers the different classes. Depending on who your professor is, that might be the only textbook that your class requires. Last semester my professor required us to get an additional textbook for the course, which I found on Amazon for $4.

Also, it would be false if I said that I didn’t like the professors that I had for CORE 101 and 102. This semester I am able to read Harry Potter and get graded for it, which is amazing since Harry Potter is my favorite series. The professors that I had for both 101 and 102 were pretty amazing people.

Overall, I guess you could say that there are benefits and costs associated with having CORE here. One of the biggest complaints that people make is that if you decide that you wanted to transfer universities, those classes do not mean anything to them because they don’t have the same 4 class series of English classes as we have. Now I am not saying that they should take away the English class requirement, because I understand why they have it as a requirement for all majors. However, I do think that if they were consolidated into 2 semesters, it would be better than it is now.