A central part of the American college/university experience is the liberal arts curricula almost all schools incorporate into their education. College is training for your future job and adult life. Basic knowledge about a broad range of topics outside your field of expertise allows you to speak intelligently, think more critically, and lead an informed, thoughtful life. If you’re in school for biochemistry with the plan to go to medical school, taking an anthropology course or a philosophy class on ethics will change the way you practice medicine. Because of this, almost all colleges and universities have “general education” (gen. ed.) requirements to make sure all of their students take part in this process.
This education philosophy means that regardless of how good you are at your intended major, you will need to take a wide range of other topics, and do well at those as well, in order to graduate. Student with high school classes in philosophy, current events, political science, economics, literature, and psychology have a significantly easier time with these “gen. ed.” requirements. Students with no background in topics outside their specific interest often struggle with different assignments, different styles of writing, and different material.