General Education

Advising Students about General Education: Tips for Advisors

What to say when students ask, "Why do I have to take general education courses?"

When students have problems . . .

For more information . . .

What to say when students ask, "Why do I have to take general education courses?"

Two Bad Answers -

  • Because we said so

  • Just get these courses out of the way, then you can get involved in your major.

Four Good Answers -

  • We want every student who goes to ETSU to achieve certain benefits -- gaining critical thinking skills, learning how to communicate and use information technology, understanding themselves and their world better.  General education courses help every student can gain these benefits, regardless of his or her major.

  • Employers know employees need on-the-job training.  But this training is usually technical in nature.  Employers expect the people they hire to be able to speak and listen effectively, write well, and use basic math skills; they expect employees to have a foundation of general knowledge. Most of all, they expect employees to be able to think for themselves and solve problems. If you don't have these skills and knowledge, employers will hire and promote someone who does. General education makes you a more competitive job candidate and helps you succeed once you've got the job.

  • Taking general education courses is a good way to learn more about yourself and what you might be interested in majoring in.

  • Successful professionals in every field say they draw on many kinds of knowledge to solve problems and be creative in their work, not just what they learned in their majors.  General education helps you gain this knowledge.

When students have problems...

  1. For help with questions or problems regarding meeting general education core requirements, contact Dan Brown, Advisement, Resources and Career Center, at 423.439.5244 or .

  2. Requests for waivers of proficiency-intensive requirements should be submitted via email to Dr.Bill Kirkwood, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Affairs at . Requests from students are not accepted; requests must be submitted by the student’s academic advisor or the chair of the major department.  Include the name and E-number of the student for whom the waiver is requested and the reason for the request.

  3. Remember: Students must meet proficiency-intensive requirements through courses taken at ETSU. Courses in transfer do not meet proficiency-intensive requirements.

For more information, see:

General Education and Transfer Students

Where can students get help with problems related to general education requirements and courses?

How does ETSU's general education program help students build oral communication, writing, and information technology skills?

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