Berea prides itself on being a prestigious liberal arts institution with tremendous academic culture and a wide array of courses for students to explore. When you talk to your advisors when you first come here, they tell you that you shouldn’t focus too much on your major classes. Unfortunately, the math just doesn’t work out like that.
Let me explain how I came to this conclusion. I looked at Degree Works and inputted the classes I planned to take next semester. I did a What-If Analysis to see the requirements to graduate with a major in Business Administration and a concentration in Finance. I looked at the required perspectives that must be filled, and the list looked a bit long, so I counted exactly how many credits the college requires for you to fill all perspectives. I needed 29.5 credits to fulfill all my perspectives at the bare minimum. This was the minimum just to graduate and does not consider the possibility of me wanting to minor in something else. This does not include dual perspective classes, but from my count, there are a limited number of dual perspective classes, all of which are in very high demand. The first and second years have a tough time getting into those classes, and the course sequencing does not always work out. Realistically, I think I can get around three to five dual perspective classes. That doesn’t really make that big of a dent in the daunting amount of required courses.
Certain majors, such as nursing and history, have it much worse than I do. Nursing majors have it so bad that the College tells them that they will be taking an extra year from the get-go. In the words of my roommate, “Why Berea, why?” He is a STEM major, so if there is a higher being, may they have mercy on his soul.
All of this means that unless you have planned your classes from the time you first arrive, you do not have a chance of graduating in eight semesters. I now understand why I see so many super seniors. It is because, with the immense number of general requirements, Berea is a super senior factory. I think this is one of the reasons that the graduating classes are less than half the size of the incoming classes. It has to be demoralizing for you to endure years of Berea to realize that you have to stay here an extra semester. This is on top of Berea’s issues that make it undesirable to be here. I am talking about the mold situation in Deep Green and the state of bathrooms in Blue Ridge right now.
I have to say that I am lucky to have transferred in almost a semester and a half worth of credits, most of which fulfill perspectives, and I waived developmental math. Even with all of this, I will barely graduate on time. But the question is, will you?
5 responses to “Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Illusion of Course Choice at Berea”
Yes, it’s unfair to the math and science majors. I, for one, am a Humanities major and I like the variety a lot. Having to take extra classes improves work ethic and broadens your horizons (to be cliche). I love learning about things that I never would have before I took different classes outside my major. At Berea we’re getting a well-rounded education. That’s what I’m paying 1000 a year for.
Just say you don’t know what liberal arts means. Would have kept you from typing out this whole monstrosity.
Liberal arts doesn’t automatically mean that you don’t have any options when it comes to branching out. It should mean the opposite. As a STEM major who won’t be able to realistically complete all required courses unless I take on two additional semesters: you’re clearly coming from a place of thinking everyone here has had your exact experience. I’m glad you get to experience this college the way one would experience any other liberal arts institution. Unfortunately, outliers don’t reflect the mean.
I had to take two extra summers of classes and it was worth it. I came out on the other end with great post grad options that led to me being in a great spot in my career field.
If you are a STEM major at a liberal arts school it’s going to be tough but YOU signed up for it. Plenty of non liberal arts schools out there.
Liberal Arts shouldn’t mean that Berea forces you to have no course flexibility. It should mean the opposite. I want to have a well-rounded liberal arts education but Berea’s system is letting me take very few courses outside of my major if I want to graduate in my lifetime.