ISSUE-017

College students should be encouraged to pursue subjects that interest them rather than the courses that seem most likely to lead to jobs.


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.


Should college students be encouraged to take classes that truly interest them or select courses that seem most likely to increase their competitiveness in the job market? From my point of view, pursuing interests should be prioritized over practical concerns but students with financial difficulties may find it more desirable to take courses that will lead to decent jobs. It is also worth pointing out that students can take courses based on Interest while also taking classes specifically to improve their employment prospects.

Interest is the most powerful motivator in students’ academic endeavors so pursing subjects which interest them may lead to greater academic achievements. When students face challenges in their classes, they must have a firm belief to carry on or they might simply quit. Although the prospect of a well-paid job may seem like a strong motive, it is actually far less effective than personal interest. This is because when students strive for decent careers, it takes a long time for their efforts to pay off. Consequently, their motivation could fail whereas personal interest could sustain them. Therefore, in order to make greater intellectual achievements, students should be encouraged to enroll in classes that interest them.

Behind the claim that students should take courses likely to result in jobs is the assumption that it is possible to determine whether or not a specific class is capable of doing so. This assumption may not always hold true because the job market changes quickly and can be hard to make accurate prediction. For example, in the field of computer sciences, there are incessant changes in prevalent programming language. A few years ago, C was the industrial standard so courses in that language would have been helpful when searching for a job. It did not take long, however, for Java and Python to become dominant and knowledge in C is no longer valuable. In short, such “useful” courses can become obsolete by the time students graduate because of the short timescale of changes in the job market. This is clearly not a desirable outcome for students.

However, students experiencing financial difficulties may depend on a promising career to improve their (or their family’s) economic situation. They may prefer to place more emphasis on courses that can earn them a better job than what they are interested. In this particular scenario, the argument that a future career is not strong motivation does not hold true because the desire to change one’s fate can be extremely powerful.

Finally, it is also necessary to address the underlying assumption in this debate that courses which interest students are different from those conducive to finding jobs. This is problematic and does not always hold true. Even for those classes that seem to have few practical connections to the real world, they can still teach students vital skills needed to secure decent jobs and succeed in their careers. For example, advanced theoretical physics involving abstruse ideas and mathematics may seem useless in the job market at first glance, but these courses teach students how to think critically, simplify complex systems in a model and acquire solid mathematical skills essential in the financial world. Firms on Wall Street are actively seeking job candidates with solid background in math, physics and computer sciences, which is a compelling piece evidence that courses of interest can also lead to jobs.

In conclusion, it is beneficial for students to pursue subjects that interest them but students should take their financial situation into consideration when selecting courses. Job availability and students’ interest do not constitute an irreconcilable dichotomy: classes can be both interesting and beneficial in the job market.

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