What’s Math Got To Do With It

Course selection at the beginning of each semester can be one of the most daunting tasks for college students. Aside from your personal interests, there are several factors to consider before signing up for a specific class. For instance, how the class fits into your overall schedule, what kind of workload it carries, what other students say about the instructors available, and perhaps most important of all, the relevance of the class to your program of study.

Greg is a theatre major at Henry Ford College. His dream is to one day perform on Broadway. He is a full-time student and this is his first semester.

“As a new student, before I registered for any classes, I was required to meet with an advisor to help me decide on which classes to take,” says Greg.

“During my meeting with the advisor, I was surprised to see subjects that are of no interest to me listed as part of the requirements for my degree program,” he adds. “All I want is be a stage actor. What does math or a natural science subject with a lab component have to do with stage acting?”

Like Greg, most college students at one point or another find themselves asking this very question: My program of study is Arab Cultural Studies, what does a computer technology class have to do with it? I am an Accounting major, what do I need a speech class for? I want to be a nurse, of what use is a world religion class to me? The list is endless. Whether you like it or not, the fact remains that students who do not complete all the classes required for their specific degree program do not get their associate degree.

What difference does an associate degree make? Why not just take the classes that are obviously of the greatest relevance to your career goals and go out there and get that dream job? You could do that, but then again there are advantages to getting an associate degree that are worth taking into consideration:

There are more job opportunities for associate degree holders than there are for high school graduates. According to an analysis on job postings based on education level conducted by Burning-Glass.com, between 2015 and 2016, there were 4.7 million jobs available to high school graduates in comparison to 6.3 million jobs available to associate degree holders in the United States. Associate degree holders on average earn more than high school graduates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report for 2015 indicates that average annual earnings for associate degree holders were about $6,240 higher than average annual earnings high school graduates.

.As far removed from a specific program of study as some classes may seem, they are essential for a student to become a well-rounded graduate and a productive member of society. A computer technology class will not only teach students how to use computer technology skills but also how to access college resources as well as how to identify and deal with unethical actions within their social or professional platforms; a world religion class gives students an opportunity to learn about others as well as be cognizant of some of the most fundamental principles of diversity; a speech class will teach students how to communicate effectively; and a math class will sharpen a student’s quantitative literacy skills which will help them in analyzing situations and making decisions in a variety of contexts.