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RIZZIO: The 108 college credit requirement is hurting College students

The new requirement is a needless obstacle to graduation

<p>Additionally, the requirement has the potential to produce graduates less prepared to take on a career, as it limits students from taking classes related to their major.&nbsp;</p>

Additionally, the requirement has the potential to produce graduates less prepared to take on a career, as it limits students from taking classes related to their major. 

It has been one year since the University implemented a 108 College credit requirement for College students. Beginning with the Class of 2025, this policy increased the number of College credits that students in the College are required to earn for graduation from 102 to 108 out of the required 120 credits total across all schools. Students still must meet all previous general education and major requirements under this increase. In-College credits are classes that are housed in the College and do not include most classes offered by the other six undergraduate schools at the University, such as the McIntire School of Commerce and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. There are, however, a few specific class exceptions. This increase should be revoked given the various academic challenges and barriers this imposes on students.

During new student orientation, University students are told constantly to explore their interests by taking a variety of classes. They are often told they can take classes throughout the University's six undergraduate schools. It is hypocritical that the University preaches these ideas of academic exploration, while enforcing a policy that limits students' exploration in undergraduate course offerings. This policy only contributes to how the University’s academic structure discourages passion-based learning. Combined with the overwhelmingly unhelpful student advising system, many students are left misguided and unaware of this credit requirement. 

Many students were not notified of this requirement until they had already neared the cap this fall, when the College sent an email to second-year students who had taken two or more classes outside the College. The email stated they may need to take more than 120 credits to graduate and thus may have no room for further classes outside the College. Students on track to fulfill all general education and major requirements may not have the option to take other elective courses of interest outside the College. This directly contradicts the promotion of academic exploration and highlights the ongoing failure of academic advising at the University. 

Many schools outside the College offer a variety of minors to College students, such as public policy and leadership, real estate, entrepreneurship and architecture. Classes taken in other schools to complete these minors do not count toward the 108 College credit requirement. The only exception to this requirement is for the Urban and Environmental Planning minor. This being the only exception points to a fundamental lack of logic in the College credit requirement. This policy will likely make it infeasible or unnecessarily difficult for many students to complete minors outside the College. 

This policy particularly disadvantages students planning to major in Batten and Commerce who are not accepted to their preferred programs. Prerequisites and other classes taken within these schools to explore and prepare for the completion of these majors can be a big risk. Commerce has three prerequisites offered only outside the College, while Batten has one. However, many students take more than the minimum to strengthen their application and prepare for the major. Should these students be accepted, they are no longer bound to the requirement. But this is not a guarantee, as only 58 percent of applicants were admitted to Batten and 61 percent to Commerce last year. Unaccepted students during this next admission cycle must choose a different major, possibly having to take more than 120 credits to graduate. Under this policy, some students may not meet the credit requirement to graduate in four years.  

Additionally, the requirement has the potential to produce graduates less prepared to enter a career, as it limits students from taking classes related to their major. A foreign relations major is incentivized to take a computer science class over a national security policy class. A biology major is incentivized to take a music class over a biological engineering class. While these classes are extremely important subjects, they may not be as relevant to certain student's career aspirations. The University’s wide range of schools can be a great asset for students to strengthen their majors with the knowledge they need to have a more successful career. As such, the College credit requirement limits this by disincentivizing students from taking classes applicable to their career goals. 

The increase from requiring 102 to 108 in-College credits should be revoked before these negative impacts are solidified in the Class of 2025. The College credit requirement policy as a whole should also be reviewed for these needless detrimental effects. There is still time to prevent the severity of many of these consequences, but action from University administration needs to be taken quickly.  

Jacob Rizzio is a Viewpoint Writer who writes about Administration for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at opinion@cavalierdaily.com.

The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. Columns represent the views of the authors alone.

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