So, in my imaginary world, if I were in charge of higher education, I would change a few things in the curriculum.
- I would require everyone to take at least one marketing class.
- I would require everyone to take at least one career workshop class.
- I would require every student, in every program of study, to do some kind of internship.
- I would require everyone to take at least one financial literacy class.
- I would require everyone to take at least one computer class.
This might seem like a lot of extra general education classes, but I think these would have been far more practical in my life than the American Heritage or biology classes my alma mater made me take. It wasn't a bad thing to take the required classes--I still hold a soft spot for Einstein after my physics class. But I think every student needs my suggested classes way more. Let me explain.
Marketing is necessary for everyone. Even if you work as an employee, you have to learn to sell yourself in an interview and sell your ideas to your boss. As a parent, you can't tell me that an understanding of advertising and negotiation won't help you teach your little ones some important lessons. Many people need a second income, and some marketing knowledge could give you the know-how to take what you've learned and turn it into a way to pay for that washing machine repair bill.
Sometimes in school, we're so busy studying the stuff that we forget to study what to do with it. Most of us will switch careers several times during our lives. The whole process would be a lot easier if we knew what some of the career options were.
Internships, aside from giving potential future employers free labor, are a way for someone trying to break into a field to make some great connections and get some real-world experience. When DH was at school, each student was required to complete an internship before graduation (in clinical lab science). I studied music, so that might seem harder, but I think forcing students to stretch their imaginations to find a placement in their field could help them be just as imaginative later on when they're trying to earn a living.
I'm a cheapskate, so maybe I wouldn't need it as much as some, but making smart financial decisions doesn't come easily to everyone. We need to teach about money. Kids living at home or even in school have very little concept of how much money it takes to raise a real, actual family in the real, actual world. They're expected to make career decisions with very little experience to know how that decision will affect them later on.
Everyone should understand technology. Most kids these days get the basics. They at least know how enough to download apps, write an essay for school, and to annoy their parents by playing games all day. But how much more of an advantage will they have if they know how not just to use computers, but to create things that others can use? There is much more of a demand for computer scientists than we're supplying right now. If they don't want to become computer geeks, they could use their computer skills in whatever field they want to study.
In the real world, I can't decide what schools will or won't require their students to learn. But I do know what I'm going to make my kids learn (You want the tuition money? You take what I tell you to take!).
What do you think every student should learn to be better prepared for the real world?