Students Should Have the Freedom to Pick the Courses They Want

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  1. [attention getter] Students realize that, in addition to the main subjects, there are a lot of additional ones:
    • Additional courses make students’ life harder;
    • They provide less time for studying majors;
  2. [topic justification] Most students tend to think that the additional subjects are unnecessary, since they have nothing to do with the chosen subject area:
    • Additional courses identify alternative paths for self-improvement;
    • Choice of major courses is oriented on professional growth;
  3. [credibility statement] Many factors affect students’ choice:
    • Campus culture has a potent impact on students’ choice (Porter and Umbach 430);
    • Self-concept and demographic attributes are also decisive in selecting courses (Porter and Umbach 430);
  4. [thesis/central idea statement] Students are free to pick the courses they want because it allows them to enhance their self-determination, ability to make personal decisions; it also shapes their awareness of future job opportunities:
    • Students develop their self-identity and self-determination;
    • They advance decision-making skills;
    • They acquire increased awareness of job opportunities;

Main Discussion

  1. There are many factors that define students’ choice of courses and influence their decisions:
    • Understanding patterns and strategies that students use while making choices is important because it is possible to define their actual ability to make decisions.
    • There are several factors affecting students choice:
      • Social: “Social capital and cultural capital, largely represented by parental influence , have a significant impact on major choice” (Porter and Umbach 434);
      • Parents’ opinion: some research studies are connected to the attention that parent pay to students’ academic performance, as well as to their public activities (Porter and Umbach 435);
      • Self-concept: “a large body of literature points to self-efficacy as an important factor of student major choice” (Porter and Umbach 439).
    • Learners’ beliefs about their future profession can be shaped prior to their decision to enroll for a college or university:
      • Prediction of student’s future choices can be defined with regard to the major they chose at the very beginning (Allen and Robbins 62).
      • Students’ choices depend on certain personal qualities;
      • Congruence of personality and environment is vital in identifying course majors;

        Transition: The connection between external and internal factors identifies student’s readiness and awareness to make choices. Therefore, students should realize what resources and tools could be applied to make their decisions.

  2. Informing students about the possibility of choosing majors contributes to accuracy and readiness of making the decision:
    • Students should be free to pick the subject they expect to study as an additional course along with their majors:
      • “College students need study skills in order to learn course content, must choose courses wisely to develop college majors, and make consistent progress in earning college credits toward degrees” (Goldrik-Rab and Roksa 10).
      • Students differ in their abilities and knowledge backgrounds:
        • They need to pay closer attention to various courses to define which ones should be prioritized and which ones are of secondary importance;
        • Equal amount of time should be spent on topic development within a specific academic discipline.
      • Giving priority to some subjects does not allow students to assess the importance of other topics and, therefore, choosing subjects on their own is the optimal solution:
        • Students from low social classes are more likely to avert the academic debts as compared to students from other social classes (Callender and Jackson 510);
        • Social environment plays a crucial role in students’ fulfillment of free choice;

          Transition: Although there are specific factors and conditions affecting students’ choice, there should be equal opportunities for everyone to decide which discipline should be taken.

  3. Students should be free in choosing their major courses, as well as additional disciplines:
    • Students should be independent in identifying their needs and perspectives in professional development:
      • Choosing major implies discussing tuition fees, which is among the primary concerns of students;
      • Choice of subject also allows students to define whether they need part-time jobs;
    • Money is the most challengeable aspect while selecting various subjects:
      • It is important for students to know that their investment are justified in financial and professional terms;
      • Students take responsibility for establishing priorities in studies.
    • Understanding financial issues and their influence on student’s choice provides better perspectives for defining the patterns of student’s decisions.

      Transition: Apart from social and economic factors, students’ choices should also be impacted by inner incentives and personal characteristics.

  4. Students’ right to select courses should depend on their aptness and skills, which are impossible to define without assessment:
    • Evaluating students’ skills directly influences future decisions, as well as identifies further directions in educational field.
    • There should be efficient standards and strategies for assessing students’ performance.
    • “Real-world standards” would help students choose courses and guide them to expend sufficient effort in high school” (Standards and Students Coursetaking n. p.)

      Transition: Considering external and internal factors influencing students’ decision is not enough because it does not provide a full picture of students’ abilities and skills. Therefore, teachers should also play a crucial role in identifying students’ directions in professional terms.


  5. Teachers insist that there should be obligatory courses that students should attend regardless their personal interests and preferences:
    • According to Allen and Robins, “the likelihood of persisting does not appear to be impacted much by students’ interests” (72);
    • Learners’ preferences and interest does not have a potent impact on their performance and grades;
    • Students’ complaints about additional subjects to be a challenge for learning major courses is not justified.

      Transition: Both outside factors and teachers’ preferences should be balanced for learners to get the maximum benefit from the learning process. They should still have extra space for personal decisions.


  1. Students should be free in choosing obligatory and optional discipline:
    • It allows them to develop decision-making and problem solving skills;
    • It will help them be more congruent with external factors influencing their choices;
    • It provides incentives for learning because learners’ choices are associated with their preferences and interests.
    • However, teachers believe that students’ preferences do not always coincide with their actual skills and aptitudes:
      • There should be assessment techniques;
      • Students’ grade identify their choices better than personal evaluation;
  2. Nevertheless, educational system should strike the balance between compulsory and optional disciplines to provide both students and teachers with the possibility to choose.


Allen, Jeff and Steven B. Robbins. “Prediction of College Major Persistence Based on Vocational Interests, Academic Preparation, and FirstYear Academic Performance.” Research in Higher Education. 49.1 (2008): 62-79. Web.

Callender, Claire, and Jonathan Jackson. “Does the Fear of Debt Deter Students from Higher Education?” Journal of Social Policy. 34.4 (2005): 509-540. Web.

Goldrik-Rab, Sara and Josipa Roksa 2008. A Federal Agenda for Promoting Success and Degree Completion. Web.

Porter, Stephen R. and Paul D. Umbach. “College Major Choice: An Analysis of Person-Environmental Fit.” Research in Higher Education. 47.4 (2006): 429-449. Web.

Standards and Students Coursetaking n. d. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "Students Should Have the Freedom to Pick the Courses They Want." April 19, 2022.