Specialization in Undergraduates

1622 words 7 pages
Brady Brajavich
Specialization: does it belong in higher education? Some say yes, because it creates much more intelligent individuals in their respective fields. Others say no, because without the liberal arts, individuals will lack the necessary skills to succeed in today’s work environment. Both sides have well supported arguments, and often when one begins to think they’ve made a decision on which they agree with, they are swayed the other way. After reading, “Should Undergraduates Specialize?” by Patrick Allit, and, “Liberal Arts: A Practical View.” by Mark Jackson, I have formed my opinion and what I feel like is a suitable answer to the question above. I believe that students should have a choice. If they feel like they’re ready to
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Allitt states that having a choice on whether or not to specialize as an undergraduate, and not deal with the liberal arts can be a benefit to students. Jackson believes that students should want to take liberal arts courses, and that if educators want students to do so, they have to do a better job of explaining why they are important and making the courses more attractive. A point of common ground for the two authors, based on the previous statements, is that specialization is important. Without it students will be at a disadvantage.
There isn’t an exact point of disagreement between Allit and Jackson. They both outline the pros and cons throughout their essays. That being said, there are differences. Allit is more in favor of specialization, “The early specialization…enabled us to learn one discipline really well, to become far more deeply engaged with it than was possible for our American counterparts” (Allitt 6), but at the same time, understands why a liberal education can be beneficial, “Its (specialization) great and equal drawback was that it forced some students to choose too soon, before they were ready” (6). Jackson thinks that students should want to take liberal courses to complement their vocational studies. Towards the end of his essay, Jackson says that, “Students who want to make the most of their college years should


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