CC Dean has a blog post on “Get Your Gen Eds Out of the Way.” He has a point, though not one I have heard come up. (I can see how it could though.)
What I found particularly interesting were the comments.
Our CC requires passing the main composition course before you can take humanities. This makes it a lot easier to explain why that composition course is required (to prepare you to write papers in those other classes) and to emphasize that those skills will be used later in their education. If the student is in a technical major, I will also mention that it will be very helpful when writing a business plan or producing research reports and funding proposals, using my brother’s work experience as an example.
Taking your Gen Eds early is an effective way to stall for inspiration for a major, I started out PoliSci, then English, then CompSci, and finally to Math. Stayed full time and never missed a beat b/c my school had a good broad Gen Ed base. At the time I might not have appreciated it, but I certainly do now.
I also find that my students who try to get all their gen eds done first wind up in trouble later. They try to go directly from 5 gen eds to 5 classes in their major and wind up in culture shock. And then if they decide to change their major, they don’t have any time to explore or experiment because they’ve already finished all the classes except the major requirements.
There were a lot of really good comments. I’d recommend you go read the article and the comments. Good stuff.