If a college degree is your goal, then general education courses (GE) will comprise one-third to one-half of your course work.
What are general education courses? General education courses are classes which are outside of your major course of study. They cover a wide range of disciplines such as the natural sciences, humanities and fine arts, language and reasoning, the social sciences, etc. This expansion of academic fields will complement the more specialized courses in your major.
Why take general education courses? By taking courses over a wide range of disciplines, you will increase your capacity to develop self-understanding, analytical thinking, evaluation of ethical problems, as well as gain logical thinking skills and insight into the world in which we live.
Must I choose a specific GE pattern? If you are pursuing a particular college degree you should fulfill the GE pattern which is specifically appropriate for his/her academic goal. These patterns vary, but generally, you will complete 21-42 units of GE course work. Most students planning to transfer to a four-year university, or a student seeking an occupational A.A. degree, will need to complete a total of 60 units that includes the general education units.
Do GE patterns differ much? Patterns differ both in quantity and in content. Four different scenarios are outlined below:
To pursue an occupational A.A. or A.S. degree from Folsom Lake College (such as Early Childhood Education or Administration of Justice/Correctional Science), you must complete a vigorous GE pattern which is less demanding than the pattern for a student who plans to transfer to a four-year college.
If you plan to transfer to one of the California State University campuses you may either follow a single, standard pattern or you may follow the IGETC pattern, depending upon your chosen major.
To transfer to any of the University of California campuses, you will have a more rigorous path. This is because each of the UC campuses houses a number of schools and/or colleges. UC Berkeley, for example, has the College of Environmental Design, the School of Business Administration, etc. A student's major falls within one of these particular schools or colleges, and each has its own particular GE pattern (usually referred to as Breadth Requirements). However, the IGETC pattern can be used at many UC campuses Since there are so many different patterns within the UC system, it is wise to contact your campus of choice to identify the needed pattern and whether following IGETC is the best choice. For assistance, see a Folsom Lake College counselor.
To transfer to a private or out-of-state college (such as Stanford University or University of Oregon), you should thoroughly read that college's current catalog for GE requirements and consult with a counselor.
Be aware that GE patterns may vary slightly from year to year, so consult the school's catalog and/or check with a counselor to be sure you are on the right track!