3 Year University: Yay or Nay?

Have you ever had to force yourself through a math course while hating every second of it? Or taken a geography class that bored you to tears? Trust me, we’ve all been there.

But you’re in university now so there’s no need to take classes you hate anymore, right?

....RIGHT?​ You make it out of high school and think that finally you’ll be doing something you love, then reality hits you. You sit there questioning why you need calculus to go into marketing or why you’re taking musical therapy for your psychology degree. Meanwhile, 5345 kilometres away, students across the UK are starting their tailored and specific 3-year university programs. This raises a question: should Canada offer specialized 3-year university degrees?

For some people, university is about accomplishing a clear goal. They know exactly what they want from the start, and don’t care to sit through courses they know won’t be useful to them in the future. For these people, it may be worth it to get an immersive deep-dive into what they love without taking any other subjects that could be tangentially related but of no interest to them. It’s also better for people’s bank accounts - especially if you’re an international student. Not everyone has the luxury of spending an extra year learning skills they may never use when they could instead be working. Institutions in the United Kingdom accelerate your academic learning because they recognize that the real education is what you do once you start working.

For others, university is about the journey of discovering your passion. You can come to Laurier, completely open to any possibility and forge your own path. If you choose a major and then figure out that it’s not what you want to be doing, you have the flexibility and time to change your focus. A 4-year degree gives you the skills needed to succeed in multiple industries when you do get into the workforce. If you decide to pursue computer science at university, only to realize that your true calling is becoming a teddy bear surgeon - yes, this is a real job - then you have the well-rounded skill set needed to pivot industries.

I will go on record and say that Canada will never offer specialized 3-year university degrees for financial reasons. It always comes back to money, doesn’t it?

The government will want students to be in school for as long as possible, delaying our entrance to the full-time workforce and keeping overall unemployment rates low. Also, they would lose out on so much tuition money. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be an option or a discussion to be had.

There’s something to be said for a university experience that feels uniquely designed for you.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Canada should offer the option of specialized 3-year degrees or switch to that system altogether? Feel free to weigh in on Facebook and Twitter!