There are a lot of things I wish I had known about Temple before I started there, but this is the biggest one, and I probably would’ve shopped around more if I’d known this before registering: every single Temple professor will assume that you learned nothing in high school.
Let me elaborate: each incoming freshman class has roughly six to seven thousand students in it, and a lot of these people come from underprivileged school systems in the Philadelphia area or are several years out of high school or are finally cashing in on the GI Bill or whatever. But if you, like I was, are 18 and three months out of high school and just spent three years learning how to take an SAT, you will be very bored in all of your non-major classes. Professors will assume you do not know how to write an analytical essay, or the Scientific Method, or how to conjugate verbs in the subjunctive.
Temple has a General Education program made up of eleven classes which all students must pass to graduate. Three of these are English/analytical writing classes, and the rest are broad categories like American History and Quantitative Literacy (which means math, for some reason I have never understood) wherein one class must be passed in each category. They are all incredibly boring. They are all also relatively easy to pass if you show up and do the work asked of you, but it was not my experience that any sort of learning went into passing these classes (all of which I have now completed). I would have liked one class on analytical writing, maybe, as a refresher to branch into the college atmosphere and the standard expected of college writing, but three was excessive.
The idea behind Temple’s GenEd program and the probably thousands of schools with programs like it is to give the average student a basic knowledge of nine different fields, and to hone their analytical writing and critical thinking and logic skills. I see the intentions behind it, I really do. For kids who have undecided majors or don’t speak English as their first language or who struggle with learning disabilities or actually didn’t learn anything in high school, GenEd is a great place to start. But if you’re like me and you are going into college with the basic skills already intact, if you already know what you want to be when you grow up, and if you’re not applying to a highly specialized program where Temple is the only Pennsylvania school that has it (and there are quite a few of these), then there is probably a school with a much better program for you than Temple’s. Let me know when you find it.
Also– and this is huge, though unrelated to my above rant about GenEd and its myriad inefficiencies– please, for the love of all that which you may find holy, before you start college, learn how to make microwave popcorn. Do not press the popcorn button and then walk away. Because it will catch fire, and then the smoke alarm will go off, and then your entire 1200-person dorm will have to be evacuated at three in the morning in a blizzard. Twice.