Flexible, strict or somewhere in between: College curriculums come in all shapes and sizes.

The college curriculum of students studying at US schools come in two extremes: a stream-lined curriculum with strict requirements, and a more eclectic assortment of classes allowing for experimentation.

Strict, Stream-Lined College Curriculum

For students who want a more structured and stream-lined college curriculum, many US colleges and universities offer a rigid curriculum where students must take certain required classes. For example, students in their first year may be required to take specific core classes, providing them with a broad introduction to various college-level classes, including English, math and science. After this slew of introductory classes, students choose a major concentration and will then take various classes required to earn this major, as well as some elective courses to supplement this focused education.

College Curriculum with more Electives

Other US colleges and universities offer a more flexible approach where students are faced with fewer required classes and are encouraged to follow their individual interests by taking whatever elective classes interest them. Students will still decide on a major, fulfill certain requirements, and take mandatory classes to earn this major. Still, this type of college curriculum as a whole is less regimented.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of College Curriculum

If you have already decided on your college major and know what you want to study, then a stream-lined college curriculum may be best for you. However, be aware that this may make it extremely difficult to switch streams of study if you change your mind about what subject you want to pursue. If you want the freedom to experiment and try different subjects because you aren’t sure what you want to focus on in your studies, you may prefer a more eclectic college curriculum that permits you to explore different topics through various elective courses. The danger with this choice, however, is that many students have trouble ever deciding what subject to pursue. When you don’t have as much structure, it can be harder than ever to decide what you want to study!

The Big Question: Which College Curriculum is Best?

When deciding which type of college curriculum is best for you, ask yourself whether you want the freedom to take classes in many different subjects or whether you prefer a set curriculum in your area of study. Which type of college curriculum is best suited to your needs? Only you yourself can answer that question.