Every high school has a finite number of classes and set graduation requirements. When a school like Uni has a small student body, we consequently have a small list of classes to accommodate that student body. However, the number of graduation requirements does not change significantly between schools. This combination of few classes and the number of graduation requirements makes some students feel educationally confined.
“I feel like the art requirement could be cut in half or something. I feel like it can get in the way of other classes we really want to take,” said sophomore Augusta Mansfield.
“I think I cleared out all the credits I needed by junior year, except English, Math, and PE. I think it’s pretty doable. I think if they wanted more credits I’d be fine with that,” said senior Justin Wang.
Every spring, returning students get to choose which classes they want to take the next year at Uni. Students look at the list of electives available, and sometimes that list seems too small. It is made even smaller when students are trying to fulfill graduation requirements in a particular department because the offered classes don’t always appeal to every student. Students are forced to pick which class they would dislike less than the other options.
At larger school, there is a huge variety of classes available to students, which lets students pursue their passions more extensively, while still meeting graduation requirements. For example, Champaign Central and Centennial have 20 different classes in their Social Sciences department, while Uni has 8.
Freshman Lia Dankowicz said that she feels as if students can pursue what they’re interested in “once we get to junior year.”
“I wish there were more sections of some classes. All of the science classes are really hard to get into usually and a lot of times you can’t get into them until you’re a senior,” said Wang.
“There are so many different options we could have that aren’t offered, like psychology or something like that,” added Mansfield.
Dankowicz argued,“I think with the amount of people at Uni and the shortage of time for those classes, if we add any more it’d be even harder to get the scheduling right.”
However, unlike Uni, larger public schools cannot offer independent study programs or let students take dual-enrollment classes at the U of I. These opportunities do allow students to delve deeply into topics that they are interested in, but can sometimes subtract from periods in the day they would otherwise be using to get credits for graduation requirements.
Uni students can take classes at the U of I in their junior or senior year. This lets students explore subjects more in-depth than we cover them at Uni in long, college-level classes.
Wang, when asked how many U of I classes he has taken, said that he has taken six.
“It’s very flexible. If you want to take U of I classes by senior year, you definitely can,” said Wang.
“I definitely want to take a U of I class both junior and senior year I think if I can,” said Dankowicz.
There is a wide disparity between student opinions, but there is a general consensus that we need more classes, either more periods of the same or a greater variety of classes.