Do we know why engineering, architectural and medical university graduates do not become successful in their career prospects? It is because they lack soft skills. Students from the aforementioned disciplines find it difficult to get to top management positions.

This is worrying to many ambitious college students. General education is important in nurturing broad outlook in students. This explains why the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University changed the syllabus to accommodate common courses. Students must take common courses if they are to be successful professionals. If students are denied the opportunity to pursue general education courses, they might face huge challenges in the job market.

A student, whose major is engineering, must take general courses such as Management, Public Speaking/Communication Skills, HIV/AIDS, and Psychology. These courses enable the students to possess remarkable soft skills to blend to the job market outside college.

To illustrate this better, James Cameron is one of the best Hollywood movies directors. Nobody would believe if this successful director studied engineering at university. Since he had interests in film production studies too, he never ceased to pursue his goals. It is an invaluable maneuver to broaden the horizon of one’s academics.

Common knowledge programs must be institutionalized at colleges to get the best out of students. For instance, what do employers look at when interviewing a job candidate? It is obvious that they are assessing the other parts of the applicant that are non-academic in nature. A candidate may be asked, “Assuming that you are the general manager of company XYZ and that there is an ongoing industrial strike by your workers, how would you handle such a situation to get them back to work and to prevent any future strike?” This question looks simple, but they are not. Science students might be unable to answer it correctly if they are not equipped with relevant soft skills and managerial general knowledge.

General education refines the culture of an individual. Things like anger management, patience, and courtesy are not common to everybody. At leading universities like Harvard, there are both local and international students. Each of these international students has come from a country of different cultures and lifestyles. General education will help them understand and appreciate the cultures of their colleagues in a bid to forge a harmonious co-existence among the classmates

General education is crucial to developing countries. One thing special about developing countries is that they have many problems which need many solutions. If the scholars are given an opportunity to acquire common knowledge they comfortably meet challenges at home. Investors also prefer to invest in developing nations in which citizens are competent. The ability to effectively communicate through speaking and writing can work miracles.

Time management is one of the most ignored areas at universities. Common knowledge takes care of time management. Thus, instructors often penalize students who submit their work late. This is a culture to be started right from elementary school. However, at college level it is never too late.

It is a highly recommended routine for many universities and not only Harvard and Cambridge. Every student at the university dreams of becoming a mega businessman in the future. It does not matter whether you took an engineering or business course. There comes a point when you seriously need to market your product to potential buyers. How would you do it if you do not possess the relevant soft skills? Chances are high you may fail as a business personality. And how will you handle difficult customers?

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