College of Management limits prospective students’ options

Jess Kaplan, Contributing Writer

As a new school year begins, high school students of the class of 2018 gear up for their senior year, which is filled with prom, graduation, and many “lasts.” While being on the top of the high school food chain is always fun, senior year is also a year of great stress and change. Navigating the college process can be tricky, and deciding where you will spend the next four years of your life is often your first real “adult” decision. Perhaps the most stressful part of college applications is deciding whether you are going to apply as an undecided student or if you are going to declare a major on your application.

Many colleges and universities ask their applicants to apply to a certain school within the university that coincides with their intended major. Bucknell, however, is somewhat different; its charm lies in its liberal arts foundation. Students are required to take courses ranging from lab science to math to arts and humanities regardless of their concentration. As a result of this curriculum, students’ curiosity is fueled, their critical thinking skills are strengthened, and they become knowledgeable in a variety of subjects.

However, the real beauty of the liberal arts education is that it grants students the opportunity to try subjects they never knew they would enjoy. Instead of choosing an academic concentration based on which career fields are hiring or the highest-paying, students choose based on their interests.

However, the new College of Management goes against this philosophy.

July 2017 marked the School of Management’s official change to the College of Management. With this new accreditation and leadership from Inaugural College of Management Dean Raquel Alexander, the College of Management is expanding and evolving. So far, the Management 100 course has been revamped, and this fall’s Walling Speaker Series will invite business moguls to share their insights on the management world.

Despite these innovative changes, this program tends to be much more exclusive because of its small size. The easiest way to be accepted into the College of Management is to apply as an incoming freshman, but at 18 years old, how are you supposed to assuredly know what exactly you want to do with your future?

When I asked a first-year student this question, he remarked that his father practiced business and that he was simply following in his footsteps. Another first-year student said she has always wanted to create something, and although she doesn’t know which business major she wants to pursue, she knows the College of Management will help her pursue this goal. However, when I asked both students if they had actually had real life business experience, they both replied “no.” How could they truly know if they are interested in business if they have yet to have real life experience? What repercussions would follow if they later decided they did not want to pursue business? Furthermore, what if an Arts and Sciences student discovers they might have an interest in management? The University’s website states, “There will be few, if any, opportunities for students enrolled in either the College of Arts & Sciences or College of Engineering to transfer into the College of Management. You should apply directly to your preferred college.” This opposes the idea that students have the opportunity to explore every subject the school has to offer and supports the claim that this new college is unnecessarily exclusive.

The Dr. Seuss classic “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” encourages us to steer our feet in whatever direction we may choose. If you are unsure which direction or major to choose, you should be able to take the time to determine what you are interested in. The College of Management is a great step for the University in many ways, but it should not force its applicants to pigeonhole themselves into a management major by diminishing their ability to pursue that potential interest otherwise.

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