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Gen Ed Classes That Make Life A Little Easier

Emma Dieter, Account Associate

General education courses are meant to ensure students receive a well-rounded education that teaches a diverse skillset so as to create an informed, knowledgeable professional. However, this unfortunately rarely ends up being the case. Gen eds are often just a pain in the butt that can tank one’s GPA faster than a 400-level major course.

But, if you do your research ahead of time and figure out which gen eds can make life a little easier, they can serve as tools of knowledge, as well as grade boosters.

As a senior entering my final year, gen eds are something that I am well-versed in. If utilized properly, they can help you explore major and minor options or even just give you some insight on a field you would never have known existed otherwise.

THEA 100

Theater 100 is one of the most entertaining, worthwhile GAs available at Penn State. The class inspects all aspects of the living theatre, as presented by a resident company of theatre artists.

Weekly performances make going to class worthwhile, and if you have any interest in the art of acting, you won’t want to miss this course. Grades are based on weekly quizzes and occasional exams. Thus, class attendance is often flexible. It’s a great course to check out if you’re interested in exploring your options in the world of art.

HPA 57

If running, sweating, and getting gross in the middle of the day is not your thing, HPA 57 is the perfect course for you. All Penn State students are required to take three physical education credits, and unless you’re one of the lucky few who nab a spot on the roster for classes like ballroom dancing, your remaining options are limited.

HPA 57 is designed to teach students about the breadth of decisions related to health and health care in the United States. The class itself meets three times a week, but the professor’s usually great about letting the class out early. Not to mention, the information itself is real-life applicable stuff that is interesting to learn about and helpful in the real world.

Plus, grades are solely based on attendance and weekly iClicker quizzes. While the quizzes might be on Fridays, they’re open note and only five questions long–which sure beats studying for exams.


INART 005 is a great class to take if you’re the kind of student who doesn’t like showing up for actual physical class. Course grades are based on student reviews of performing arts’ performances throughout the semester.

The class is mostly online and requires attendance at five different performances throughout the semester. Performance options range from musicals, to concerts, to dance recitals. All students have to do is select five different shows to attend, complete the reading quizzes online before the show itself, and then write a short review afterward.

The class is a great way to explore the variety of performance arts there is out there, while also keeping your GPA in tact.

EGEE 101

This course is one of, if not the best science courses available at Penn State. EGEE 101 teaches students about the influence of human activities, particularly energy use, on global climate change. Especially in times like these, when the future of our world is so uncertain because of global climate, it’s crucial to educate yourself on the importance of sustainability.

Similar to many of the general education courses already discussed, getting a decent grade in EGEE 101 is not all the difficult. The class itself is iClicker heavy and any exams are pretty easy. Plus, the professor who teaches the course is laid-back and easy to talk to if you have any questions.

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