Today, many students (and especially their parents) are strongly focused on what's known as “pre-professionalism." That is, they want to take the shortest trip between high school and a solid job that pays well and offers hope for a lifetime career. The road they prefer to take through college to arrive at that preferred destination should be, they hope, filled with practical, hands-on courses that apply directly to the desired work's skills. So what should we think of those courses that fall outside of the pre-professional category, the ones that don't instill hands-on skills?
I'm talking about so-called “core curriculum" courses. What is a core curriculum and why do colleges require their students to take those courses?