Yes. I had to take classes related to things I'd never have taken on my own-- historical perspective, biological sciences-- and I am a far more aware person moving about in the world than I would have been without them. I understand not just the limited sphere of my English major, but also the way cultures work. The news in evolution makes sense to me. I get reference to previous world leaders and empires that I'd never know otherwise.
There's a great article on the liberal arts we had to read that sums it up http://www.virtualsalt.com/libarted.htm
There is a universal truth that is very hard to swallow and with which all universities and most graduates thereof will vehemently disagree. (Let the flames commence. I have strapped on my asbestos underwear)
That truth is that you are buying a piece of paper from a Business that sells pieces of paper. If you happen to learn something useful to your life's goals in your time there, that is fantastic. However that is not the core commerce in which the Enterprise of "higher education" is engaged.
Most majors do not make you more marketable in the world economy. Most courses offered in the catalog are nothing more than a jobs program for professors who would be utterly unemployable even at Taco Bell. Speaking of which, you will see a heck of a lot of poli-sci, and English Lit majors working at that Taco Bell.
Now should you be a savant bridge designer that doesn't know a debit from a sonnet? Sure, why the hell not! It is your life. It is grossly offensive that you are forced to support this jobs program for the terminally unemployable just so you can be "more well rounded".
If you wish to broaden your horizons good for you. Too much specialization is a path to extinction. But there are many many other ways to do this. Every one of them comes at a lower personal and financial price. Spending years of your life when you could otherwise be a productive member of society, not to mention tens of thousands of dollars is the most economically irresponsible way conceivable to learn things you don't want to know. It is literally adding insult to injury.
The above rant should not be interpreted that I think those courses and majors should be forbidden. Rather I come back, once again to the market economy. Stop forcing people against their will to buy a product they not only don't want, but actively avoid whenever possible (AP tests etc). Let the product sink or swim on its own merits. It is the ONLY fair way to operate.
I'm only in high school.
I was under the impression that once you get to college, you may have to take a course in a certain field or another no matter what you're going into, but other than your classes that are counting towards your major(s), you could choose to take anything you want? Like, you can take anthropology to fulfill a social science requirement instead of taking European history if it's more relevant to your major.
I plan on double-majoring in college in two sciences, and if I have to clog up my schedule with loads of irrelevant classes, I'll be pissed.
It depends on a lot of things. But in short any university is going to have a "core curriculum". That varies, more by state than college. And I doubt it varies a hell of a lot. It includes things like basic english and math. A lot of it is good common sense stuff. A lot of it is meaningless fluff crap that has no value in the universe we normally call reality.
The amount of fluff is also directly proportionate to your major. Business majors are nearly half electives. Architects only have like 3 electives in 4 years. Most hard sciences (the BS degrees as opposed to the BA) are relatively thin on junk. Still when I had to take 2 semesters of PE, and "human relations" and other such stuff I didn't feel that way.
You can always substitute a more advanced class for a requirement. Something "I" did NOT know. I asked what I had to take, they told me. My first semester I ended up in some general math for people who count on their toes class. It just about killed me. I felt dumber every day when I walked into the room.
But this is why a lot of people go to community colleges. You can get all the core stuff at a MUCH lower credit hour price and usually stay at home to do it. Probably not where you live, but most people. Anyhow, community college is a fantastic deal for the money you spend. And it's not like you need a published, tenured, world renowned orator to teach you calculus.