Joshua Joseph A.’s Avatar

Joshua Joseph A.





Is it better to be "well rounded" or "specialized"?

All around, we are told to take classes in which we have no interest in, yet do so anyway due to wanting to be "well-rounded"

Do colleges and universities want to see a "spike" in terms of academics and extracurriculars (meaning a specialty, such as if you have a passion for science, then a strong physics, biology, chemistry, etc.) or a student who takes a diverse set of classes, but a weak specialty?

All answers are accepted! #college #teacher #professor #university #student #college-student #ivy-league

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4 answers

Hi !

You asked a very important question. Here are some bits of information that might help:

Last updated Aug 01 '16 at 08:10
Hi Joshua, In three words, the answer to your question is "quality over quantity". Colleges and universities want to see students' commitment, determination, and mastery in what they like versus a list of varied activities that the student has no interest in or has not mastered. Although the focus used to be on well-rounded students, colleges have now shifted their focus on specialized students as that reveals more about the individual than does a list of disconnected activities or classes. Have a quick read through these articles which I found very insightful and helpful when looking at your question. Hope this helps!
Last updated Oct 06 '17 at 20:23
Hello, This is great question and has been asked at all career levels. To answer - We need to address few key points: 1) What are your career goals , professional interest and passion? 2) What's your current career level and progression planned? 3) Opportunities in and around your location? 4) Personal commitments/situations regarding travel and relocation to help decide goals? From my perspective, the key to answers "Specialist" vs "Generalist" with - At start , learn as much as you can subjectively with experience from Projects in your school/work - Don't follow others and identify your own passion,strengths without bias towards financial returns - After gaining some experience(with aging), introspect and re-align your priority . You may very well have a different perspective on a subject. - Always keep Open & growth mindset as changes in today's world are happening faster than we ever saw earlier. Good Luck. Thanks
Last updated Oct 27 '17 at 13:29
Josh - Great question. As cliche as it may sound, I’d try to strike the perfect balance between being a jack of all trades and a master of one. A specialized skill set is highly valued in this day and age. That being said, being well rounded will help you reach a wider audience in ways you could never imagine. The term “well-rounded” is also subjective - A finance major having a stellar understanding over accounting, marketing and management concepts can be considered well rounded. A finance major, being a part of a varsity soccer team, engaging in volunteering, and having a good grasp of a foreign language can also be considered well rounded. Hope this helps. Best - P
Last updated Oct 11 '17 at 21:12
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