Religion requirement prevents upperclassmen from taking many college prep classes

aimee brown

Frustration builds as students struggle to decide between different electives when they only have one or two spots to fill due to school graduation requirements. With eight religion credits required for seniors to graduate, little space is left in a student’s schedules to take electives that interest them or that future colleges may require.

Since Benilde-St. Margaret’s is noted to be a college preparatory school, students should be allowed to fill more elective slots with classes that would benefit them most in their college path.

Taking into consideration that BSM is also a Catholic private school, as well as a service learning school, a valid solution would be to require freshmen and sophomores to continue the current religion schedule, as those are the years when the basics are taught, and for juniors to enroll in one service learning class either first or second semester.

This would leave most of junior and senior years open for other options, including religion as an elective for students to choose if they so desire.

Classes, such as Advanced Competitive Science, Journalism, and Personal Financial Management, as well as art classes, and additional science, English, and math courses, are often pushed aside to make room for religion classes that may not benefit a student’s career overall.

Many of the schools that BSM students attend anyway, including University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, and Iowa State University do not even look at religion grades and are more concerned with other academic areas. Even Catholic universities, such as University of St. Thomas do not specify the need for their incoming students to have taken religion classes in high school.

As students are required to take a religion class both semesters of each year, for upperclassmen, opening up those classes to electives would mean four more semester classes they can add to their schedule. As the religion classes for upperclassmen are essentially branches of the fundamental classes taken in earlier years, there isn’t much to take from these for future purposes when compared to a Personal Financial Management or Principles of Investing class––two classes that teach new and essential information as teenagers grow to become independent adults.

Also, if a student is interested in something such as journalism, having the opportunity to try out what it is like to write for a newspaper and get a feel for the atmosphere and demands can help to eliminate some indecision that that student is having with their college major.