It is a common misconception that a Bachelor of Arts is a useless degree. Sure, you may hear it at university, or have qualms about it leaving high school (although I didn’t even realise that BA’s had a stigma attached to them until I realised that science students had more than twice the contact hours as me…) but there is no better place to realise what your passions are and where you want them to take you than in a BA if you aren’t 100% about your future direction. Just because you can’t necessarily bag your dream job as soon as you finish your course doesn’t make your degree any less worthwhile. This being said, there are very few BA students that are under the impression that they will not have to undertake further study upon the conclusion of their degree. But this is just the name of the game these days.
The beauty of a BA is that if you realise where you want your degree to take you sooner than your graduation and application for postgraduate studies, relevant courses from your BA can be credited to a more specific course that may take your fancy. For instance, after assuming my love of high school English would make me an English major with a Bachelor of Arts, I fell in love with the international relations classes I took to fill up my course load around my English classes. When I decided to change my degree to reflect my passion – at the beginning of the third year of my three-year degree – the relevant courses that I took as part of my BA were then credited to my new degree, which meant that my degree was only extended by six months. So, basically, it is never too late to change your degree, and your university should happily facilitate your decision. With most undergraduate course switches, however, you will need to reapply through UAC.
Most of the Bachelor of Arts students that I know (including myself) have had to extend their degrees by at least six months. A BA is a flexible degree, and allows for you to establish your passions – and sometimes this takes time. If you are looking at undertaking a BA, take your expected finish date with a pinch of salt. You may, for instance, want to take fewer courses if you choose to go on an international exchange program to get to know the country better, or you might not be able to credit all of your BA courses to a new degree if you choose to switch. But this is by no means a bad thing – it just means a slight delay to having to deal with the “real world,” which no one I know has ever complained about.
Essentially, beginning my university studies with a Bachelor of Arts allowed me to work out what my passions are and what goals to aim for relating to future employment. It has also helped me to become interested and informed on the world around me – something that I consider invaluable. As such, when someone tells me that a Bachelor of Arts is a useless degree – and believe me, they do – I know that, only six months out of my degree, I have already proven them wrong.