Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

AIS is useless

Kara Lee

Many colleges in the country require students to take a freshman introductory course. Some colleges call this a first-year seminar or a learning frameworks class, but here at UTSA, it is infamously known as AIS. These courses are meant to facilitate the transition from high school to college and teach students about learning methods and career exploration. Although freshman introductory courses are meant to help students, oftentimes they are seen as a waste of time –– and they are. 

At UTSA, AIS is a core curriculum course required for first-time freshmen and students entering with less than 30 hours. It stands for Academic Inquiry and Scholarship, and the purpose of the course is to help students gain the basic learning skills for their transition into university. “In the course, students have the opportunity to build and enhance the fundamental skills necessary for success in college,” reads UTSA’s AIS webpage. 

It is also meant to help students “engage in career exploration consistent with their professional goals.” However, with the course’s minimalist structure, students do not gain many beneficial experiences. How much can a course like this truly offer? Learning skills are acquired through personal experiences and adaptation, and career exploration is achieved through time and connections. What this course tries to cram into one semester is what is gained through the four years a student goes to college, not in an hour-long, once-a-week freshman course. 

Although UTSA offers an AIS course specific to each area of interest, such as AIS for business majors or for social science majors, this course remains a waste of time in the eyes of many. 

The structure of AIS may appear simple at first glance: one assignment a week, logging volunteer hours and completing a final project. Seems easy enough. But with everything else freshman students are adapting to, this course is the cherry on top of a new and intimidating workload. Freshmen should have the time to focus their time and energy on their other courses and getting to know their college and themselves. AIS is wasteful, and although the intent behind the course is to help students, many find it another overwhelming addition to their first-year experience.

In the general Academic Inquiry course, all students are required to commit to the Bold Engagement Project, which can be incredibly time-consuming. Although the requirements for this project vary by professor, most times, students have to collect multiple hours of volunteer service, participate in career exploration activities and have to create an online portfolio. While students must take time to explore activities within their academic interests or career fields, the Bold Engagement Project forces it on students while also requiring significant time investment. Career exploration should come from genuine curiosity and passion, not because of a mandatory grade. 

It is commonly heard at UTSA that AIS is a pointless course. Many students are vocal about their dislike for this class, and on UTSA’s Reddit page, many students have shared their opinions. “Every science major I’ve talked to, including myself (senior) thinks AIS is a waste of time, credits, money and overall a BS class,” shared one user in 2020. Another user went on to post, “AIS was an actual waste of time and money,” and “It was the one class that made me feel like I was still in HS, so I just prioritized every other class.” 

Overall, freshman introductory classes are a waste of time, as many students leave the class with little to no positive impact on their first-year experience. Although AIS and courses alike are made with the intention of helping freshmen, they are time-consuming and they postpone academic developments that come naturally. Freshman introductory courses should not be required; they take valuable time from students and add unnecessary stress to the college freshman experience.

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About the Contributors
Luna Infante
Luna Infante, Assistant Opinion Editor
Luna (she/her) is a second-year student at UTSA, majoring in communications. Luna enjoys journalistic and creative writing. With communications, she plans on pursuing a career in journalism, hoping to one day be the editor-in-chief of a magazine. She has been with The Paisano since Fall 2022. Apart from writing, Luna’s interests include dancing, being around people, and hanging out with her cat, Arlo.
Kara Lee
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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