What Classes Should I Take In College?
The best classes to take in college are courses that kill two birds with one stone. These classes will allow you to explore careers that may interest you and can help you build lifelong skills in the process.
Many of your degree requirements can be completed with blow-off classes (Underwater Basket Weaving?), but when you pick the wrong classes you cheat yourself out of valuable opportunities.
Whether you’ve already started planning the next ten years of your career or you’re still exploring ideas for a major, the classes you pick will get you closer or further from your goals in life.
How to Choose
When you’re not sure what you want to study, the course catalogue is your best friend. The course catalogue (be it a hard copy book or a web portal on your school’s site) can show you a world full of introductory courses -- however, you’re not just looking for classes that seem like fun. You’ll also want to ask how a class fits with your degree, your schedule, and your priorities. College advisors exist to help students with problems exactly like this, so don’t hesitate to visit one and ask for their opinion.
Course Schedule Mistakes To Avoid
Most freshmen aren’t used to having the freedom to schedule their lives, so they’re prone to making schedules that aren’t functional.
Can you attentively sit through six hours of class on the same day? If you’re living off-site and commute, how often do you want to travel back-and-forth from the campus? Answering these questions can save you from scheduling that will rob you of sleep, study time, internship opportunities, or academic success.
If you find yourself on the fence about taking a class, ask other students what they thought about it. Even if you don’t know someone personally who has taken the class, see if there are college message boards or reviews of a course online to get a feel for whether or not it may be worth your while.
Classes aren’t just expensive, they’re something you’ll be involved in for weeks. A quick conversation might nudge you towards taking something you would’ve otherwise skipped, or avoid a class that’s underwhelming.
What Classes to Take
Regardless of your major, there are a handful of college classes you won’t regret taking.
Accounting and Finance Classes
About four out of five Americans are in debt. A great income amounts to far less when you’re bad at managing money, and studying finance can improve your money management skills. And it almost goes without saying that accounting skills are valuable on the job market.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, about 70% of employers want a candidate with strong communication skills. Billionaire Richard Branson has famously claimed “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.”
Leadership is the number one skill employers are looking for. Having the best idea means nothing if you can’t communicate it to others and persuade them to your way of thinking. That’s why a communications course sets you up for success in almost every arena of life.
Business Management Classes
There are nearly 28 million small businesses in America. You may not want to start a business now, but looking to business management courses can prepare you for that possibility later in life. More than 60% of employers are looking for candidates with problem solving, communication, and analytical skills. Business management courses can help you exercise those soft-skills, while simultaneously learning the language of business.
Statistics is the avenue where math meets practical decision making. Everyone from scientists to business tycoons relies on statistical analysis to figure out how to turn numbers into actionable information.
More data has been created over the past five years than during the rest of history of the human race combined, and businesses are in a mad-dash to make sense of it all. One study found 73% of organizations will or have invested in big data since 2016. In today's world of metadata, analytics and bioinformatics, investing in a stat class can really add up.
Having a class that doesn’t directly apply to your career isn’t a bad thing. There's a reason most majors make time for electives. Employers want well-rounded candidates, and courses in subjects like philosophy and history help you develop valuable soft skills. But if you want to make the most out of your education, it’s always worth asking how the classes you’re taking are going to help you along the road.