By Joel Delgado ’12 MS ’17
It’s easy to get pulled into registering for a full slate of courses that are required for your major every semester.
College is all about discovering what you are passionate about and exploring new ideas, but it is easy to go through the years and realize that you didn’t do much discovering or exploring at all.
Give yourself a chance to take a step back and take a look at other courses in other disciplines that can expand your creativity, provide you with skills that will be valuable in and out of the workplace, and improve your employability.
Here are some courses to take that can help pull you out of your comfort zone and get the most out of your collegiate journey while learning skills that will be incredibly useful in the “real world.”
1. MAJOR AND CAREER EXPLORATION (SLS 3407)
Course Description: Students will be exposed to the fundamentals of career development strategies and clarify interests and skills as related to major/career choice.
First off, if you don’t exactly know what to major in, you’re not alone. If that’s where you stand, you would be wise to take this course. It will help you match your interests and skills with potential majors and careers that you could pursue.
Sophomore status or above is required to take this course, but if you’re a freshman, you may want to look into the Discover Your Major (SLS 1402) course as an alternative if you don’t want to wait.
2. PUBLIC SPEAKING (SPC 2608)
Course Description: Study of the principles of ethical and effective public speaking, with practice in the construction and delivery of original speeches before an audience.
For many people, the idea of speaking in front of people – large or small – is about as enjoyable as getting up for that 8 a.m. class for which you regretted signing up. But no matter what career field you are going into, the ability to clearly and effectively communicate ideas to your bosses and coworkers is essential.
Organizing your thoughts to develop an argument, delivering a 10-minute presentation and speaking comfortably and intelligently in front of others are invaluable skills that will come in handy when the time comes to interview for a job and in the workplace. This course will without a doubt boost your value in the workplace.
Course Description: A course in descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics include – probability distribution of discrete and continuous random variables. Sampling distributions. Large sample estimation and hypothesis testing for means and proportions.
Whether you are a scientist, a political leader or a teacher, you will be working with data and research. Many major decisions made in companies and organizations are made after a statistical analysis of data has been conducted. That means that knowing how to work your way around numbers is critical.
4. BEGINNING PAINTING (ART 2300C) OR DRAWING (ART 2500C)
An introduction to the fundamentals of drawing. The course equips the student with a variety of basic skills, approaches and concepts explored through a comprehensive range of media OR Introduction to development of expression, through individual understanding of tools, materials, technique, perception and vocabulary of painting.
With a heavy recent focus on science and math in educational circles, many people don’t take time to tap into their creativity. But there are a number of skills that can be picked up in the arts that can be transferred into other courses and life as a whole, including problem-solving skills, focus and perseverance. Engage your creative side and take an arts introductory art or design course.
5. PERSONAL FINANCE MANAGEMENT (FIN 3140)
Course Description: An introductory course to help individuals achieve their personal financial goals. Topics include personal budgeting, taxes, credit, major expenses, insurance, investments and retirement planning.
This course will help you develop an understanding of what it means to manage your money effectively both while on campus and once you are on your own after graduation. Learning how to come up with a budget, fill out your tax forms and plan for retirement will make you ready to make your money work for you once you land that first job after graduating.
6. COMPUTER PROGRAMMING I (COP 2210)
Course Description: A first course in computer science that uses a structured programming language to study programming and problem solving on the computer. Includes the design, construction and analysis of programs.
Want to drastically improve your chances at getting employed right out of college? Take this course. Coding may not be for everyone, but learning a programming language or two, like Java or C++, is becoming important in today’s world and it will serve as a huge resume booster in just about every career field.
Course Description: Beginning course designed to acquaint students with elementary critical vocabulary and writing skills necessary for the writing of poems and short fiction.
Whether you are writing essays for class, polishing up a job resume or writing an email to a friend, writing is a natural part of life. A creative writing class will not only help expand your vocabulary and sharpen your writing skills, but also challenge you to work on creative thinking.
Course Description: Introduction to economic analysis of individual units – households and firms. Operation of markets; supply and demand analysis.
If you have a dream of opening up your own business one day, you would be wise to take this course. And even if you don’t see yourself opening up a shop, learning how individuals or families choose to use the limited resources that are available to them is valuable for whatever field you choose to get into.
Having a basic understanding of how the economy works at the individual level, including values, costs and pricing as well as supply and demand, will help you gain a better understanding of today’s economy and make you valuable to future employers.
This article is part of our Secrets to Success series.