BY MIKKIE MILLS
Most college students find themselves with a ton of elective credits they have to earn before they can graduate but no idea what to take. While you should use some of your credits to take a fun class and explore an interest, elective courses also give you the liberty to pick classes that will help you develop new skills you can apply to your everyday life and in the workplace.
By focusing your attention on what you can gain through the study of a subject rather than just the subject itself, you can pick the best electives to benefit you far beyond the classroom.
Useful Elective Courses for College Students
Before we delve into the best classes to take in college, let’s explore the types of skills you should be developing. Your major will lay the framework for your future career, but the electives you choose help flesh out your entire degree and can be used to help you develop additional skill sets that are outside your major’s curriculum.
According to Monster, the popular job-hunting site, there are multiple skills that can add an edge to your resume and demonstrate your value to companies. Four of the skills presented on Monster’s list are able to be easily acquired through college electives.
These skills are:
- Problem solving.
- Social media.
Philosophy isn’t just for liberal arts students and campus hippies. Philosophy teaches students how to consider the world around them and apply their own thoughts and emotions logically and thoughtfully.
An introductory course to critical thinking is a fantastic elective for those who wish to sharpen their problem solving capabilities. This course teaches students how to interpret and analyze arguments, identify bias and fallacies and use critical thinking to assess their own values and opinions and develop stronger responses and solutions to various life scenarios.
If you aren’t a math person, you may already be cringing just seeing the world “analytics”. Although the subject seems intimidating if you aren’t good at math, data analytics is a valuable skill set to develop. Taking an introductory course can open the door to manyother branches of advanced analytics that increase job opportunity and have a versatile application in the workforce.
If you want to get started with social media analytics on your own, Google Analytics offers free training online.
A new media communications course is a great way to develop social media skills and understand how the internet can be utilized from a business standpoint. You may already be a regular on Facebook or Twitter, but social media for business goes far beyond the basics and teaches you how to use the biggest platforms to your professional advantage.
Many companies are making social media literacy a requirement for new workers to accommodate the digital shift in business.
You might not think that fiction writing can help you land a job, but creativity is a valuable skill to many employers. Creative thinkers are able to use their imaginations and come up with unique solutions to problems. Creative people are also more likely to try new things and bring ideas to the table.
Taking a creative writing course as an elective is a good way to start flexing your creative muscle. Learning how to apply your imagination to everyday problem solving is an underestimated skill that benefits you in and out of the office.
Collaborate With Your Adviser
In order to make the most out of your college degree, it’s important to check in frequently with your adviser. Your academic adviser can help explain all your options and weigh the benefits of each potential course.
You should also take a look at job listings for careers you’d like to have in the future and identify key skills that are featured. Then, you can choose electives that correlate with those skills to create a more rewarding, well-rounded education.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She has a passion for advanced learning, reading, and health and fitness. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on education, learning, health, fitness and yoga. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found at the local climbing gym or doing yoga.